A/N: Thanks to my lovely ladies for prereading & beta'ing; Ciaobella27, Kuntrygal, Ericastwilight, Hallie Black, Phoenixhunter47 & TwiDi. You complete me.
Dedicated to my friend, Pree for her birthday. She wanted a Mujshe Dosti Karoge meets Twilight fic, and I came up with this.
Disclaimer: I own NOTHING.
The Illusion of Love
You can make out the shape of a shadow, you can see the outline but you can't really see the image. It's like a sketch before a painting is created. Like a musical piece; you can hear the soft sweet melody but you can't really see the notes behind it, except you're the musician.
You don't know what bag of tricks a magician carries; all you see is the illusion.
"Oh what a tangled web we weave, when we first practice to deceive" – Sir Walter Scott
Forks Village, October 1897.
A little after dark.
A family was moving to England. Wishes of farewell floated in the air as friends said their goodbyes in front of their gate. Wives hugged one another and kisses were placed on cheeks. Men shook hands in firm grips with promises to see each other again.
"Mama, please may I say goodbye to Edward also?" Isabella Swan tugged on her mother's skirts, her fingers wrapping around the slippery green silk.
"Isabella, it is late. You should be in bed by now, where is Alice?" Lady Swan chastised her young daughter before holding her hand and walking towards the gate in search of their chambermaid, Alice.
"You have been a good friend, Carlisle, We are sad to you see you go." Charlie Swan pulled his best friend into a tight hug, before brushing his fingers against his mustache. He was not one to show emotion but the loss of his best friend was breaking his strong emotional gates this windy evening. "Do get in contact with us and let us know of your whereabouts and how things are progressing."
Isabella's eyes drifted away from the two grown men and stopped when she spotted the little boy with bronze hair, standing in front of her best friend. She quickly removed her hands from her mother's grip and ran toward them.
"Rosalie," the chubby boy called with shyness imprinted in his voice. "You will write to me, soon?" He looked at the small goddess with hope as she kicked a pebble on the ground.
"I cannot promise you anything, Edward. I do not even have the facilities for writing. Papa would not allow me to send a letter all the way to England." Rosalie Hale pushed her beautiful golden locks out of her face.
"Papa has things for writing in his den. I can provide you with the materials, if you like," Isabella chipped into the conversation, hoping to wipe away the sadness drawn across Edward's face.
"That is perfect!" A smile fell upon his lips as he took Rosalie's small fingers in his palm. "I shall write to you as soon as we get to England, and that way we can always stay friends." His eyes glistened with hope.
"Okay," Rosalie sighed with boredom.
"Edward, boy come here, we are leaving!" Lady Cullen called out as Edward pressed a kiss on the back of Rosalie's hand before running to the direction of the brown carriage.
Isabella looked at the carriage as the horses galloped into the dark night.
He did not even look at her.
He did not even say goodbye.
And she had been standing right there and yet, he had not noticed her. All he could ever see was her best friend, who did not feel one fourth of what she felt for him.
Lord Hale's Residence, July 1898.
"What is that?" Isabella pointed to the light brown envelope sitting comfortably on top of Rosalie's mahogany desk.
"A letter, what does it look like?" Rosalie answered rhetorically.
"From Edward?" Isabella asked, walking toward the desk and picking up the envelope.
"I think so," Rosalie replied, gazing out the window. Her eyes were resting on a specific young boy trying to play sword fight with one of the stablemen.
"Will you not write him back?" She stole a glance at her friend, before diverting her brown eyes back to the envelope.
She looked at Isabella, "And what shall I say? All he keeps talking about is how England is so beautiful, it is boring. Not that he was ever one to be interesting." She turned her hazel eyes back to the field. "I have better things to invest my time with."
Isabella tore the golden seal of the envelope and opened the letter. Her face brightened with a smile when her eyes fell upon the disorganized writing of the letter. Words were jumbled up everywhere and a blot of ink decorated the side.
I have written to you on three separate occasions and not one reply has reached my door. I hope you are in receipt of my letters. England is amazing. It is summer here and so the flowers are bright, colorful and beautiful…which reminds me so much of you.
Father sends his greetings. How is home? I miss everyone, including you.
Write me soon.
Isabella folded the letter and placed it back neatly into the envelope. "You should write back, mama says it is impolite to ignore people. And he is really charming."
"If you are so concerned, why do you not write to him?" Rosalie got up from the bed. "I am going outside, join me if you choose." She walked out of the room, leaving Isabella and her thoughts alone.
Isabella thought of how Edward would feel about not getting a reply from Rosalie. It was quite obvious that Rosalie had no interest in writing him, and she could not help but feel a sense of guilt if he felt disappointed.
