A/N: This is my first attempt at anything like this, I have no fingernails left at the thought of actually posting...but here goes.
Special thanks to my betas: Sam1Am, the wonderful ladies at PTB: Secretlyseverus and .Lover, for understanding commas and tenses, because I don't have a clue.
Things I Love: All things Twilight, Edward and Bella, the mind of Stephenie Meyer, because she owns all of this.
Things I Hate: Commas (they are stupid things, I never put in the right place).
Here we go....
Love Comes Last
The Beginning of the End
I follow Edward into our apartment. He hasn't said a word since leaving the cemetery; not that he is a man of many words, especially to me, but he hasn't uttered a sound in over an hour.
He storms over to the bar and pours himself a glass of whiskey, swallowing it down in one gulp. He slams the glass down and leans over the bar, his shoulders slumping, his eyes tightly shut.
I stand in the foyer watching him, my heart breaking, "Are you okay?" I whisper.
His head shoots up as he glares at me. "My father was a cruel, controlling bastard!" he shouts at me.
I try to control the shudder that rips through my body. Suddenly he turns, and throws the glass he is holding against the far wall, causing it to shatter into a million pieces. I swallow the gasp that tries to escape from my throat as the noise echoes throughout the room.
Edward is the most controlled man I have ever met. Nothing upsets him. He prides himself on being in control of both his life and his emotions. His momentary loss of control shocks me.
Like every controlled person I know, he has a life plan. The only thing about that was the plan was devised by his father, Carlisle. Not that this isn't the path Edward would have chosen for himself. However, Carlisle had encouraged Edward to do things he may not have otherwise considered.
I am not who Edward would have chosen for himself, this is obvious. We have a contract, and not the kind they hand you at the ceremony.
You see, Edward and I aren't just married- we have a "secret contract" that spells out what our relationship is. Not a pre-nup in the traditional sense, we also have one of those; Carlisle had insisted on it. Our contract spells out what is expected of us, or rather me, in both public and private situations. Ours is a marriage of convenience, a means to an end. A way to make Edward's father give him what he has worked so hard for.
Why did Iagree to this? Simple, I love him. I think I fell in love with him the first time I saw him, but for seven years, we have lived a lie.
Now that his father is gone, Edward will have his life back to live the way he sees fit. I am not sure what that means for us.
That is a lie.
I know exactly what it means for us, and I am terrified.
Edward's bedroom door slams shut, breaking me from my thoughts. I shake my head to clear my memories, and grab the broom to clean up the glass. I finish sweeping up the remnants of the shattered glass when I hear his door open and I glance up at him. He has changed out of his suit and into a pair of faded jeans and a black tee shirt, his comfort clothes.
He runs his hand through his consistently messy hair. "I'm sorry," he mutters as he looks at the floor.
I smile softly at him. "Don't worry about it, you're entitled."
He slumps down on to the couch, with his head in his hands. I don't know what to say to him, or how to comfort him, I don't even know if he wants me to comfort him. I decide to give him some space, and busy myself making a pot of coffee in the kitchen. I am so preoccupied that I don't notice him standing in the doorway.
"I'm going to go check on Mom," he says, not noticing that he startled me as he slips on his coat. "I'm not sure how long I'll be. Don't worry about dinner; I'll pick up something on my way back. I'll call you when I leave Mom's."
I nod and give him a small smile. I wait until I hear the door shut, and the tears I have been holding inside fall down my face.
I collapse on the couch, grabbing his suit jacket that he left thrown over the arm of the chair, and wrap myself in his scent.
My tears are not for his father, I hate the man. But I love his son. I have loved Edward for as long as I can remember.
His sister, Alice, became my best friend when I moved to Forks, Washington, the summer I turned sixteen. Iloved the Cullens, even his father at the time.
They took me under their wing when I moved from Phoenix to live with my dad, Charlie, after my mother had been killed in a car accident. My poor father had no clue how to deal with a teenage girl, especially one who had just lost her mother and been transplanted to a new town, where everything was different. Charlie was eternally grateful for Alice and her mom, Esme.
