Disclaimer & A/N: All things Twi belong to S. Meyer.
I wrote this story for Katie's (starfish422) birthday.
Because Over The Top was the second fic I ever read and it was the one that made me decide to try and write fanfic.
So, you could say that without Katie you wouldn't have my fics.
Plus, she shares her birthday, May 29th, with yours truly.
So happy birthday to us. ;)
Hope you like the story too.
Nothing Else Matters
I think we all crave it, but some more than others.
For me it was tricky.
I was given away when I was three days old. Whoever gave me away left me in a basket on the steps of St Michael's Home, an orphanage ran by nuns.
That's where I grew up; they were my family. Well, in the way they could. At first, they tried to find a home for me, but nobody wanted the temperamental, moody little boy with the freakish hair in all autumn colors. I was difficult, even as a child.
The sisters decided to keep me around until something better, a family that was more understanding, would come along.
That happened when I was eleven.
The Cullens were nice people - the wife had dedicated her life to her adoptive children and the husband was a doctor. They took me on trial basis, not wanting to make promises they might not be able to keep.
Yes, they told me all that. I remember the day I sat in Carlisle's study in the big house I was now to call home.
"Edward, son... I know you are different, but this is a chance for you. This is where you get to decide who you want to be. So far you've been safe, cared for and loved. They took care of your education and gave you rules to follow. We're doing the exactly same thing, but you need to decide what to do with this chance." He spoke in a tone that told me he was choosing the words carefully.
"Okay..." I remember muttering back, and it was the end of that conversation.
They had three children already. Alice, she was my age and had been with them since she was three years old. She was another stray, like she called herself. Someone had abandoned her, and nobody ever found out who it had been.
Emmett was fifteen; he played football and was amazing in everything. He was our mom Esme's nephew. Then there was Rosalie. She was thirteen and very troubled, maybe more than any of us others. She didn't let anyone but Emmett close to herself, and she had been in the Cullen house for two years already. Sometimes her screams woke up the whole house, and Emmett went to her room to sit in the armchair next to her bed. I knew he'd hold her hand all night if needed. Nothing else worked.
From the first moment, Emmett treated me like I was just a quirky little brother. Rosalie ignored my existence, which suited me just fine, as she intimidated me just by being around. Alice tried to play with me but realized I didn't really play. Instead, she sat in the same room, playing solitaire with playing cards or doing something else while I read a book in silence. That's how we became best friends.
A few months after I moved to their large house in the middle of the forest, I went to sit in front of Esme's piano for the first time. She spotted me there, and even I could tell she was trying not to push me or scare me when she came to me and asked me if I could play.
By that time, I still spoke very little. I was afraid that I'd sound stupid and they, such eloquent and smart people, would realize they didn't want me after all. It had been good at St Michael's, but I had realized this was so much better. This was a home, not a place to store unwanted children.
So, I shook my head at Esme, and she asked me if I wanted to learn.
"Would you...let me listen?" I asked quietly and scooted over when she gestured for me to move a bit. And then I watched in marvel how her fingers glided across the keys, producing sounds that made my heart swell in my chest.
"Oh honey!" she said and instinctively wrapped her arms around me. It took me a while to realize I was crying. "You really liked it, didn't you?" she asked, and I managed to nod before I buried my face to her chest and wept. That was the first moment when I knew what mothers were like. I had known the word, seen it in films and read about it in books, but I hadn't known before that.
In the next year she taught me how to play. Every day we sat in front of the piano and she'd teach me more. When I was thirteen, I composed her a song for Mother's Day. She still gets teary when I play it for her.
The year I turned fifteen, things changed in the house. Emmett was getting through high school graduation, and Rosalie, who by then spoke to all of us and could stand to be hugged even by me (not that it happened often, only on my birthday and Christmas...) was getting antsy.
We had spoken about their relationship. They were in love, clearly, and even though they were both very young they knew what they wanted. Emmett wasn't adopted by Esme and Carlisle, he was sort of just living with them because his family wasn't what it could be, so legally that was okay. For society...it would be weird. So, they were going through that and then Alice got sick.
She began to have seizures, black outs, headaches. I was terrified, because she was the one who was my sister. My Alice.
One night that summer we were sitting in her room, listening to music.
She smiled brightly, and said: "You'll be so happy. Even after I'm gone, you'll have someone who'll love you."
