Disclaimer: Not Mine
A/N: On my hideously long drive home from the Eclipse premier Wednesday, I needed some way to stay awake. When I allowed my mind to go crazy… this is what came out. This is my first foray into the world of AH and writing in the 3rd person.
I have already made Dalloway5906 cry with the upcoming chapters of this story, so be prepared. This is not all kittens and sunshine. I will warn you when to break out the tissues. You should be ok with this chapter.
I will be posting weekly, most likely on Saturdays. I hope you enjoy it! If you do, please let me know!
I owe Dallyoway5906 big time for beta'ing this for me.
Edward Cullen was a smart man with a full life. He had two proud and loving parents and an older brother and sister that admired him. He had graduated high school by the time he was 16 and received an Undergraduate degree in Music from Seattle University at 19. Now, two years later, he was finishing his Master's in Music from Ball State. This would have been an accomplishment for anyone, but Edward Cullen made it even more of an impossibility.
Edward Cullen was blind.
He was not born blind. Up until the age of 10, Edward Cullen had been a fairly normal child. He excelled in school, was a virtuoso on the piano and was well on his way to fulfilling his dream of becoming a veterinarian. He volunteered as a Veterinary technician, and was never happier than when he was able to go on house calls and help to deliver a baby cow or sheep. Blood never bothered him, and the joy he felt when he watched the tiny lamb take its first shaky steps made it all worth it.
When Edward developed a slight fever and muscle aches, his father the doctor put him to bed, sure that he had caught a mild case of the flu. The symptoms continued for weeks, bringing with them blurred vision and mild headaches. By the time his parents took him to a specialist, he was beyond help. Edward had contracted a very rare virus that primarily affected animals, Rift Valley Fever. In a twist of fate, Edward had picked up the virus when he helped to deliver a lamb weeks earlier. Usually the symptoms mirror that of the common flu, but of course Edward had to do everything to the extreme. Once the doctors realized what they were dealing with, it was too late. The lesions had attacked the macula of his eye, leaving him permanently blind.
Most adults, when receiving the news that they would never see again, fell into a deep depression. Everyone expected the same to happen to Edward. All of his dreams were suddenly taken away. He would never be able to be a veterinarian when he was not able to see. Everyone around the little boy was shocked when, after hearing his diagnosis, he asked if he would still be able to play the piano. Of course, there was no way for him to read the music, but his fingers and ears still worked just fine. That day, sitting there in that large hospital bed, Edward Cullen changed his dream.
He wanted to become a musician.
His parents, Carlisle and Esme, supported him. They arranged for him to have tutors and were able to help him finish high school without having to go to a typical classroom. The Cullens were very wealthy, so finding a university to agree to have their son receive his degree through correspondence courses was not too difficult. When Edward decided he wanted to pursue his Master's degree in music, that was where they ran into some trouble. Although everything eventually worked out, Edward would be receiving his degree in a few weeks and Ball State had a new library on campus with the Cullen's name on it.
Edward's brother and sister, Emmett and Alice, were overwhelmingly supportive. They witnessed firsthand how determined and courageous their brother could be, and quickly realized that if Edward set his mind to something, it was better to just let him follow through with it. So it surprised everyone when Alice refused to accompany Edward to the high school stadium so Edward could run on the track.
"Edward, I'm sorry, but I can't let you do this. It would be so easy for you to stray from the track and fall. Where would you be if something happened to your hands? What if you were unable to play the piano? I have seen you lose one dream already, I can stand by and watch you risk another." She sighed as her brother stood before her wearing track pants, a t-shirt and running shoes. He held dark glasses and his white cane in his hands.
"Alice, I know you are worried, but please trust me. I would never do anything to put myself at risk." He said quietly as he reached his hand out to trace the shape of his sister's face. It was getting harder to remember what his family members looked like, but her features snapped back into his mind the second his fingers traveled over her face. He wondered how he could have forgotten the delicate curve of her jaw and the sharp points of her spiky hair as it protruded from her scalp. He could not see that her naturally dark hair was now a shocking pink or that she was wearing bright yellow contacts over her usual smoky gray eyes. Alice was having a crisis of self, not sure what she wanted to do now that she had received her degree in Art History. All of her classmates had gone out to work in galleries and museums, yet she was floundering. Her parents supported her choices, never forcing her into something that did not make her happy.
