The Black Balloon Contest
Title: The Ghosts That Haunt Me
Your pen name: Twilightmommyof4girls
Characters: Mainly Bella and Edward
Disclaimer: These characters don't belong to me. The belong to the wonderful Stephenie Meyer. I just enjoy playing with them!
I met Edward Cullen when I was seventeen. I had just moved to the little rainy town of Forks after my mother remarried, living with my bachelor father who I had only seen for a week or two out of a year before I decided to try some good old Daddy/daughter bonding.
I actually met him on my first day at Forks High School. I hated being the center of attention and from the moment I arrived at the school in my big red truck, all eyes were on me. I kept my eyes on the ground and made my way to the office to get my schedule. Get in, get it done and leave.
I had just exited the office with my schedule and a map of the school. Seriously, for a small school it was extremely confusing. When I finally looked up from my map to try to get my bearings, I saw him. He was standing about ten feet away with two other guys, a blonde and a hulk of a guy. All I focused on was him.
He was gorgeous! Tall, with a light muscular build, copper hair that begged my fingers to touch it, and the greenest eyes I'd ever seen. But all of that paled in comparison to his smile. The incredible crooked grin set my heart racing and it didn't stop as I watched him make his way from his friends towards me.
I thought I was going to faint.
When he stopped in front of me and smiled right at me, I was hooked. I think I was in love before he even opened his mouth.
Not that his voice did anything to discourage my feelings. His voice was like velvet and the way he said my name....
"Hello, Bella," he had said, surprising me.
"How did you know my name?" I asked him shocked.
"Everybody knows your name, Miss Swan," he said, holding out his hand to greet me. "I'm Edward Cullen."
"Nice to meet you Mr. Cullen," I said, grasping his hand.
Instead of shaking my hand as I had expected, Edward brought my hand to his lips and pressed a soft kiss onto the back of it.
"Are you lost?" he asked, smiling again.
"Just a little," I said, biting my lip.
"What class do you have first?" he asked.
"Biology with Mr. Banner," I said.
"What a wonderful coincidence, so do I," he said. "May I escort you to class?"
"Yes, you may," I said smiling up at him.
"Do you like chicken?" he asked. Random question or what?
"Um, I guess," I said, looking puzzled.
"Good!" he replied, "Grab a wing" He held out his arm with his elbow bent so I could loop my hand through it, which I did gratefully.
"Great!" muttered a blonde boy who I later learned was Mike Newton. "Cullen already has dibs on the new girl."
"A friend of yours?" I asked blushing.
"No," he said, the sound coming out almost as a growl. "That boy is a menace."
"I figured as much," I said. "He looks like he spends more time on his hair than I do."
Edward snickered and led me to biology. As luck would have it we had all of our classes together, except for PE, which was segregated. At lunch he insisted I eat with him and his friends; the two guys from this morning, Jasper and Emmett, and their respective girlfriends Alice and Rosalie.
They were great and I don't think I had ever enjoyed a lunch break as much. It was also great to get to know the girls as they were both in PE with me.
"So Bella," he asked as he escorted me from the school to my truck at the end of my first day. "Can I take you to dinner this evening?"
"I'd like that," I said.
"Pick you up at 6:00?" he asked.
"Yeah," I said.
He walked me to the side of my bright red truck and pressed his lips to my hand once again. That was the first and last time I drove my truck to school.
From that night on Edward and I were inseparable. Charlie was a little worried because he felt that our entire relationship was too intense, but since he knew the Cullens, he was content to let it pass.
I guess intense was the best way to describe our relationship. The only time I wasn't with Edward, I was with Rose and Alice. I don't even think I could name another person from our graduating class that I had a conversation with, other than something school related. Then again, everything about Edward was intense. He played sports with a vengeance, studied hard and aced every test. Luckily I was smart enough to keep up with him. He had his goals set before I met him, he was going to be a doctor like his dad. I believed he would. He could do anything he set his mind to.
He never treated me as any less than a princess. He opened every door, carried my books, kissed my hand and treated me the way any lady should be treated. There was no making out in the halls, or sneaking into the janitor's closet for us. Not that we lacked passion, it was just that everything he did showed his respect for me. I often heard other girls in school berating their boys for not treating them like Edward treated me. I was one lucky girl.
He looked at me like I was the only person he could see. I had always seen myself as plain and boring... he made me feel beautiful. He was my first everything. My first boyfriend, my first kiss, and three months after I arrived in Forks, he was my first lover. We spent a glorious year and a half together in almost perfect bliss. He even flew across the country to attend my mother's funeral with me after she and her new husband were killed in a car accident.
Charlie grew to love him like the son he never had. His friends were my friends and his family welcomed me as if I was one of their own. It was bliss.
Edward decided to go to Dartmouth after graduation. He was accepted before he even applied, it was his father's alma matter and he had perfect grades! After much begging and pleading on his behalf I applied, although I knew the tuition was far beyond what my dad could afford. When I was accepted, Carlisle and Esme sat down with Charlie and made all the financial arrangements. I was going to Dartmouth with Edward.
That night Edward placed a small sapphire ring on my finger.
"It's not an engagement ring," he said. "It's a promise ring. I promise that I will be with you every day, and that one day I will place a diamond on that finger and officially claim you as mine."
"You don't need a ring or a piece of paper," I said kissing him. "I am yours."
