Disclaimer: The usual...I own the story, I don't own the characters, etc.
Summary: Not all is as it seems when Edward finds an old journal that can bridge the gap between universes. Things become even stranger when the reality of one universe starts to bleed into the other.
This story will always represent the two points of view, EAM's and EAMC's, separated by a bunch of *****'s and a rule.
If you're confused, shoot me a note, and I'll unconfuse you :-)
Port Angeles on a good day wasn't my idea of a fun place to go, but I'd promised to try.
The air stank of fish, and the summer's heat wasn't helping, in spite of the ever-present cloud layer. Normally a breeze blew the odor from the fishing vessels lining the docks away from the town, but not today. Today the air was heavy with heat, and rotting fish, and filled with the sound of swarming flies. I was sweating, nauseated from the smell, and flailing at the flies constantly alighting on my arms. In other words, I was miserable.
So when Alice grabbed my hand and dragged me into the bookstore, I wasn't objecting to spending some time in the air conditioned shop. As small as it was, I wouldn't mind spending the rest of our day in there.
I'd only been in here once before, and after seeing how small their selection was, I did the rest of my book shopping either in Seattle, or on the internet. The store appeared to be run by someone from the Quileute reservation, and I felt a pang of guilt over not shopping locally, knowing I should be putting an effort into helping support those who supported our local economy. But the truth is, I tended towards the classics, and that's not the kind of stock he carried.
But for now I was happy to be out of the heat and the smell, and wandered towards the back of the store, hoping to find hidden literary treasures even he didn't know he had.
"Edward, check this out!"
Alice's voice came from the far back corner and, sliding sideways between the closely spaced shelves and books piled on the floor, I headed towards the back.
Alice was already with the Cullens when I arrived as the latest foster child. Petite and dark-haired, we found each other easy to speak with from the beginning. She understood me, knew I needed space after the death of my parents, and my own illness, and she and her boyfriend seemed to almost instinctively know when I needed to be left alone, and when it was good to push past my walls and approach me. We'd become very close in the two years I'd been with them, feeling as if we really were siblings.
"Whatcha got?" I asked, trying to show some enthusiasm, but doubting there'd be anything in this store to really interest me.
She held up an old, leather-bound book. "It's a journal, I think. And it's really old. I know you like old things, so maybe…?"
I grinned and took it out of her hands. The surface of the leather was rough, scarred in places and discolored. There was nothing at all written on the outside, but flipping it open I was surprised to see the paper was new, unmarked and unlined. It was the type of book that begged for a fountain pen and sepia ink, the kind of thing I could unload thoughts into without feeling like I was writing in a kid's diary. It was masculine, and gave the sense of the kind of thing that could last through the ages, the kind of journal that could be found in an attic trunk 200 years from now.
In other words, it gave me a sense of immortality, or at the very least, maybe my words might develop some.
I wanted it.
"I was right, wasn't I?" Alice beamed at me, bouncing lightly on the balls of her feet. I nodded, and turned it over, looking for a price. There was nothing on it, anywhere. That's when I noticed that not only was the cover blank, but there was no mention of who made it, who sold it – nothing.
"Alice, there's no price, I don't know if I can afford it," I whispered, embarrassed this even came up. But the truth was, I didn't care how much money the Cullens had, I was not their son. I had some money, but I was holding it aside for college.
"Come on, if you can't cover it, I'll pay the difference." She put her hand on my elbow and started dragging me towards the front of the store. "I mean, this isn't Tiffany's. How much could it cost?"
It was later that night, the wind blowing and the rain pounding against the windows, that I was finally able to make it up to my room, and slipped the journal out of the paper bag.
The leather cover seemed to be made from a single piece of tanned hide, and not wrapped around a board to stiffen it. It was flexible, but thick enough to be sturdy and protect the contents. What I didn't understand was why the leather cover seemed so old, yet the paper seemed so new.
I opened it and ran my finger down the clean white sheet. The paper was also thick, with a slightly rough texture, the kind of paper that really would take well to a fountain pen, absorbing the ink completely, yet cleanly. I was tempted to put something on it, but also know whatever I wrote needed to be meaningful, not day to day ramblings.
Opening my desk drawer, I took out one of the few possessions that had been my father's - his antique Sheaffer pen, and a bottle of brown ink. Carefully inking the pen and testing it on scrap paper, I opened to the first page and wrote
Edward Anthony Masen
"Edward, check this out!"