So, she did what she thought she could never do. She crossed the passageway linking the houses of the Hales and the Swans, and made a trip to her father's den. Charlie and Renee had left for a meeting with the town's council at Court, and Alice was nowhere to be found.
All she had to do was enter inside, write the letter, and give it to Alice to drop in the box for the mail man to pick up. She was grateful that her father had not locked the den. She strode quietly into the big room and went straight for the quill lying on a stack of papers.
She picked a sheet of paper and sat on the floor, pondering on what to reply to Edward. She dipped the quill in ink and began to write.
I am so glad to have received your letter. I have been waiting for it since you left for England. Perhaps the other letters you sent got lost during their journey.
I am happy to learn that you are enjoying England. It is quite sunny here too. Although, I do not see many flowers because mama forbids us from going too far.
Home is fine. Everyone misses you and so do I.
Hope to hear from you soon,
Isabella looked at the words she had written. Something did not quite sound right. She drew three straight lines on top of her name and wrote Bella instead. But it still did not feel write.
Would he really read it and be happy if it were from me? The question interrupted her thoughts.
If any letter was to be delivered to him, he would have been expecting the sender to be Rosalie, not her. He had not even asked about her in the letter he wrote.
He would also be disappointed if he found out Rosalie had rejected his letter and sent her best friend to reply.
With those thoughts swimming in her head, Isabella took another sheet of plain paper and copied the same exact letter but added a different name at the end.
"Bella!" Alice shouted after the sixteen year old girl as she chased her down the long hallway of the mansion. "You cannot run around the house with sand all over your shoes. The servants and Lady Swan will not be happy about this. These floors were just mopped," Alice almost cried in frustration as Isabella disappeared into her room.
Isabella held the letter close to her beating heart as she waited for her breathing to regulate. She had not heard from Edward for three months. She had wondered if something bad had happened to him, or if he had given up hope to hear from Rosalie. Or if he was simply ignoring her like Rosalie had ignored him. Or perhaps he had noticed the difference in her handwriting, and had known that Rosalie would never be that sweet toward him. She had not known.
But here she stood against the wooden door of her room and tried to calm herself. She needed to be in the right frame of mind before reading his letter. She needed her heart to be stable so it could capture his words.
She needed to calm down so she could know if he had seen beyond the ink, and if he still wanted to acknowledge her.
So, she waited with baited breath as Alice pounded her fists on the door.
"I will speak to your mother about this!" Alice's voice shouted from the other side of the door.
She gently and ever so slowly, tore open the envelope. She almost gasped as she saw whose name was written above the paper in bold print, like he had been tracing it with his pen, over and over again.
My lovely Rosalie,
She felt a wave of different emotions at that name. Firstly, he had not recognized her – for that, she felt disappointed. Secondly, he had replied her letter with so much adoration that he had adjoined Rosalie's name to a passionate adjective – Lovely.
It has taken me a great deal to write this to you. First and foremost, I was so sure you were not going to write back after my last three failed attempts. But now that you have, I cannot express how much joy I feel at the sight of your letter. This way we can always be friends.
It is already snowing here. So much has changed these past months; I am taking piano lessons to improve my musical skills. Father says it will take the stress away from school.
The piece that most captures my heart and makes me think of you is Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven. You may not know who Beethoven is as you are unfamiliar with the arts but Isabella knows. The first time father played it, I could not stop thinking about how soothed and relaxed it made me feel, in much the same way you do. Might I suggest you listen to it and think of me playing it for you, even though my presence is not there.
I have to go now. We are preparing to go to church. The cathedral here is quite beautiful.
Hope to hear from you soon, until then…* mea anima est cum te.
Isabella read the third paragraph again and again, allowing the words to melt in her heart. She made it a mission to find someone who knew that melody that made Edward think of her.
Well, not exactly her per se…he was thinking of Rosalie.
She tried to push away the feeling of disappointment that tugged her heart. She wondered if she should show Rosalie the letter but then decided against it. Rosalie would not care for it and she was sure, she would disregard the letter like she had dismissed the previous ones. So she kept it to herself.
"Will you open the door for me?" Alice's voice brought her out of her daze as she turned the golden knob and let her in. "What is the matter with you? Now go in and take a bath before you come down for dinner. You smell of horses and they cannot know I took you riding."
"Will the Hales be joining us for dinner?" Isabella asked; taking off the front fastening cream gown as Alice pulled off her white stockings.
"Perhaps, perhaps not, now go. Your parents will be here soon. I do not want to get into trouble." Alice turned on the silver tap and ran the hot water.
"Do you love him?" asked Isabella as she remembered the intensity that passed on between Jasper Whitlock and her maid.
"You are too young to know matters of the heart, child. You cannot understand what a complicated emotion like love is. Now stop this idle chatter and enter the bath or they will have me punished."
*Mea anima est cum te - My heart is with you.
Thank you for reading!