Of course, the statement made out of the blue like that made no sense, but then again some things she now said didn't. A few days before, she told me she had visions when she seized. Glimpses of places she had never been, faces she couldn't connect to names, sounds that made her happy or sad or even scared sometimes. She always remembered what she saw.
"I won't be with you all that long now. But, I saw something...someone who will make it all better," she said and patted the bed she was laying on so that I'd go sit with her.
I wasn't speaking much, just trying to figure out what to say to her, how to comment on these things she was claiming would happen soon.
"Edward...I know that you're different from the rest of us. I know you get lost in your music and your books, and sometimes you need to be reminded that there are other things than sheets of music in life..." she smirked at me, and I poked her side with my fingers, making her squirm.
"I know you haven't thought about it, but I know the person you'll fall in love with will surprise you. I've seen it happen. I've seen it all. And at first you won't accept that person, but eventually, when you will, you'll realize what you have found."
Her cryptic words were beginning to get on my nerves. "What are you talking about, Ali?"
"Someone will join the family soon. He has blue eyes like the ocean and curly hair that is untamed like yours but reminds me of a field of wheat... And he'll be a part of this family, and you'll end up together with him," she said with conviction that made me jump from the bed and scowl at her.
"But Alice, I'm not gay!" I hissed the word out, suddenly not questioning her 'visions' as much as I questioned her sanity when it came to my sexuality.
Honestly, I had never thought of it. I didn't like any of the girls I had met and none of the boys either. I had been home schooled for the first two years, but I had joined Alice in school two years ago and I was never attracted to anyone there.
"I didn't say you were," she said in her clear, voice, scolding me for being so silly. "I said you'll end up with him and that everything will be alright when you do. He'll accept you as you are; he'll love you for who you are. You just need to overcome your sadness. He won't be here to replace me, because you know no-one can," she smirked, and I couldn't help but smile at her antics.
"How do you know all this?" I asked, and she tapped her temple.
"It's all in here, right next to the tumor," she said sagely, and I climbed on the bed to lay beside her until she fell asleep.
Two weeks later, she couldn't walk on her own. Three weeks from that, she couldn't speak. I fed her every day, making it my task to take care of something I could still control.
I spoke less and less. One evening, I heard Esme cry to Carlisle that she felt like she was losing two of her children. But. I just had nothing to say.
Her last week, Alice sat in her wheelchair next to the piano, and I'd play for her. She could still breathe and move her eyes but that was it, more or less. Everything else was gone.
One morning she just didn't wake up.
I don't know what happened to me, but I stopped speaking completely. I couldn't go to school in the fall, because what would I have done there? Sit and not answer questions?
A few weeks before Christmas, Carlisle informed me, Em and Rose that there was a new member joining the family before the holidays. He was a troubled teenager, fifteen; he had been abused, and he was scared. That was pretty much it.
I tried to hide the anger I felt. It was like they were replacing my sister, like there was a quota of children they needed to fill and this new boy would take Alice's place.
Getting up from the living room chair, I walked away and into my room. I stayed there for two days.
That was when Rosalie came in. Despite the door being locked.
"I had to pick the lock, Eddie. Do you know how hard that was for my nails?" She asked as I kept staring out of the window.
"Okay...so you're clearly not talking... Let's try this, if you disagree, you shake your head," she said, and I did nothing to acknowledge her presence.
"You're sad because Alice died, just like the rest of us. Maybe even more because she was your sister more than mine or Emmett's. You're mad at mom and dad for taking this boy in because you think they're trying to replace her." She had a little pause after every sentence like she was waiting for me to shake my head.
"Nobody will ever replace Ali. You know that. Now what I hear from dad about the boy, he's someone who needs to have spent time with, but who can't be close to anyone. Sound like anyone you know?" She grinned, and I glanced at her. "Yeah, so that's like me, right?" Rosalie said and then sighed. "You'd think I could help him out but I can't, because I'm a girl. He...has issues about women. So, can you help me help him?" She asked, and I firmly shook my head at her.
"Well, I can't ask Emmett. You know how he is. He's be too pushy, and the boy doesn't need it. You don't have to do anything...just...be there, okay?" She pleaded to me and then added, "You know Alice would have wanted you to help someone like him."
I looked at Rosalie sharply but couldn't shake my head at that. She was right. It was just a low blow, and by the looks of her she knew it. But, like always, she said nothing about it. Rosalie didn't apologize.