Alice was hidden in the back of the store, and rolling my eyes - knowing she probably found the latest book on fashion do's and don'ts - I carefully walked past the stacks of books on the floor and the narrow aisles to find her.
Just as she had predicted, the day turned out cloudy, allowing us to walk the streets of Port Angeles with no worry about the sun. This didn't mean I appreciated having to deal with the stink of rotting fish coming off the ships docked in the unseasonable heat. The only advantage was, even the flies knew better than to come near us.
I had no idea what her goal had been in Port Angeles. I had agreed to accompany her since Jasper was off hunting with Emmett, and Rosalie was caught up working on her BMW. But the last thing I expected was to be dragged into the tiny bookshop owned by a member of the Quileute tribe.
"Alice, I don't know…"
She looked at the entrance, and turned around, a determined look on her face. "The treaty doesn't say we can't shop in Port Angeles." Opening the door she turned to me as the small bells jingled. Instead of meeting her eyes I looked at the shop keeper. He was glaring, and I happily returned his hostility. He didn't want me in his store any more than I wanted to be there, but Alice grabbed my elbow and dragged me in.
"Humor me, Edward. There's something I'm looking for, and they may carry it."
So there I was, heading towards the back of the store, answering Alice's summons. I had no idea how Jasper lived with this.
She was standing in a corner, looking down at a table covered with items marked "Discount," her eyes falling on an old leather book, with nothing printed or stamped on the cover. I picked it up, surprised by the age of the leather cover, and opened it. To my delight, it was a journal, with high quality blank, unlined paper filling it. I smiled, this was a find. I had no idea how old it was, but it reminded me of a journal my father kept, my real father. I had few memories, but some were of items in his study. He had a journal similar to this, although I do remember gold leaf embossing on his. This one appeared to be very old indeed.
"Thanks, Alice. How did you notice this amongst the junk back here?" She reached out her hand to take it from me.
"I don't know, my eye caught it and I had…" Alice stopped speaking, her mouth fell open, her eyes rolled back and her knees buckled. The book dropped back to the table as I reached over and grabbed her before she hit the floor.
"Edward?" she whispered, pulling out of my arms and backing up, her eyes opened wide and staring at the book.
"I… I don't know. I touched it, and it was a vision, but it wasn't a vision." She turned away and shook her head. "Bright lights, splashes of color, even sound – but none of it made sense."
"Are you feeling okay now, have you recovered?" I looked at the journal. "Maybe I shouldn't even consider it…"
"No," she shook her head. "I think it's meant for you, but don't ask me why." She laughed softly, and walked towards the front of the store. "Grab it and let's get out of here." She shivered slightly, but kept going. "I want to get home." The entire drive home she kept turning around and looking at the back seat, where the journal was laying in its paper bag, an indecipherable expression on her face.
Much later that night, when the others were occupied, I went up to my room. Closing and locking the door, I pulled the journal out of the bag and laid it on my desk. Pleased with my purchase, I sat in front of it, and absently stroked the leather, thinking back to those hazy memories back in Chicago. Sighing, I smiled and flipped it open to examine it more closely, and dropped it on the desk.
I thought back, replaying everything that happened today, in the store, once I got home. It wasn't possible, was it?
I tentatively reached over and opened it again, noticing my hands were trembling. That wasn't there before, I know it wasn't. How could this...
Oh yes, I get it. Someone's idea of a joke, of course. Alice? No, I don't think so. I'd guess Emmett, although if it was him, he did a better job imitating my hand than I'd think him capable.
I reached into my desk and pulled out my much-loved fountain pen, and the bottle of sepia ink. I carefully amended the journal so it no longer just said "Edward Anthony Masen."
I added "Cullen" to the end.
Shutting the journal with a snap, I took it into my closet, and kneeled in front of the chest I kept buried in the back. Removing the key that was always on my person, I unlocked the chest and placed the journal inside, carefully relocking it.
Let's see them try to continue this game.
Hey there! Welcome to my surprise. Well, this is a surprise to me too. It's even more of a surprise to my usual betas, because no one has seen this except me, and now you :-)
Remember, this story will always represent the two points of view, EAM's and EAMC's, separated by a bunch of *****'s and a rule.
I hope you enjoy this walk in the multi-universe. I can be found at the third star to the left. Let me know what you think. The "review" button will send your comments to me, even if I'm way out there.
Gah, that's cheesy. Hope you enjoy, and thanks for reading!
Come join us on the new thread created by the lovely Jedigirlsc (does Vanna White impression.) It's in the Twilighted Forums, under AU.