Graduation came quickly and before I knew it Edward and I had all of our belongings packed into a moving van for our trip across country. Esme and Carlisle had bought an apartment for us close to the campus and we settled in quickly.
It was perfect. Other than during classes we were together always. We studied together, ate together and made love multiple times a day. We spoke to our parents every Sunday and went home for the holidays.
During the summer, we both decided to stay at school and do the summer semester. We each traveled home for a weekend, during that summer. Unfortunately it was different weekends. That was the longest we had ever been apart since we met. But after that trip, the first crack in our relationship appeared.
We had been together for nearly three years, and every week his parents seemed to push him into proposing. Emmett and Rosalie had eloped to Vegas during spring break, and Jasper had proposed to Alice at Christmas. Edward told his parents that he would do things on his terms and that when he decided that he wanted to marry me, he would ask me not a moment sooner.
I'm sure he hadn't meant for it to hurt me, but it did.
Suddenly I found myself questioning everything. Had I been mistaken? Did he not want me forever? I fought back the tears for as long as I could, then quickly left the room. After he hung up the phone, he followed me to the bedroom and apologized. He hadn't meant to say that, he just didn't want to be pushed. We would do things on our time.
"I can't have a future that doesn't have you in it," he swore.
I believed him.
Life was perfect again as we moved into the fall and winter. We went home at Christmas for Alice and Jasper's wedding. It was beautiful and we all had a great time. Carlisle and Charlie had both given Edward large hints about dropping the question, but he managed to laugh them off.
Just before we returned to school, I caught a nasty bug. Carlisle assured me it was nothing serious, handed me some pills and I was ready to go. January and February passed in a blur of studying and exams. We were planning on staying at the school through summer again, effectively cutting a year off of both of our degrees.
In March I got sick again, but this time it persisted, lasting an entire week. I insisted that we not tell our parents during our weekly phone calls as I didn't want them to worry, and I assured my very worried boyfriend that I would go to the clinic after classes on Monday to make sure it wasn't anything serious.
I only had two classes on Monday so as soon as I was finished I made my way to the small medical clinic near our building. They dealt with students a lot so I figured it would be best.
"Hello," I said to the girl behind the counter. "My name is Isabella Swan and I need to see a doctor."
"Okay," she said smiling at me. "Just fill out these papers."
I sat down in the waiting room and filled them all out. Luckily I was still covered by Charlie's insurance and wouldn't have an issue with that. Then it got to a question that stumped me. LMP.
I thought back to see when it was exactly. I had been so busy since we returned that I hadn't written it in my book like I always do. I just shrugged my shoulders and left it blank. I was certain it wasn't important, I was on the pill.
I brought my completed paperwork to the desk and the young nurse escorted me back to a small examination room. The door had barely shut behind her when the doctor entered. He asked me questions about symptoms and general health. Then he said the words that I'll never forget.
"I think that you might be pregnant," he said. "I need you to pee in this little jar here and we'll have an answer for you momentarily."
I just nodded my head, unable to say anything.
I moved down the hall to the bathroom that he had shown me and carefully set about doing my business. Once I was done, I rinsed the sides of the container, in case there had been any spillage and dried it, carrying it in a paper towel back to the exam room.
The nurse met me there with a sympathetic smile and took my urine to the small desk in the room and dipped the pregnancy test in. She then placed the lid back on the container and the test beside it, setting a small white timer.
"I guess you'll know in three minutes," she said as she left the room. "The doctor will be back soon."
I sat across the room, looking at the wall. There was no way I could be pregnant! One minute. I tapped my feet nervously on the floor. I was on the pill and I never missed one. I took them every morning when I brushed my teeth. Two minutes. My heart was beating so fast tha I think I was starting to hyperventilate. I focused on my breathing. IN – one mississippi – OUT. IN - one mississippi – OUT. DING!!
I waited for about thirty more seconds before I crossed the room to look at the white plastic test.
I sat down in the closest chair. What were we going to do? Before I had any real time to contemplate anything, Dr. Franz was back in the room.
"So you are pregnant," he said.
"Uh huh," I said, unable to be more coherent then that.
"I take it this wasn't planned?" he asked.
"I'm on the pill," I said, stupidly.
"Missed any doses?" he asked.
I simply shook my head, no.
"Have you had any antibiotics lately?" he asked.
"January," I replied. "Just after Christmas."
"Then my guess is that would make you about ten weeks pregnant," he said. "Would you like an ultrasound?"
"Umm," I said. "My dad's insurance... I don't want him to know yet."
"We are also a pregnancy support center. We'll move you to that file and then your father won't be billed for anything. Shall we try an ultrasound?" he pushed.
I agreed. I needed to see it with my own eyes.
The doctor walked down the hall with me.
"You have a boyfriend?" he asked.
"Yes," I replied. "We've been together for three and a half years."
"How will he feel about this?" he asked.
"I'm not sure," I said. "We never really talked about kids. We have both been pushing our education to the forefront. We certainly weren't planning anything before we graduated."
"I have to tell you about all your options," he said.
"I know them," I said smiling softly at him.
"Are you considering abortion?" he asked.
"I don't know," I replied honestly. "I've never really had to think about it."
He brought me into a small dark room and had me lie down on a table. The paper crinkled underneath me.
"Lower the waistband of your pants and raise your shirt," he said. "This may be a little cold."
I did as he requested and he placed a towel against the waistband of my pants before he squirted some blue goo on my stomach and pulled out a small wand, pressing it to my abdomen.