Edward was twenty three, and had just graduated from Harvard Medical School, after fast tracking through college and med school. He was a genius. He had graduated from high school at sixteen and college just three years later.
His family was throwing him a party to celebrate his graduation, and Alice invited me.
Alice was so different from Edward, who was so reserved, and for lack of a better word, uptight. Alice was this tiny little bundle of excitement, with short black hair that went everywhere, but it worked on her. On my first day of school, she had literally bounced up to me, taken me by the hand, and declared herself my "best friend." I think we clicked because we were so opposite. Where she was energetic yet graceful, I was shy and clumsy. I'd loved her from the first day I'd met her. Charlie worked such crazy hours, I practically lived at the Cullen's.
Alice and Edward also had an older brother. Emmett was thirty, and personal trainer to the "stars" in Hollywood. He was a mountain of a man, well over six feet, and built like Mr. Universe. He had the cutest dimples when he smiled; that made him look like a little boy. Emmett came home at least once a month, so I had gotten to know him quite well. He was like the big brother I'd always wanted, but never had.
Edward had been away at college when Ihad first met Alice. The Cullens had flown to see him several times, but Edward had never come home. Alice said it was because he wanted to finish school as soon as possible, and was so devoted to his studies that he never stopped. There was always something unsaid about Edward. Alice talked to him constantly, and loved him deeply. They had a strong connection, but Ialways felt there was something Alice wasn't saying.
Dr. Carlisle Cullen was the head of Cullen Medical and Pharmaceutical Corporation, a world wide medical research company that had offices and subsidiaries all over the world. He worked incredible hours and traveled constantly, but he always seemed to put his family first. At least that is what I'd thought, before I saw him for the monster he really was.
The night of Edward's party, Alice has been treating me like a life-sized "Barbie." She painted and polished me for hours. My hair was curled, and it flowed down my back. Alice always said she'd wanted long hair, but didn't have the control needed to grow it out, so she loved to play with mine. She dressed me in a short black dress that showed way too much skin for my comfort, but Alice insisted it was perfect. I knew not to argue with Alice, because she would always win, and when she turned me toward the mirror, I had to admit, I looked good.
The party was in full swing when we decided to make our way downstairs. Most of the guests were friends of Dr. and Mrs. Cullen, with a few of Edward's closest friends from high school, and a few who had flown in from Harvard.
Emmett had arrived the day before with his girlfriend, Rosalie Hale, the type of woman that destroyed any self esteem you may have. Tall, with a body to die for, and long silky blond hair-she was the picture of perfect womanhood. You could tell Emmett was in love, just from the look on his face when he stared at her. I sighed to myself as I watched them, wondering if any man would ever look me like that.
The Cullen house, or rather mansion, sat far off the beaten path. It sat in the middle of 20 acres of tall Leland Cypress trees, right on the edge of a river. It had breath taking views from every window. The house looked like it had escaped from the pages of an old novel, or movie set. It was a three story Victorian; the porch wrapped all the way around the house, and the entire back of the house was floor to ceiling windows. Esme was an interior decorator and her home showed it. It was a showplace, but it also felt like a home, with pictures of her family in every room.
Ihad seen pictures of Edward from the time he was a little boy. He was a beautiful combination of both Carlisle and Esme. Messy bronze colored hair and amazing green eyes had come straight from Esme, while his perfect jaw line had come from Carlisle. He had a killer smile in almost all the pictures, but there were some candid shots of him scattered throughout the house, when he hadn't realized his picture was being taken. He had a serious look on his face, and always had a book in his hand. Alice had told me that he was Carlisle's prodigy child, who was following in Carlisle's footsteps with a career path in medicine. It became apparent to me that Carlisle had big plans for Edward's future.
