A/N: There are lots of questions I want to address, but I feel like an ass when I take up half the page with an A/N. Luckily, MrsTheKing has made a thread for Idee Fixe on Twilighted. To my knowledge, it's not visited often, but I will be happy to post teasers, ideas, answers…whatever you guys want. (Link on profile)
I'm truly sorry for the wait but I had a cold, which turned into pneumonia, which landed me in the hospital, which put a damper on my writing.
Thanks to revrag, this chapter wouldn't exist without her input and to MojoPen and WhatsMyNomDePlume for pre-reading .
Edward was getting better. He knew it.
Deep in his bones, right in the pit of his stomach, he could feel it. All of his problems were melting away, like the snow that had recently blanketed the back yard.
What he didn't know, what he couldn't see, was that not unlike the melting ice, this run-off of his mind was also tinged with black. (Only instead of gravel and grit, this filth was born of something darker within himself.)
While on the outside (and even a little on the inside) life with Isabella was perfect, Edward had forgotten the fundamental rule. If there was one thing Doctor Emmett had tried to impress upon his young patient it was this:
"You have to do this for yourself, Edward. You have to want to overcome, you have to have the drive and the will and the strength. Your family and I will help you, but you must take the first step."
If Doctor Emmett could see Edward now (Well, if he saw him right now he would get an eyeful of white briefs, it was early yet) he would be able to predict exactly what would happen next. There was too much hope invested in a budding relationship, not enough faith in self and no trust in conventional treatments.
It was the classic recipe for disaster.
Add one pinch of self-doubt; throw in a little co-dependence, top with sudden withdrawal from fluvoxamine and viola! You've got the perfect watch-those-poor-kids-crumble crumble.
On this particular day, however, nothing was going to stand in Edward's way. He was about to embark on the most important moment of his young life. He was finally going to take Isabella on a date.
Over the past year, their time spent together had been limited to school hours and the occasional chaperoned trip to the multiplex in Port Angeles. While Edward appreciated every moment he spent with his beautiful angel, he couldn't wait to be alone with her. (It was rather counterproductive to quote Shakespeare to your girlfriend while her father was two rows back, snickering into his popcorn.)
When the sun began to peek through the trees on that fine Saturday morning, Edward was waiting for it; practically vibrating with excitement. As soon as he was sure he could get away with the noise, he raced to the bathroom and began to get ready. Isabella would arrive at 2:00, which meant he had only eight hours to prepare. There was a chance he wouldn't make it.
He showered as fast as he dared, being sure to wash everything in the right order, lest he have to start again. After toweling off and arranging all of his toiletries just so, he got to work on his hair. He had always hated the rat's nest that sat on top of his head. It was unruly, disorderly, disobedient. It was the one part of his body that he couldn't command, that went against his need for control. (Well, maybe not the only part, but he wasn't comfortably thinking about that other rebellion that seemed to be happening more and more.)
Twenty minutes, and two palm full's of Alice's hair gel later, his bronze locks were plastered down, parted on the left side, the way Esme always told him made him look like a little gentleman. He stared at himself in the mirror and wondered what Isabella saw in him. He was grateful for whatever it was that drew her to him, but he just didn't see it. Although things between them had been wonderful, he often worried that he wouldn't always be enough for her. Shaking his head to rid himself of the destructive thoughts creeping in, he turned his back on the scared little boy in the looking glass and made his way downstairs.
His shiny, tasseled shoes clicked on the tile in the kitchen as he began preparing for the day ahead of him. He took comfort in the sharp, staccato noise and began to count. One, two, three…one, two, three…one, two, three. He felt his heartbeat slow, evening out, its measured rhythm doing even more to calm his frayed nerves. Everything had to be perfect. For just a moment he considered that maybe he should have taken one of his little white pills this morning, but he quickly pushed that thought aside. He wanted, no he needed, to be able to do this on his own. He could be whole for Isabella; he could be a real boy.
Several hours later, Isabella stood in the middle of the most beautiful meadow she had ever seen. The wind tousled her hair, which tickled her nose, which brightened her already mega watt smile. This was perfect. There were wildflowers everywhere, their cloying scent thick in the back of her throat. If she hadn't already known that she was head-over-heels in love with Edward, this would have been the moment it hit her. This was perfection.