"Most of the time we try to do this when a woman's bladder is full. We get a better image that way, but we'll see what we can see," he said.
I watched the tiny screen as black and white seemed to jumble through the screen. Finally the doctor stopped moving the wand. He pressed a button and a soft whooshing sound filled the room.
"There we go," he said. "That's your baby's heartbeat."
I listened to the sound and looked at the screen for a moment before I was able to see the profile of the baby. My baby. Edward's baby. Our baby was small but perfect. I could see everything, head, body, arms and legs. I even thought I saw fingers. I was in awe staring at the perfect creature on the screen. It was a baby, Edward's and my baby. I knew as I watched the tiny person on the screen that abortion could not be a consideration for me. I loved this baby with all that I was. I only hoped that Edward felt the same.
"You are measuring at 11 weeks and four days, putting conception around January 11th and your due date at October 3rd," he said.
"Wow," I said. It was all I could say.
"You have until twenty weeks to consider your options..." he said.
"I couldn't," I said, tears beginning to form in my eyes.
"I didn't think so," he said with a smile. He pressed some papers into my hand and told me to stop and see the nurse on my way out.
I looked down at the papers, surprised to see the still images that I had just seen floating on the screen. There was a tiny image where the baby's hand was reaching out and you could see the five fingers. The doctor had typed out "Hi Mom and Dad" across the top.
I put the pictures in my purse, cleaned the goo off my stomach, and walked out to speak to the nurse. She handed me a small bag full of reading materials and some prenatal vitamins and told me to call if I had any questions and to book an appointment with either their clinic or another clinic in four weeks time.
I walked slowly home in the crisp air. I wasn't certain how Edward would take the news right away, but I knew he loved me and that no matter what we would deal with this together.
When I got home, Edward still wasn't home from his late class. I set the bag on the table and started to make some dinner. I fried up some chicken breast and made a nice chicken stir fry with some rice.
"Hi, Babe," Edward said as he came in. "How are you feeling?"
"A little overwhelmed," I answered honestly.
"How were your classes?" he asked, filling his plate and moving to the living room, where we usually ate.
"Fine," I said, grabbing a small plate for myself and following him in.
He turned on the TV to the sports channel, Edward's one guilty pleasure.
"How were your classes?" I asked.
"We had dissection today in the lab. First time with an actual cadaver," he said.
"Sounds interesting," I said. "How was it?"
He spent the next twenty minutes going into great detail about it. Thankfully I had a strong constitution. We had finished dinner by the time he was done.
"I went to the doctor today," I said.
"Good!" he said. "Were they able to tell you what was wrong?"
"Nothing is wrong per say," I said, moving to grab my purse.
"What's that mean?" he asked.
"I think I can show you better than I can tell you," I said, pulling the pictures out of my purse, putting the picture with the words 'Hi Mom and Dad' on the top, and handing them to him.
He looked down at the pictures, moving from one to the next. When he got to the last one, he was silent for a long time.
"Is this a joke?" he asked finally.
"What?" I said shocked. "No!"
"Did you do it on purpose?" he asked.
I felt like I had been sucker punched.
"Of course not. The doctor said it was the antibiotics," I said.
"We need to get it taken care of right away," he said.
Taken care of. He was talking about an abortion.
"Edward!" I said. "No! I won't kill our baby."
"It isn't a baby yet," he said harshly.
"It is. You see the pictures. I even heard the heartbeat. Edward it was so beautiful," I said.
"You want it?" he practically screamed at me.
"I... I do," I said. "I wasn't sure at first, but Edward, watching the baby move inside me, and hearing the heartbeat... I've never wanted anything so much."
He was silent for a moment.
"And what about school?" he asked.
"I'll drop out after this semester I guess. I'll go back when...." I said.
"You've got this all planned don't you Isabella?" he said viciously.
"No," I said, hurt. "I had no clue until the doctor told me. I didn't know what to do at all until I saw the baby, our baby on the screen. Now I'm trying to figure it out. I'm scared to death and I really want you to hold me and tell me that it's going to be hard, but we'll figure it out."
He was silent for a time as I sat sobbing next to him on the couch. Anytime that I dared to look at him his face was set in a scowl.
"Please Edward," I begged.
"No," he said finally, standing up. "I will not be conned into your little ploy."
"What ploy?" I asked. "You think I planned this?"
"I know you did. You've made no secret about the fact that you wanted to marry me," he spat.
"I did. I do. But that has nothing to do with this," I said, angrily, standing to meet him face to face.
"Sure!" he said sarcastically.
"I thought you wanted to marry me. I thought that was the plan," I said.
"Plans change, Isabella," he said.
"So what now?" I asked. "What are you saying?"
"We're done," he said. "And I want nothing to do with you or your bastard child."
He took the pictures in his hand and tore them in half, dropping the remains on the floor.
"Don't breathe a word of this to anyone. Not Alice or Rose or even your dad. And if my parents find out... There will be hell to pay," he said as he stormed out of the apartment.
I dropped to my knees and pulled the pieces of the pictures onto my lap. How had this all gone so horribly wrong? Did he not love me at all? Was this just an over reaction and he would be back? My heart wanted to believe that that was the case, but my head said no. Finally, I pulled myself onto the couch and cried myself to sleep.
Dawn came early the next morning and I opened my eyes, hoping for some sign of Edward. I walked slowly to our room, hoping he would be there. He wasn't. I went into the bathroom, with tears pouring down my face. His toothbrush was gone from it's spot next to mine. His shaving stuff was also gone. I ran back to the bedroom and opened the closet. Gone! His drawers were empty too.