Alice's mood would always darken a little when she talked of Carlisle's plans for Edward. Ihad once asked if Carlisle's plans were also Edward's plans, and she had said, "Of course," but I had sensed she was hiding something. I hadn't questioned her, because I hadfigured it wasn't my business, but I had to admit, it had made me wonder.
As Alice and I entered the family room the night of the party, I felt very out of place. All of the movers and shakers were present, and I felt like a fish out of water. I had heard Alice squeal as she flew into the room. I glanced up just in time to see her leap into the arms of the most beautiful man I had ever seen. Iknew instantly it was Edward by his hair, and his pictures hadn't done him justice. He wasn't as tall as Emmett, but every bit of six feet, two or three inches. He was dressed in a tux that showed off his perfect body; broad shoulders that tapered down to his flat waist. His hair was everywhere, a messy, golden bronze color that is hard to describe. As he hugged Alice, he spun her around in his arms. His smile was mesmerizing, it lit up his whole face, and you could see the love that shined through his eyes as he looked at his baby sister.
Alice pulled Edward by his arm toward me.
"Edward, this is Bella, my best friend in the whole world...after you of course. Bella this is my favorite brother, Edward-but don't tell Emmett," she gushed.
Edward took my hand in both of his and shook it lightly, "Bella, a beautiful name for a beautiful girl. It is very nice to finally meet you, Alice has told me so much about you that I feel l know you already." I felt my face turn several shades of red.
"Hi, Edward," was all I managed to choke out.
He laughed the most lyrical laugh I had ever heard. I felt my entire body shiver, and it was at that exact second that I knew I could very easily fall in love with Edward Cullen.
I spent the entire party watching him. It was hard to believe that he was only twenty-three; he carried himself with so much self confidence and grace. Icould see why Carlisle was so proud. The prodigal son returns, and all that nonsense. Edward put everyone in his presence at ease, even a silly seventeen-year-old girl who did nothing but stand in the corner all evening, gawking at him.
"Bella...Bella, are you okay?," I hear Edward say.
I open my eyes to see his concerned face in front of me. I sit up on the couch causing Edward's jacket to fall to the floor. I feel my face flush, embarrassed to be so lost in my thoughts that I didn't hear the door open when he'd returned, but silently giving thanks that my tears had stopped.
I look at Edward. "How is your Mom?" I ask quietly.
He stands up and runs his fingers through his hair while taking a deep breath."She's okay, all things considered. She is handling everything just like she always does, trying to comfort everyone else, hiding how much she is hurting. She loved him," he shakes his head. "She was the one person he treated right. I never truly believed he had a heart, except when it came to Mom, he truly did love her."
I pick up Edward's jacket from the floor as I stand, folding it carefully and placing it on the chair beside him.
"You could have stayed with her. It's where you should be," I tell him.
He turns to walk into the kitchen, and I follow.
I notice several bags on the island.
He sighs deeply, "Emmett and Rosalie are staying for a while, and Alice is there. There really was no reason for me to stay. Mom sent food...there is so much food." He glances at me, "Why do people always bring food after funerals? I never understood that. Who can eat...?"
He pauses, then walks out of the room shaking his head.
I start opening bags, and am amazed at the amount of food Esme sent home with Edward. There is enough food to feed us for weeks; platters of chicken, roast beef, vegetables,and every cheese imaginable. I sigh, knowing I will have to make room in the refrigerator.
I turn to Edward, who is standing, gazing out of the balcony doors at the pouring rain, "Are you hungry? I could fix..." He turns around and shakes his head no, cutting off my words. I just nod and continue putting the food away.
After I finish cleaning up the kitchen, I walk into the living room. Edward is bent over his desk, going through papers, and I feel my heart clench.
Not yet, not yet, please God not yet, is all that runs through my head.
I am not ready to let go of my husband. I am frozen in place as he turns his head to look at me. He takes a deep breath, and looks right into my eyes.
"We have to talk." is all he says, and I feel my world implode, because my world as I know it is about to end.
So tell me what you thing! Next chapter explains how they meet and background of these two.