She took a moment to watch as he sat down the heavy bag he had been carrying all the way from the Cullen's house. He looked especially handsome today, and she had trouble keeping her wandering eyes from wondering. (What would he look like without that button up shirt on?) She heaved a small sigh at the lascivious thoughts running through her mind before asking if he needed her help. Of course, being the gentleman that he was, he wouldn't hear of it. Isabella resigned herself to watching the way his body moved as he began to unpack their supplies.
Edward began by pulling a large, blue tarp out of the bag on the ground. He carefully spread it out on top of the thick grass, making sure to kick any offending rocks out of the way first. Once the tarp was in the correct spot (He made several minor adjustments, but as far as Isabella could tell, he hadn't really moved it much at all) he then laid a large blanket over top of it. Isabella began walking toward him, glad there was finally somewhere to sit. She didn't make it far before she noticed the look of distress on Edward's face.
He smiled apologetically before telling her there were just a few more things he needed to fix before they were ready to begin. His hands went back into the bag, and he brought out a silver solar blanket that he spread on the ground beside their pallet. (You never know, he said, what might happen; it's better to be prepared) On top of the solar blanket he arranged a small transistor weather radio, a flashlight that could be hand-cranked if the batteries were to run out, two solar flares he had absconded from Carlise's emergency road kit, and a small, portable fire extinguisher. (Just in case) Isabella wanted to be supportive, but she couldn't resist teasing him. After all, if you squinted hard enough, you could see the umbrella on Esme's patio furniture through the trees. (Edward reasoned that this did not mean that help would necessarily get to them on time, many things could go wrong.)
When Isabella was finally allowed to be seated, Edward gave her a tentative kiss on the back of her hand before he began arranging the lunch he had brought. Isabella just stared at him in shock. He had never, ever kissed any part of her before. (Something about microbes, she wasn't really paying attention) Edward merely went about his business as if nothing had happened.
With enough food to last if they really were to become lost spread out before them, (Nothing made with mayonnaise though, E-Coli was a bitch) the two young lovers settled in for a day of freedom and romance.
After the mess from lunch had been cleaned up and Edward had properly disposed of all trash into the designated receptacles he had brought along, he settled down on the blanket, arms under his head. He knew what he wanted to do next, the whole reason he had wanted to bring Isabella to this meadow, but now that the time had come, his malfunctioning neurons were trying to talk him out of it.
He thought about everything that could go wrong. (What if he couldn't deal with the thought of all that bacteria, what if his breath was bad, what if his recently persistent problem popped up again?) Edward had almost talked himself out of doing the one thing he had been dreaming of for over a year, when a soft noise of contentment pulled him out of his growing anxiety. He looked over at Isabella stretched out in the sun, a small smile on her face, her eyes closed, and he knew he could do it.
He moved in closer, only to pull away and spray a little Binaca into his mouth before sliding up next to his angel again. Isabella's eyes slowly opened, heavy with the effects of warm sun and a full belly. He held her gaze for a moment before reaching out to cup her cheek in his hand. "I just want to try one thing," he said.
Isabella knew what was coming and she couldn't have been more thrilled. Her heart began to race; sweat popping out around her hairline and on her palms. She wanted to wipe them off on the blanket, but she was afraid to make any movement at all. She knew that any little thing she did could startle her sweet boy and she most certainly could not bear it if he were to stop.
Ever so slowly, Edward moved his lips towards Isabella's and with a brush so light she almost thought it her imagination; he touched his mouth to hers.
Suddenly, microbes didn't matter, anxiety disappeared and the only thing in the world worth knowing was that nothing had ever felt like this before.
A/N 2: JeNnN has been nominated for a Hidden Star Award for her wonderful Idee Fixe banners. Please vote for her. thehiddenstarawards(dot)blogspot(dot)com
I was nominated also, and although don't really know how I feel about that, I appreciate those who nominated me. There are lots of wonderful stories nominated in all of the categories, so please go and vote for your favorite.
One more thing to address: Some of you have been asking me about how Edward could just stop therapy and medication at his young age. Well, technically, unless he was court ordered into therapy, the only thing to keep him from quitting would be his parents. And in this case, they are being pushovers. With the meds, yes, it's dangerous for him to stop them, especially without anyone but Alice knowing that he isn't taking them regularly, but it's important for the story that he begins to feel a little invincible, which wouldn't happen if he were relying on the meds. And, finally, the medication Edward has been prescribed is an SSRI. (Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitor)
See, if people used the Twilighted thread, those who don't care wouldn't have to wade through my words. Maybe I will see some of you there.