I sat on the bed and cried.
I wasn't sure what to do. How could I fix this?
I dialed his cell... straight to voice mail.
Finally I decided that I was going to face this head on and hope that Edward would come around. The Edward that I knew would never do this. He had to come around, didn't he? I got into the shower, got dressed and headed out to class. He knew where I was and he was going to have to come to me.
A day passed.
Then almost a week.
Finally it was Sunday night, the night we always called our families. I dialed Charlie's number.
"Hey, Kiddo," he said.
"Hi Daddy," I said, fighting back tears.
"You okay?" he asked.
"Been a rough week," I said. "I had a test and an exam this week."
Honesty is the best policy with me. I couldn't lie to save my life.
"Are you sleeping okay?" he asked.
"Sorta," I answered.
"Tell Edward he better take care of you," he said.
"I will," I answered, truly fighting back tears now.
"I love you, Honey," he said.
"I love you too," I said. "I'll talk to you next week."
"Bye," he said.
I hoped that Edward would call his parents from wherever he was. I wasn't going to be the one to call them and explain.
My phone rang an hour later and I answered, hoping it was Edward.
"Hello," I said.
"Hi Honey," Esme's voice said, from the other end of the line. "I just got off the phone with Edward. He was at the library and couldn't talk long so I thought I'd give you a call here. How are things?"
"Not great," I said. "I've had so much going on."
"Yeah, both you and Edward are at a busy time. He said that he'd hardly seen you at all this week," she said.
Understatement of the week.
"That's college for you," I said, swallowing the lump in my throat.
We spoke for a few more moments before I begged off and went to my room to cry myself to sleep.
I awoke at 3:00 am pondering a few things. I was so screwed. I was living here without paying for anything. Edward didn't want me to get a job as he had plenty of money that he never had a problem giving me. Now what was I supposed to do? I didn't have money for rent, utilities or even food. I was going to need a job and quick.
By 7:00 am, I was up and dressed with my resume printed out. I didn't have class until 11:00 and I was bound and determined to have a job before class.
As luck would have it the library, my second stop, was desperately in need of staff and they were happy to give me as many hours as I could handle. My first shift was scheduled the next day.
I hurried to class and made it through my day.
When I arrived home that night, I knew instantly that something was different. As I walked in, I couldn't pinpoint anything and thought I must have been dreaming.
I ate a little dinner, with the small amount of food I had left before heading to the bedroom to change into something more comfortable. As I walked in I saw a white envelope on the bed, with my name written on the front in his elegant script.
I tore the envelope open quickly, hoping that it was an apology or a gesture of some sort towards some sort of reconciliation.
Good girl. You played your part well on the phone with your father and my mother. Here is enough money to get you through the week.
Good girl??? What was I? A dog?
I searched the envelope and found $200.00. As much as I hated the thought of accepting anything from him at this point, I was desperate, and I needed it to keep me and the baby healthy. I hoped that meant he actually cared.
I went out and picked up some groceries, heavy on the fruits and vegetables. This baby may only have one parent, but he or she was going to have the best care I could provide, even if it came from him.
I started at the library straight after class the next day. It wasn't hard work and I found myself really enjoying it. By the time the next Sunday arrived I still hadn't heard anything from Edward.
I called my dad and after a short conversation, headed up to my bed. When the phone rang later, I knew it was Esme and I just couldn't deal so I let her call go to voicemail.
When I got home from work on Monday night there was another white envelope on my pillow.
Not nice Isabella. Don't do that again or there will be consequences.
There was no money in the envelope, but I hadn't expected there to be after the tone of his letter. Luckily I would be okay without it.
Life passed like this for weeks. I played nice with Esme on the phone and had brief conversations with my dad. I did nothing but eat, sleep, go to school, go to work, and study. Every Monday there was a note on the bed, always with $200.00 since I played nice. Once I had my first paycheck from the library, I simply kept the envelopes in my night stand, I wouldn't accept anymore from him than I had to.
Life moved on both quickly and slowly at the same time. During the day I was so busy and the days seemed to fly by, but the nights, the nights when I slept alone in the cold bed where I had once spent all my time curled up in my love's arms, were so long. Finally, I gave up and stayed up as late as I could, usually passing out on the couch from utter exhaustion. But at least I didn't have nightmares.
I saw the doctor again, four week after my first visit. I had the full check up, but no ultrasound, which disappointed me. My ripped up baby pictures were still on the fridge at home, reminding me of my sweet baby and the fact that his or her father hated us. I had given up my jeans and other tight fitting clothes, opting instead for yoga pants and oversized sweatshirts. I never saw Edward.
My conversations with Charlie, Esme and occasionally Carlisle continued to be short. The guilt I felt during those conversations was intense. Alice, Rose and I usually spoke at least once a month, but I was completely avoiding their calls. Nobody can get you to spill like your girlfriends.
Finally nine weeks later, on a Friday morning, I had my next ultrasound. I had hoped that the doctor would be nice enough to replace the pictures that I currently had taped together and stuck to the fridge. I had had to trade shifts with another staff member so I could have the morning off, meaning I was closing that night, but the late shift was worth it for the chance to see my baby again, plus I wouldn't have to worry about exhaustion, it would come with the territory.
