Disclaimer: The world in which I play doesn't belong to me. I do, however, have a raging case of OCD.
A/N: Umm…this is my first story, though I have been a reader for a long time. It will probably be short, and I really have no idea what I am doing. Be gentle. (That is, if anyone is actually reading this)
Oh, and I have no beta, so….yeah. Although, the run-on sentences and odd structure are on purpose, it's just the way my mind works.
"One, two, three."
"One, two, three."
"One, two, three."
Edward Cullen had been standing in his living room, trying to make his way out the door, for the last fifteen minutes. He was supposed to meet his adopted sister at the diner before going to his doctor's appointment. Alice only had an hour long lunch break, and he was wasting precious time performing his rituals.
He couldn't stop.
If he didn't count, if he couldn't be sure that the stove was off, that the coffee maker had been unplugged, if everything didn't add up, something terrible would happen. He knew that. He knew that his sister would have a terrible accident, or the basement would suddenly flood, or his dog would run away.
So he would count.
And he would check, and re-check, and check again.
And thirty minutes after he had begun, he would call Alice and tell her he wouldn't make it. She would tell him it was okay. She would say she understood and that they could always have lunch tomorrow.
And he would hate himself for standing her up.
Then, tomorrow, he would do it all again.
When Edward was eight years old, his parents were killed in a house fire.
There was nothing that could be done.
He stood on the front lawn, in his Transformers pajamas (the kind with the feet), and watched as the only home he had ever known and the only people he had ever loved burned to the ground.
Ms. Thompson, the next door neighbor, who always smelled like soup, kept one fat arm around his shoulders and one large, sweaty hand on top of his head and said things like, "It will all be okay," and, "Don't worry Edward, it's alright."
But he knew better. It wasn't okay, and it would never be alright again.
He was alone.
His parents were dead, and if he had had the capacity to think logically about the tragic accident, he would have realized that he was lucky to be alive. But that's not the way Edward saw it.
No, his synapses fired and the message was sent bouncing around his brain that he had not quite done enough. He had failed his family.
He had run out of the house when the smoke alarm sounded. He had made his way over to Ms. Thompson's and banged on the door until he felt the front porch tremble with the weight of her as she headed down the front hall.
In a calm voice, he had informed his neighbor that his house was on fire. And then, he waited.
He waited among the peonies in his mother's garden for the firemen to come. He waited for his parents to appear, perhaps a little worse for wear, with black soot smeared across their faces and their clothing. (That's what always happened in the movies.)
He waited and waited and waited.
And in those tense moments, he began to realize that maybe he could have prevented all of this.
If he had just made sure that all of the appliances were shut off (His mother was very flighty, and possibly had forgotten), or if he had thought to double check that his father's cigar had gone out (They were often left smoldering in the ashtray Edward made in art class, when all the other kids were making vases and candy dishes.), if he had just done something other than run as fast as he could, maybe he wouldn't be standing in the flowerbeds with his cow of a neighbor.
He hated Ms. Thompson.
When Edward was nine, he was adopted.
He had spent the past year in a group home (No one let him make ashtrays out of clay, or even vases or candy dishes.) with other "special children."
He didn't think he was special, but who was he to argue? Or even argue with for that matter. He was largely ignored. If he hadn't been looked over, if he hadn't blended in so well with the pale white walls and smoky black shadows, perhaps someone would have realized what was happening.
It had started innocently enough. Just a quick trip to the kitchen to cast an eye on the knobs of the stove…off…then a trip around the house to test every light switch…off, off, off.
With the help of a small step ladder (The house mother was very short, indeed) he tested smoke alarms in the dead of night.
And with the help of a boy named Patrick O'Connor, he learned to say Hail Mary and Our Father and pass the pretty blue beads of a borrowed rosary through his fingers. He prayed with more devotion than all of the Catholics in his sleepy little town, combined.
He prayed for the other "special children" and he prayed for the elfin house mother, and he prayed for every person he could possibly think of. Even Ms. Thompson. He prayed for safety, and he prayed for souls, and he prayed that no harm would come to anyone on his behalf.
After all, he had already caused the death of his parents. It wouldn't do to have more blood on his hands. (He was already washing them twelve times a day at this point; any more would just be weird.)
If he forgot a name in his nightly benediction, well, he would just start over from the beginning. Between the checking, and the counting, and the washing, and the praying, he had little time for anything else.
So, it came as no surprise that he was unaware of the fact that he was about to have a new family. (Not that he would have been happy about it; he would have been too frightened for their lives.)
It came as quite a shock when a tall man with blonde hair and kind eyes arrived at the foot of Edward's small bed. He patiently waited for the little boy to finish his prayers (The man had no way of knowing that this particular ritual could go on for hours).
Just as the litany reached its crescendo, the man's throat began to tickle, and a tiny cough escaped his lips. The little boy froze.
He would have to start again.
Before the first words of supplication could be spoken aloud, the house mother joined the tall man in Edward's room. She told the boy that Doctor Cullen was here to visit. That Doctor Cullen wanted to meet him, to talk to him, to possibly take him to a new house to live. Doctor Cullen, the house mother said, had apparently been visiting for weeks, looking for a child who needed a family, for he had a family that needed a child.
Edward had never noticed him.
Now that he had noticed, he wasn't sure what to do.
How could he tell this man (Doctor Cullen) that taking him home would mean certain death? So, Edward said nothing. He merely rubbed the little blue beads of his borrowed rosary (Hmm...Patrick would want those back he supposed) as he wondered who this man (Doctor Cullen) was and he wondered why he would want to adopt a murderer.
After a time, Doctor Cullen left, promising to return the next day with his wife. (Mrs. Doctor Cullen? Edward wondered.)
Doctor Cullen kept his promise the next day…and the next…and the next. And finally, after weeks of visits, (And no small feat on Edward's part to hide his rituals as best he could) Edward left the group home for "special children."
And, Doctor and Mrs. Doctor Cullen became Mom and Dad.
Main Entry: idée fixe
Inflected Form(s): plural idées fixes \same\
Etymology: French, literally, fixed idea
: an idea that dominates one's mind especially for a prolonged period : obsession