Alice sighed dramatically, causing her brother to internally pump his fist, knowing she was going to agree to his request. She changed into a bright orange leotard and purple leg warmers, slipping her feet into clean, white sneakers. Setting oversized sunglasses on her face regardless of the fact that there was only a few minutes left of daylight, she yanked Edward out the door and into the passenger seat of her pride and joy, a sleek silver BMW X6 hybrid. With all of the chemicals she was releasing into the environment changing the color of her hair every other week, she thought she should do her part by driving a hybrid.
The trip to Forks High School took longer than Edward remembered. He had been there frequently when he was younger to participate in mandatory state testing. He hated walking through the halls with his mother griping his arm and his cane rhythmically tapping on the tile floor. He had often wished he had been able to attend school with his peers, but those few forays into the seeing world changed his mind. His other senses were more sensitive since he was missing one, and the whispers echoed loudly in his ears. He hated the pity and the taunts. Without fail, his mother would drive home with silent tears trailing down her cheeks from the harsh words that had been slung at her son. Edward was used to the teasing by now, but he still hated to hear the sympathy. He had a very full life, he should not be pitied.
When the car stopped, Edward popped his seatbelt off and all but jumped out of the car. He had been doing some research on the affect music had on the perceived exertion of exercise, and he was looking forward to seeing if the studies were correct. He also wanted to try and improve his aerobic health. He often found himself slightly out of breath after performing a particularly difficult piece of music. His research all led him to believe that running would be a wonderful way to increase his lung capacity and stamina. With a guiding hand from Alice and the use of his cane, he was able to enter onto the track and make one lap around to orient himself. He had chosen this time of day carefully, twilight. He knew since he was a beginning runner, he would not have the endurance he knew would come with continued training. He also knew that since he was lacking the help of sight to coordinate his movements, he might look a bit strange. He wanted as few witnesses as possible.
Alice took a seat on the lowest row of bleachers as she watched her youngest brother make his way around the track. He held his cane loosely in one hand, allowing it to graze along the ground to alert him to any obstacles ahead. After one pass he was able to judge when the path curved and tossed the cane onto the grass. Tears pooled in her eyes as she saw Edward slowly meander along the track, his face completely relaxed. She hated to cry around him, he despised sympathy, but it was hard for her to watch her little brother missing out on normal activities because of his disability. She had to admit that he was making the most of his life, unlike herself. She was so caught up in her pity party, she never noticed that someone had joined her brother on the track.
Isabella Swan made her way slowly towards the track. She almost walked right back out to her car after seeing that someone else was here. She came to the track at dusk in hopes that she would be able to slowly jog her two miles and get back home without anyone seeing her. She had lived in Forks since she moved from Phoenix midway through her junior year. Her mother, Renee, was a former beauty queen and was constantly trying to mold Isabella into her version of perfection. That meant that every day Isabella was plucked, tweezed and scolded for eating too many carbs. She was enrolled in dance classes when she was three to try and keep her thin, but Renee was so embarrassed after Isabella fell during one of the performances, she pulled her out. Grace was not Isabella's middle name. Things started to get worse when she was six and fell and skinned her knee. Renee ranted and yelled at her for scaring up her knees because now she would never be able to wear pretty dresses. Little Isabella cried herself to sleep that night and dreamt about beautiful lace dresses covered in blood.
Renee had gotten pregnant by a small town boy when she was 17. She took Isabella grudgingly but left the boy in the small town. Charlie Swan worked hard to make something of himself so he could do right by his daughter. He went to Phoenix to visit her every summer, and started to notice that she was not the same sweet, self-assured child he once knew. Isabella, or Bella as he called her, had grown sullen and quiet, gaining weight and refusing to adhere to her mother's nagging requests on how she should keep her hair. By the time Bella was 17, things had gotten so bad with Renee, Bella called and begged Charlie to let her come live with him. Charlie Swan was a smart man. Being the Chief of Police had earned him the respect of everyone in the town, but he was clueless as to how to raise a teenage daughter. Bella was very self sufficient. She cooked and cleaned and never caused any problems for Charlie. If not for the rumors he heard from the teachers at Bella's school he would have though that she was adjusting very well.