It was just as magical as my first ultrasound, my heart which had been mostly dead since Edward walked out of my life was filled with love as I lay in the dark room watching at my son wiggle on the screen. My son. Edward's son.
As much as I wanted to hate Edward for what he was doing, I couldn't. I decided at that point that I would tell Charlie at the end of term. I was certain that Edward would have a bird about that, but there wasn't much he could do about it. I was still debating whether or not would tell Esme and Carlisle myself or let Charlie do it for me.
I left the clinic, new pictures safely held in my purse, and made my way to the registrar's office. It was time to remove myself from my summer courses and to let them know I wouldn't be returning in the fall. The clerk studied my near perfect transcripts and asked if I was sure. When I told them I was, they said that they'd hold my place for one year, a very fine offer, I thought, though I doubted I would return.
I attended my lone class and hurried to the library, eating the turkey breast and spinach salad I had made myself earlier as I walked across the campus. The library was unusually busy that night, due to the fact that the next three weeks were exam weeks. But busy was good. My heart was at such odds with itself. I loved Edward and no matter what, I was unable to just turn it off, though I wished I could.
As I locked up the library at the end of the shift, I made my way slowly towards the apartment, a ten minute walk if I went as slow as I did. Within a minute, it was obvious that I was being followed. I placed my hand over my abdomen and walked faster, grabbing the pepper spray from my purse, and preparing to use it if necessary.
"Running away, Isabella?" Edward's sneering voice called from behind.
"Oh," I said, spinning around.
I was shocked to see him for the first time in nine weeks. Actually, shocked was an understatement.
"We need to talk," he said.
"We do," I agreed. "Where?"
"The apartment," he said, walking ahead of me in the direction of the place that had once been our home.
"Fine," I agreed and started walking after him.
He walked quickly, leaving me to almost run to keep up. He waited for me to open the doors and went in before me, something he had never done before. My gentleman was gone.
When we got into the apartment, I sat uncomfortably on the couch as he walked around, surveying the room.
"So?" I said after a while.
"You're looking fat," he sneered.
"If you're only here to insult me than just leave. I'm not in the mood for it," I said.
He was silent for a moment then cleared his throat.
"I want you to give it up for adoption," he said.
"What?" I asked. "No!"
"I won't have anything to do with it," he said, like that would have any bearing on my decision.
"I kinda figured that out when you walked out of here nine weeks ago," I said.
"So you think you can do it on your own?" he asked. "You won't even have your degree!"
"You're right, I won't," I said. "And apparently I don't have a choice but to do it alone. I'm standing up for my responsibilities and it's going to be hard. But we'll survive." I rested my hands on my small baby bump to emphasize the point.
"I want you to go away," he said next.
"What?" I asked.
"I want you to leave here after this semester. I'll concoct our breakup and you will not tell anyone about the baby," he said.
"And how do you suppose I'm going to do that?" I asked him. "As soon as my father knows so do your parents."
"That's why you won't tell him. It would ruin me Isabella. Ruin everything I worked for," he said.
"And what about me? What about your son? Shouldn't he have the right to know his grandparents?" I asked him angrily.
"What about me? Are you trying to make my parents hate me?" he asked. "They are all I have in this world."
"At least you have Emmett and Jasper. I can't even talk to Alice and Rose!" I said.
"You'll make new friends," he said shrugging his shoulders.
"Okay so I forget all my friends and my family... How do you suppose I get by?" I asked him.
"You have your trust fund from your mother that you will have access to by September. Plus, I'll make it financially worth your while," he said.
"It isn't all about money," I said.
"Nope, it isn't," he said, smirking at me. "But unless you plan on moving back to Forks and living with Daddy Dearest and your little bastard..."
"Don't refer to my son that way," I sneered.
"A boy," he said, his face softening for a moment before turning his next statement into a sneer. "Good luck with that."
"Thanks," I said, acting as though his statement were not meant in a hurtful manner.
I looked at Edward, truly looked at him. His eyes were sunk in and skin was pale. His usually vibrant eyes were dull. He looked like crap.
"So what is it that you are proposing Edward?" I asked.
"I certainly won't be proposing to you," he sneered and my heart lurched in my chest.
"I wouldn't say yes, if you did," I said back.
"Then why are you still wearing the ring?" he asked gesturing towards my hand.
"I wanted something to show my son that his father loved me at one point. That he wasn't created in some little tawdry one night stand..." I said, tears streaming down my face.
"But I don't love you anymore Isabella," he said causing my heart to shatter inside my chest.
I knew it. I knew by his absence that he didn't love me. I knew he didn't want me anymore, but the words... the hateful words coming from his lips.... were more than I could take.
"I know. And I hate that! Because as much as you hate me... I still love you. I kept this from your parents and my dad for you. As much as I hate myself for it... I can't hate you," I said, sobbing at the end.
"So you'll do it?" he asked. "For me?"
"You want me to run away? Leave everyone I have ever known behind, including my father... for a little bit of money?" I asked.
"It's no little bit, Isabella," he said, handing me an envelope.
I looked inside and found a cashier's check for $250 000.00 in my name. I looked at him in shock.
"My trust fund, left to me by my birth parents," he said. "You take the money and leave. I know a man who can create you and the boy a life in Canada. A fresh start."
Just like that. All neat and tidy.
"Can I have time to think about it?" I asked him.
"Two weeks," he said.
I would do it, for him. I already knew it. I'm sure he did too. My only hesitation was Charlie. Could I walk away from my father?