So, the next day when I heard the car and then the front door, I walked to the staircase. I didn't go downstairs, but I observed.
When I saw the boy, I gasped in shock. He had a wheat-color curls and his eyes were blue. I could tell even from a distance. Without a doubt I knew Alice had been right. Somehow her visions had been real, and I couldn't tell anyone because no-one would believe me and... I almost had a panic attack right there.
Instead, I ran to my room and closed the door and stayed there for a few hours until I heard Esme's voice.
"Edward? Dinner's ready. Would you please come sit with us? I think it would make Jasper feel more safe to have someone his own age around." She spoke in a pleading tone which she knew I was unable to resist.
Getting up from my bed, I walked to the door and opened it. I didn't say a thing, I still had nothing to say, but I followed her downstairs and to the dining room.
The others were seated already, and I noticed Rose sitting in one end of the table and Esme going to sit with her. The guys sat at the other with the new boy, Jasper, next to Emmett, who seemed to be some kind of a barrier between him and the women of the house.
I sat down opposite Jasper, and we said grace. Then, we had dinner, and all that time I could feel his eyes on me.
It began to annoy me, and when I finally looked at him, my intention was to pretty much tell him off without saying a word. Instead, I found myself staring in to his eyes that were somehow wild, scared and suspicious. But there was something else in them, something I knew from my own image in the mirror.
He wanted to be accepted.
I tore my eyes away from him and finished my meal before looking at Carlisle questioningly.
"Yes you can go, Edward," he said, smiling just a bit, and as I was leaving the table, I could see from my peripheral vision that Jasper looked curious.
Well let him be curious all he wanted.
For a few weeks, I didn't talk, and Jasper seemed to become more and more curious. He hadn't asked anything yet or spoken to me (or Esme or Rose) directly. I knew it was just a matter of time now.
Christmas had gone by awkwardly. We had had presents, a big dinner and whatnot, and Jasper had screamed in his sleep the night after Christmas because Esme had touched him accidentally, while taking some of the wrapping paper from next to his feet while cleaning up the mess we had made.
Whatever had happened to him was terrible, I was sure of it.
The next day, I sat in front of the piano. There was a fire in the fireplace, and it was nice and warm in the music room. It was snowing outside, and even though I wasn't looking, I knew the view was beautiful outside the large windows.
"So what's wrong with you?" He asked suddenly, making my fingers slip as the Moonlight Sonata I was playing got disrupted. I glanced at him sharply, and he raised his hands in surrender, "Sorry man."
I sighed and stopped playing, then began again. Alice's favorite song - "In the Hall of the Mountain King" by Grieg.
"Hey, I know this. He's Edward too, isn't he? The composer?" Jasper asked me enthusiastically, and my eyes were suddenly wide.
I nodded and smiled just a little.
The faster part of the song was always a challenge, and I played it like Alice liked me to play. I got lost in the music, my eyes were closed, and my whole body moved with the music.
When the dramatic ending faded, I opened my eyes and saw Jasper staring at me, his mouth was hanging open. Then, he suddenly turned around and practically ran away.
I don't want to talk about my childhood. Even now, when I've been an adult for a decade, I never talk about how it was.
I still wince when a woman with red hair comes too close, or when someone has a voice that's similar in pitch to my mother's.
When the Cullens took me in... I was a mess. But, the social worker told me they had a girl and a boy who were both a bit different like me. They had just lost one of their kids, a daughter, to an inoperable tumor in her brain, and they were still sort of drifting as a family. Nevertheless, they'd be my best bet.
I liked Emmett right away, though his boisterous ways made me tense sometimes. Carlisle was very nice and fatherly; I liked him, but then again, he had the ability to read me better than most, probably because he was a doctor.
Rose was scary and Esme was motherly in all the right ways, but they were both women and... I just couldn't deal with them getting too close to me.
Then, there was Edward.
When I first saw him I was...stunned. I had never seen anyone so beautiful in my life.
Naturally, I didn't know it was what I felt at that exact moment, but later on I knew. The day I found him playing piano...
I blurted out the obvious question, having wondered why he didn't talk at all. Emmett had told me he had talked before their sister died, but that he had never been chatty.
When he played the song, by Grieg, the way he threw himself in to the piece... his body was looking so strong and so delicate at the same time... How his eyes were closed and his strange hair was flying to all directions... It was like watching something that wasn't quite real.