Bella was the new kid in town. Not only was she the new kid, she was the overweight, daughter of the hard ass police chief. Bella had put up with snide comments and teasing all her life from her mother. She thought nothing could hurt worse than hearing the woman who gave you life call you a cow. She was wrong. Because while she was one of a couple hundred kids in her class in Phoenix, there were far fewer kids in her class in Forks. Bella made sure never to cry in front of Charlie, she did not want him to think she missed her mom and send her back. That could not have been further from the truth. Bella was so excited to be away from her controlling, demanding mother, she would have put up with anything to stay. At least that is what she thought until she met Rosalie Hale.
Rosalie Hale was the picture of perfection. Her blonde hair fell in giant waves over her shoulders. Her clothes were the cutting edge of style and her face was made to be on the big screen. If only she believed half of the things people told her. Like Bella, Rosalie's mother was demanding and controlling. Only Rose acquiesced to her mother's commands. Where Bella snuck cookies and chips to defy her mother, Rose never ate anything that could be construed as junk. Where Bella avoided any beauty products, Rose practically bathed in lotions and oils to try and keep her skin perfect. But like Bella, because her mother was always trying to change something about her, Rose only saw the imperfections. While Bella kept her pain on the inside, Rose spewed it to the world. No one was ever good enough for Rosalie Hale, and she let people know.
Bella's first day at Forks High, she accidently tripped over Rose's designer handbag that was left carelessly in the middle of the aisle. When Bella hit the floor, splitting her lip on the hard linoleum, Rose was the first person in her face, screaming at her for getting blood on her purse. When Bella tripped trying to climb up the bleachers during an assembly, Rose was the one to announce loudly that cows were not meant to climb stairs. Bella tried hard to find something good about Rose, but the only thing she could come up with was that her boyfriend, Emmett Cullen, was nice. And Emmett was nice. He helped pick up her books when she tripped in the hallway. He escorted her to the nurse when she got hit in the head with a racket during gym class. He always made sure to watch her after one of Rose's tirades to make sure she would not break down in front of everyone. He had no idea what he would do if she did start crying, but he knew that he would have done something. Emmett Cullen could see what Rose's words were doing to poor Isabella Swan, but whenever he would try to talk to Rose about it, she would cry and scream and throw herself at him, begging him to love her. So Emmett stopped talking about it because he hated to see the self-loathing in his love's eyes.
Things did not improve much when Bella went away to college. She was surprised to have been accepted to Dartmouth and threw herself into her studies. She wanted to be able to one day become a social worker, so she would be able to see a child like herself or Rosalie Hale and help them. She graduated a year early with a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and a list of references a mile long. When you don't socialize at all you have plenty of time to devote to studying and getting in your professor's good graces. Bella decided to return back home to Forks after she graduated, knowing that her father had missed her, or at least her cooking.
As Bella became reacquainted with her former home, she found that not much had changed. Rosalie Hale was now Rosalie Cullen. She and Emmett had married after they had finished their degrees at UDub, early childhood education and wildlife conservation respectively. They built a house on the massive Cullen Estate and were currently trying to start a family of their own before Rose started to teach. It was amazing what you could learn while grocery shopping.
Bella had started to lose some weight while in college, but it was very difficult when you were surrounded by food at the cafeteria 24/7. Now that she was home, she was trying to cook healthier for both herself and Charlie, who had started to gain a little around his middle. Bella's first trip to the Forks High School track had been disastrous. Five minutes into her run/walk/jog, she had caught the edge of her sneaker on a rock and went down hard. She laid on the cold track in the dark and cried until her eyes were puffy and her throat was sore. After her tears were dried, she got up and dusted herself off. She finished her two miles, and had been back every day since.
Tonight was the first time she had ever seen anyone else at the stadium. She did not notice the sprite of a girl curled up in a ball on the bleacher, crying silently as she waited for her brother to finish his run. She only saw the fit, confident man slowly making his way around the track. She wanted to turn around and go home, but knew she would feel horrible later if she did not get her two miles in. Resigned to the fact that she would have to run alongside this man, she shoved her ear buds into her ears and hit play on her iPod. The relaxing melodies of Debussy flowed over her and she entered the track, heading to the most inside lane.