"Two weeks," he said again. "I'll be outside the building waiting when you come home from work."
"Goodbye, Isabella," he said kissing my forehead.
"Goodbye, Edward," I said.
He walked out the door of the apartment.
"I love you Edward Anthony Masen Cullen," I whispered after he was gone.
Saturday dawned with a new piece of news. Charlie, my father, had a heart attack and was gone.
"Bella," Esme said, after Carlisle had dropped the news that I was not an orphan on me. "We'll hold the funeral until you can come home. Do you want Carlisle and I to come help you?"
"No," I replied. "I'll be fine. Will it be okay to wait three weeks? I could just..."
"Missing your exams would be catastrophic for you Sweetheart. Charlie wouldn't want that," she said.
"Okay," I said.
"I'll make all the arrangements on this end. All you have to do is show up," she said.
"I'll call Edward, unless you want to," she said after I told her Edward was out for the day with friends.
"I'll just let him know when he gets home," I told her as I rubbed my hands over my swollen belly. My son, the only thing I had left in the world.
"I'll talk to you soon, Sweetheart," she said sympathetically. "I love you. Just like you were my own."
And I loved her too. But I couldn't hurt Edward by polarizing his parents in this. I would leave.
All Charlie's affairs were able to be settled from a distance, and even his life insurance paid out. Unlike my mother's, the substantial sum of money was available to be immediately. So I set about wrapping up my life at Dartmouth, and making plans with Esme to return to Forks for my father's funeral. A funeral I wouldn't actually attend.
I spent the next two weeks wrapping my life up. I went to see the man that Edward had told me about, Mr. Jenks. He created a new identity for me. Angela Elizabeth Webber, daughter Renee and Charles Webber, both deceased. Born on September 14, only one day after my actual birthday. I have dual US and Canadian citizenship as my mother is from Victoria, B.C, and my father is from Duxbury, Massachusetts. I graduated from Yale with my business management degree, which is what I would have had in one more year at Dartmouth and decided to return to my mother's homeland, after their untimely deaths.
By Friday, I had packed the few possessions that I wanted from the apartment. From the looks of things I could have been packing to come home for the funeral. I left a lot of my clothes behind as they certainly wouldn't fit me now. I had done my last shift at the library the day before. I sat on my couch waiting for Edward. As I waited, Esme called, confirming the time for a flight I wouldn't be on. The tears started as soon as she started talking.
"Oh Sweetheart," she said sympathetically. "How did you manage with your finals?"
"I think they went okay," I answered honestly.
"Bella?" Edward asked, as he walked into the apartment.
"Oh, good," Esme said. "I feel better knowing Edward is there with you. He loves you so much, Sweetheart. We all do. Alice and Jasper will pick you up. They have some exciting news that will hopefully brighten your mood for the drive up to Forks. See you tomorrow, Sweetheart."
"I love you both like you were my own parents," I told her for the last time.
"We love you too, Honey," she said, before hanging up.
As soon as I hung up the phone, I turned to look at Edward. He looked almost sympathetic. Then again, maybe it was my imagination.
"So, Charlie," he said.
"Yeah," I said, grabbing a kleenex, off the side table and dabbing my eyes.
"Have you decided?" he asked, cooly.
"I have nobody," I said to him. "And I won't be taking your family."
"Thanks," he said moving across the room away from me.
"What are you going to tell them?" I asked.
"That I went out to pick up dinner and when I came home, you and your suitcase were gone," he said.
I put my wallet, containing the last traces of Isabella Marie Swan, on the table with the apartment key.
"I'm sorry," he said.
"For what?" I asked, fighting back the tears.
"For not being what you deserve," he said.
"I'm sorry, too," I said. "I never intended to ruin your life. I hope you find happiness Edward. You won't hear from me again." I him standing in the apartment and took the two small suitcases I had down to the waiting car. Mr. Jenks was going to drive me to Canada where I could start my new life.
He had managed to empty my trust fund and access all my money from Charlie. I was on my own. Edward would find a nice white envelope waiting for him on the bed.
I am sorry that I wasn't enough for you, but you were always it for me. From the moment that I laid eyes on you in Forks, you were it. Nothing else has ever mattered. I know now that I will love you until the day I die.
Enclosed you will find the check that you gave me. I didn't want your money, knowing that you didn't want me and that I would only hurt you by staying was enough. Also enclosed is the money you left me to take care of myself. As you see I managed fine on my own.
Finally, since me continuing to wear your ring seemed to disturb you, I left it with you. I hope you find a finger more deserving of it than you felt mine was. I left all pictures of us but one, just a little something to show my son when he asks about his father. I will never tell him your name but I want him to know he was conceived in love and that even though my love for you is eternal, we weren't meant to be.
All my love always,
Everything he had given me since he walked out the door when he found out about my pregnancy was there, as was the promise ring. Taking it off my finger was one of the hardest things I had ever done. I only hoped that it made him happy.
Mr. Jenks drove into the night. I was thankful that crossing over into Canada with our fake ID was no issue. We arrived in Montreal just after midnight.
"I have a question for you," I said to him, after most of the drive was done in silence.
"What is it?" he asked.
"Does Edward know my new identity?" I asked.
"No," he said. "Not yet."
"Can you keep it that way, please?" I asked him.
He looked a little shell shocked.
