A Picture is Worth 1000 Words Contest

Title: Standing Quiet in the Rain

Penname: april09-TW

Inspirational Photo Number: Photo One

To view the photos for this contest visit: http://i618(DOT)photobucket(DOT)com/albums/tt268/Rosalynn7885/contestcollage(DOT)png

Rating: T, AU

Summary: Bella struggles with issues of commitment while Edward waits decades for her to make up her mind. Alice interferes in her own usual ways. An entry for the "A Picture is Worth 1000 words" contest (A one shot of a multi-chapter story that I plan to write, featuring both Bella and Edward as vampires.)

If you would like to see all the stories that are a part of this contest visit:

http://www(dot)fanfiction(dot)net/community/a_picture_is_worth_a_1000_words_contest/76199/

It was a cream-colored envelope and it was addressed to me, Miss Bella Swan. I never received mail, don't even recall getting any when I was human, but sending mail was expensive in those days. But, who would send a letter to a vampire? Another vampire, that's who. I lifted the envelope to my nose and could distinguish between the old-fashioned typewriter ink used to indicate my name and address, the acid smell of…a developed picture, and sweet ginger, jasmine and juniper.

Alice.

I grabbed the envelope and ran, knowing that I could not open it here, near their home, without resisting the urge to break something. Meddling little pixie, my interfering sister. Sister?

When did I start to think of the seer as my sister?

This is why I ran, quickly so that Charlie and Renee couldn't catch up with me. The only vampire who could catch me was living on the other coast, three thousand miles away with Alice and the rest of their family. And he likely wouldn't approve of Alice's interference anymore than I did.

The wet branches snapped underneath my feet, the only sounds in the silent forest as I made my way to my haven, making sure to avoid treaty lines. I took huge gulps of the sea air, the soft saltiness calming me. The beach was empty at this early hour, save miscellaneous seagulls and sandpipers who flew away instinctively at my arrival. I sat down on a large piece of whitewashed driftwood and pulled the letter out of my pocket. My long mahogany hair whipped through the sea breeze, creating waves across the typewritten letters of my name and their address in Forks, Washington. Their address, and my current home.

I let the moment pass, strands of my hair flickering in the sun, forming a moving picture of sorts. Finally my curiosity got the better of me and I ripped open the envelope. Inside was a single black and white photograph of Edward. Of course.

Alice had been sending me emails with pictures attached of Edward, trying in her way, to entice me to transfer to Dartmouth. When I finally locked her out of my regular email, she began to send them to my med school account. Each picture was beautiful—my favorite one was of him hunched over his piano, completely taken over by the music, oblivious to the photographer. I had wondered each time if he knew that Alice was taking these pictures and sending them to me. The tangible picture that she sent today answered all my questions.

Edward was on another beach, on another coast, sitting languidly on wooden steps outside a beach cottage. He had a beer in one hand, an unnecessary blanket over his shoulders, and a cigarette between his perfect lips. Hair in disarray, of course. He couldn't look more human, though my vampire eyes could detect the sculpted planes of his square jaw and the lightness of his eyes reflecting the inhuman amber color, even in the black and white print. The lighting was perfect, a reflection of Alice's solid photography and developing skills.

I laughed out loud, despite my initial irritation with her pushiness. Sometimes it felt as if she were trying to influence the future, interpreting it to her own benefit, rather than just see it. She was playing upon my predilection for human…partners. In my two hundred years of…existence, I had yet to mate with another vampire. The Cullens—well, Alice—chalked it up to my preferences being similar to the Denali sisters in Alaska. Only my coven—Charlie and Renee—knew something of the truth. And Charlie only knew because he had known me when I was human.

Despite indicators otherwise, Edward was a vampire. A vampire meant to be my mate for eternity.

Eternity.

Could I handle that commitment?

Mates. Not just mates. Soul mates.

Could I be trusted enough not to ruin that? Could he?

A lone hermit crab—seemingly immune to my presence on his territory of sand—snuck out of his burrow and crept along the wet packed grains. His movements seemed slow and simultaneously graceful yet clumsy as he picked his way across the bumpy sand.

I traced the contours of Edward's face in the photograph, stopping for a moment at the cigarette in his mouth. His expressive amber eyes gazed out at the ocean before him, a different one than the one in front of me. Had he seen this beach? Had his footprints left marks upon the sand as he ran at beyond vampire speed towards the water? Could he walk hand in hand with me amongst these crashing waves?

No, he wouldn't be the one to ruin a commitment. Leave it to me to be the first vampire to go against the concept of vampires mating for life. For eternity.

Alice knew what she was doing when she sent me this particular photograph. Edward was playing a role. She knew—even if he didn't—that I had worked alongside Carlisle as a nurse in 1918. That I wasn't strong enough to change him myself. That I wasn't strong enough to stay.

La tua cantante. Edward was my singer.

Even though the other pictures she sent were electronic and I didn't dare print them out for fear that someone would find them, I didn't need to see them in front of me to recall them in perfect detail. This was the first photograph of Edward posing as a human. As he was when I first met him.

Sick, lying in a hospital bed, eyes the color of malachite, tousled bronze hair, dying. Just a child.

I always knew that Alice saw things differently. One of her first visions was of Edward and I, hand in hand, running towards crashing waves. And then us, standing quiet in the rain.

Soul mates. Eternity. Edward.

My phone rang. "What time shall I pick you up at the airport?" Alice asked.

"Don't you already know?" I smiled.