She tried to pace herself so she was always slightly out of the man's eye line, but he was a good runner and was quickly gaining on her. When she could hear his footfalls over the music coming from her iPod, she pushed pause to make sure her breathing was not too loud. She would hate for him to hear her huffing and puffing like a beached whale. His breathing was even and quiet, as if he were measuring each breath so they would each be exactly the same. She slowed her pace, hoping he would continue ahead of her without stopping to talk. She had not realized she had stopped breathing until she suddenly became lightheaded and her steps faltered. Her feet veered to the right and she felt herself colliding with the man. They hit the ground hard, him breaking her fall. She cried out as she felt a sharp pain in her side where she landed on his bony elbow.
Bella looked down at the man currently underneath her and found her breath trapped in her chest for a second time. He was beautiful, his jaw broad and chiseled, his mouth was full and slightly wet from the nervous swipes his tongue was making across the flesh. His hair was wild and colorless in the waning moonlight. But his eyes were what captivated Bella. She had never seen eyes as green as this man's. They had been covered by dark glasses, which now lay broken next to him. Even in the low light, she was able to see the jade and peridot fighting for supremacy in his iris. She wanted nothing more than to lay there against him and stare into his eyes forever, but a screeching voice brought her out of her reverie.
"What are you doing to my brother? Are you hurt Edward?" She yelled as she all but pushed Bella off of the man who was still laying on the ground.
"No Alice, I'm fine. Why don't you check on the young lady, since I am sure I heard a snap when we landed?" He replied in a voice as smooth and rich as espresso. Alice looked over at the girl who had now wrapped her arm around her waist, wincing in pain.
"I'm sorry, are you hurt?" Alice asked Bella, only keeping half of her attention on the chubby girl. The other half was on her brother who had still not gotten up off of the ground.
"I think I am alright. I just have a sharp pain in my side." Bella said, grimacing as she tried to take a deep breath.
"Sounds like a broken rib." Edward said as he finally pushed himself off of the ground, much to his sister's relief. "I think we should take you to the hospital to get it checked out."
Bella was shaking her head swiftly as she slowly backed away from the pair. Alice was looking at her quizzically but the man was still staring off into space, his beautifully expressive eyes gazing unseeing into the dark.
"No, really this was all my fault. I'll be fine. I have lots of practice with broken bones. Don't worry about it." Bella said as she finally, albeit reluctantly turned away from the man and his sister.
"At least tell me your name." His prefect voice called after her.
"I'm Bella. And I'm so sorry I ruined your run." Bella said as she turned back to extend her hand to the man. His face remained the same, as if he were ignoring her outstretched hand. She was suddenly hit with a wave of sadness that this man was just like the rest. Who would want to touch something so hideous?
As if finally realized what was happening, Alice jumped in and grabbed her brother's hand, placing it next to Bella's much smaller one.
As Edward's large, capable hand enveloped Bella's delicate one, chills ran down the spines of both of them, causing them each to unconsciously tighten their grips. As Bella's hand squeezed Edward's he suddenly cried out in pain and she quickly released him. Alice tried very hard not to glare at Bella as she rushed to her brother's side. She knew what it would mean if something was wrong with Edward's hand. His piano was his entire life.
"Let's go. I'll call Dad on the way and he can meet us there." Alice said as she bent down and picked up Edward's ruined glasses. She wrapped her arm around Edward's waist and started to lead him towards the parking lot. He held his injured hand against his chest and tipped his head down towards the ground. Bella could see the unmistakable moisture glistening on his cheeks that relayed how much pain the beautiful man was experiencing. Her chest hurt as she realized that she had caused this. She turned to walk towards her car when something white caught her eye. As she got closer to the object that lay in the grass, she realized what it was she was looking at. The pain in her side was forgotten as she put the pieces together. The beautiful man she had injured was blind. This was his cane, which he would need. She was going to have to go to the hospital not only to return his cane and check on him, but to see what was wrong with herself, because it should not hurt this much to breathe.
A/N: So? Show me the love!