"Look," I said. "He didn't want me. He didn't want us... My parents are dead and all I had was tied to him. I have nothing but my son now. But, I can't live knowing that he could try to one day contact me again. I need a fresh start. He doesn't want me now and I want to know that if he changes his mind that he can't just try to waltz back into my life."
He looked at me sympathetically and nodded his head in agreement.
"You are a sweet little girl and I don't agree with what that boy is doing to you," he said. "A man should cherish the mother of his child not pay to get her out of his life. Your secret is safe with me."
With that I walked into the small hotel and away from the last trace of Isabella Swan.
I stayed in that hotel for four days. I spent most of my time on my laptop. I searched the web for any mention of me, or Charlie, but especially Edward.
Charlie was buried as planned in Forks two days later, although none of the Cullens nor any of my friends were there. They had all flown to be with Edward in his time of need. There was a small blurb in the newspaper about me, with an old picture and a large reward.
I went to the salon that day and had my hair cut and streaked, and bought some glasses to wear, although they had no prescription. I researched small towns where I might settle down unnoticed and raise my son, finally settling on one, Prince Rupert, B.C..
At five months pregnant, I boarded a plane to Vancouver, and from there another to Prince Rupert.
Once there I kept to myself and researched businesses that I could run with a child and started to make arrangements. By the time my due date came around, I had decided to buy a guest house on a little land outside the city. It was a quaint old house, right on the water that could be renovated to have ten guest rooms, as well as some other neat amenities. The baby and I could live right on premises and when he was old enough to go school, we were close enough to town.
I met a local handyman who was willing to live in the small cabin, work for me and even help run some whale watching tours or even a fishing charter or two. Jake was a great guy and could fix anything, which I was very thankful for. He also got another job, bringing me to the hospital the day my back ache wouldn't go away and my water broke.
"It's okay, Ang," he said as he drove me in. "It won't be long."
"I can't do this. I changed my mind," I told him, absolutely panicked.
"You can do it," he said. "You are the strongest person I know."
We got to the hospital then and Jake pretty much carried me inside.
"I'll be here for you the whole way," he promised as they got me into a room.
"Oh, Hell no," I yelled as a painful contraction hit me. "You are not coming in. There are certain things that are going to be seen that shouldn't be seen by a friend."
"I think that made sense," he said. "I'll wait in the waiting room."
I labored for what felt like forever. Unfortunately for me, the only anesthesiologist in the small hospital was in an operation and I was going to have to go without drugs. That was actually a blessing, I think.
I worked though each contraction by thinking of wonderful memories of Edward and I.
When we first met.
When we first kissed.
When we made love.
Every glorious memory of the two of us, played over and over in my mind, and although he no longer loved me, I knew I would never stop loving him.
"It's time," the doctor said five hours after I arrived at the hospital. "Let's introduce this little guy to the big wide world."
The table was set up and before I knew it I was pushing. I would rather run a five mile race in bare feet on broken glass than push, but my body just kept on going.
"Push," the nurse said almost an hour later. "Just one more, Angela."
I pushed with everything I had left, screaming slightly at the end.
The glorious sound of my son's cry filled the room.
"You did it," the nurse said happily, far to perky for the level of exhaustion I was feeling. "Congratulations, Mama."
The doctor placed my son on my stomach and the nurse encouraged me to try to nurse him immediately. As I pulled my son into my arms for the first time, I couldn't help but admire the shock of bronze hair that graced the top of his perfect little head. I placed him at my breast as both the nurse and doctor looked on. He latched on like a pro and the doctor went about doing everything he needed to do down south and the nurse brought us some warm towels to cover us and keep us warm. The doctor was finished in under five minutes and I was thrilled that I didn't need any stitches. After a few minutes the doctor and a new nurse took him to be cleaned, weighed and measured, while my nurse helped me to the bathroom and into a shower.
By the time I returned, they placed me in a wheelchair and put my son, bundled up like a little sausage in a white blanket with a blue beanie on his head, in my arms for the ride up to the ward room that I would share with three other new moms, until I was able to go home.
"What's his name?" the nurse asked as we moved through the halls.
"Masen Charles Webber," I replied, holding him close to me.
Masen and I were released the next morning and, since I didn't want to disturb Jake, we took a taxi to our small home. I found it kind of ironic that I had lived in Forks, the rainiest place in the United States and was now in Prince Rupert, the city of liquid sunshine, as they are proud to claim.
I pulled up to the small guest house and paid the driver, pulling Masen in his car seat out of the taxi with the small bag that I had brought to the hospital.
"Angela," Jacob admonished as he came out of the cabin. "You should have called. I would have some to get you."
"Sorry, Jake," I said. "I didn't want to be a bother."
"You are never a bother," he said as he helped me into the house.
I was thankful that the first area we had renovated was the area where Masen and I would live, and that it was mostly complete. I had taken the small bedroom for myself and left the larger one for Masen, knowing that he would need room for his toys later on. It also had a small sitting room and little kitchen, although most meals would be cooked in the main kitchen.
We spent the winter renovating all the guest rooms and by the time Masen was six months old, we were open and my first guests had arrived. We had a fairly busy summer and Jake spent most of his time on the water with either whale watching tours or fishing charters. Business was booming.
In the winter Jake and a couple of his friends from a local reserve, Embry and Seth, build a large hall that overlooked the water. It was perfect. Now we were a wedding destination, party headquarters, and even a small conference center.
Business continued to boom and the next winter Seth and Embry were back building ten cabins for guests and another two for staff. Seth and Embry moved in as soon as they were done. I had almost completely left my old life behind and didn't even flinch when I heard someone call 'Bella' when we were in town.