When he stopped playing, I realized that for the first time in my life I was hard. I had an erection.
Sure, I had done what all teenaged boys do when they realize what equipment they have and learn how to use it for pleasure, but I had never gotten hard just by looking at someone before.
I ran in to my room and didn't come down before dinner.
It took me a week to look at Edward again, and that time it was him who blushed and averted his eyes.
After a while, I started to talk to Esme and Rosalie. Eventually, I didn't mind walking close to them, and one day I was spontaneously hugged by Rosalie. We both just froze.
I had heard that she almost never hugged anyone. That she had been a lot like me when she first got to the Cullens. And, there we stood, staring at each other wide eyed after she realized what she was doing and let me go.
Edward happened to walk into the room at that moment. He read the situation, and then suddenly he snorted and giggled, and it sounded so silly coming from him who was always so quiet that both me and Rosalie began to laugh.
When Esme ran into the room and saw the three of us being hysterical together, she began to cry. Then, Edward had to run to her and hug her to keep her from crumbling from relief.
That was the first day I heard Edward speak.
"See, mom. Maybe there's hope for us all?" He asked in a rough voice he hadn't used for a very long time.
It was still the most beautiful sound I had ever heard.
Then, Emmett got in all sweaty from his run and grabbed Rosalie, and there was chaos all around.
We were more like siblings and parents, like a real family, after that day. Sure, there were quirks. I still couldn't go too close to the women without getting panicky all of a sudden. Edward still spoke about once a day, and Emmett was still a silly but intelligent jock who loved Rosalie to bits. She was still herself but also less reserved around me.
The end of the summer, the year me and Edward turned seventeen, was when things changed.
Rosalie and Emmett were traveling a little, and they were to live together in Seattle from the fall onwards.
It would leave me and Edward to the Cullen house. We had all told Esme and Carlisle to adopt some younger kids, but they claimed they had had their quota of children and would now spend time together. At least for now.
There was a clear attraction between myself and Edward. Nobody mentioned it, ever. Especially me or Edward. He had never had any boyfriends or girlfriends, for that matter, and I wasn't into going to public places, but I was definitely gay. So yeah... there we were, the two saddest cases in the history of Washington State.
One night in the summer, I was sitting on the floor next to the piano. Edward was playing. and the music drifted out from the open windows.
Esme and Carlisle were in some fundraiser, and we were alone in the house.
"Alice saw you coming," he said over the music, Claire De Lune, he was playing.
"Oh?" was all I could really comment to that. I turned my head to look up at him, and he nodded.
"Before she...died. She had these seizures, and she once told me she saw the future." His smile was small and tight, almost like he was waiting for me to laugh at him.
"And she saw me?" I asked, wanting to keep him talking.
"Yes... she knew what you looked like. And... and that..." He went quiet again, and I turned on the floor so that I was looking at him.
"And what, Edward?" I asked.
He stopped playing and closed his eyes.
There was a frown on his face when he took in a shaky breath and then quoted her exact words: "You'll end up with him, and everything will be alright when you do. He'll accept you as you are; he'll love you for who you are."
Somehow, I knew that she had been right. That somehow the miraculous little Alice I had heard so much of and had seen so many pictures and home videos of had truly seen the future.
I got up and took the few steps between us. Straddling the bench, I sat very close to him.
"She was right." I let the words out, almost whispering.
My heart was beating out of my chest, and I heard the blood rush through my body, making the sound in my ears.
"She also said that I wouldn't accept you at first, but eventually I would, and then everything would be okay. That I'd be happy with you if I'd just let go of my sadness." He spoke in a broken voice, this was already more than he had spoken in the last few days, and his eyes were still closed.
"And are you letting go?" I asked, because the other things I knew had already happened. He hadn't accepted me, but now he did.
"I'm trying," he said, and I smiled.
"Would you play something for me?" I asked, and he nodded.
Lightly I placed my head on his shoulder so that I was watching his long, delicate fingers moving on the keys.
He began to play one of my favorite songs. Sure, it was nothing like Alice's favorite, not even classical music, but I loved the lyrics of the song.
Edward never sang, so it was me who hummed along.
"Never opened myself this way Trust I seek and I find in you
Life is ours, we live it our way
All these words I don't just say
And nothing else matters
Every day for us something new
Open mind for a different view
And nothing else matters..."
Trust I seek and I find in you