This winter saw the boys building another twelve cabins on the property, which were all booked up all summer already. I had hired Leah, Seth's sister, and Emily, his cousin, to help with cooking and maid services and they moved into one of the cabins together. Life was going great.
In my free time I still found myself surfing the internet, cyber-stalking my old life. When there was no trace of me after six months it was assumed that I had most likely committed suicide. Grief and drugs were considered to be the factors in it. Edward was on the news a few times, as were his parents, begging for my safe return or looking for leads. They all appeared grief stricken. My heart throbbed for them and I couldn't help but admire Edward's acting abilities.
Carlisle and Esme retire a few years later, moving across the country to be near Edward as he went to school. That fall, after the last guests had left for the season, Masen, now three and I made a quick trip to Forks. I needed to come and say goodbye to my father. We arrived in the small town late in the evening and went straight to the cemetery. I found Charlie's grave quickly and Masen and I placed a handful of flowers on his grave. I drove by my father's old house, finding it was all boarded up and then to the Cullen's.
The house was also closed up. Masen fell asleep in his car seat and I decided not to chance staying in the dreary town full of way too many memories and instead headed straight back to Port Townsend, staying the night there. I decided to make the trip fun for Masen, deciding to bring him to Pike Place Market, the aquarium, the space needle and finally the zoo. It was there I caught my first sight of Alice and Jasper's happy surprise.
Jasper was at the zoo with a little guy that was a spitting image of him, only with jet back hair. I didn't stay long after that, taking my mini Edward back to the car and making a beeline for the Canadian border.
I was officially declared just before Masen turned six. There was a small write up in the Forks newspaper.
I continued to follow Alice and Jasper on the web. Their son, that I saw that day at the zoo, was only three months younger than Masen. His name was Charlie. Three years later, probably just shortly before my trip to Seattle, they had a little boy named Cullen. Alice had her own blog called Fashion Forward Mama, and I was able to follow along on the adventures of her little family vicariously.
Rosalie and Emmett appeared in the blog on a semi-regular basis. Their son Em J, was born exactly a year to the day after Masen and their daughter Isabelle, was born two years later. I only ever heard two casual references to Edward over the years.
I got more news about him from Google. He graduated with honors from Dartmouth and went onto to study pediatrics. Pediatrics! What a joke! He didn't even want his own son and yet he was working with children every day. He must truly have hated me. He relocated to Seattle to work Seattle Children's Hospital. I guess he and the gang must have had a falling out as it wasn't even mentioned in Alice's blog.
There was a big party announcing his arrival in Seattle with tons of pictures of Seattle's most eligible new bachelor in the newspaper and I couldn't help but think that his eyes still had the hollow look they had when I last saw him, seven years previously.
This is our opening week this year. Masen had just finished first grade and was excited to be able to go out on the boat more with Jake this year.
Jake, my long suffering friend. He finally got the courage to ask me out when Masen and I returned from our trip to Seattle. I declined, telling him that I still loved Masen's dad, and always would. Still, he looks at me, like he wants more. More than I still know I will never be able to give.
Jake has taken out little bus and gone to pick up the first guests of the year. It is a large group, needing six rooms, all in the main house There are seven adults and four kids in the party. I sit at the front desk as Masen plays lego quietly on the floor beside me and open up Alice's website. During the summer I constantly fall behind so I like to keep up when I can.
I only read the headline before I hear the bus pull up.
Vacation Time! Woo hoo!
I shut my laptop down and put on my happy face, prepared to greet the guests. Leah runs through from the kitchen with the appetizers that we always have ready while we greet the guests. Today it is smoked salmon canapes and crab cakes, with cheese and crackers for the kids.
"Thanks, Leah," I say with a grin as she scurries back to the kitchen. Leah is certainly not the most social person in the world, but she is a great worker.
The sound of kids laughter fills the air and Masen looks up at me with bright eyes, excited to have guests he can play with. The price of this place usually means that it is a little out of most families' budgets.
"What a lovely place," I hear a female voice say over the sound of bags being unloaded and the children's gleeful sounds. The woman's voice sounds awfully familiar, and a chill runs up my spine. I want to grab Masen and run, but I know it won't work.
"Look at the playground!" a little boy's voice says, probably noting the gigantic structure that Jake had created for Masen for his birthday. "Can I play, Dad?"
"What do you say we get checked in first, Buddy?" the father's booming voice sounds.
"Me too!" says another boy.
"I'm sure you can," the mother replied. That voice I was sure I knew.
My past arrived and I had no choice but to face it.
As the group made it through the front doors, the numbers dawned on me.
Four kids and seven adults.
Emmett and Rose, with their kids. Jasper and Alice with theirs. Esme and Carlisle were definitely here... and the seventh adult...
"Let me get this taken care of," the voice that starred in every one of my dreams said. "So the kids can..."
My eyes met green as I looked into my true love's face for the first time in over seven years. We both stood shocked, just staring at each other.
"Mom," my son interrupted from his spot next to me. "Can I go meet those kids?"
Edward's eyes shifted from me to our son. The resemblance between the two was undeniable.
"Edward," Esme's voice said, as she came to stand next to him. "Aren't you going to regi...."
She paused as her eyes met mine then my son's. Her hand rushed to her mouth and her eyes filled with tears...
The ghosts of my past were alive and well.... and standing right in front of me!
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