A/N: Bella finds a letter one day, a letter written over fifty years ago. She decides to find the person it was written to. Will she accomplish this?
I wrote this story for the Fics4Nashville Flood Relief Program which helped raised money for the flooding in Nashville which happened a couple months ago.
Thanks to Katmom for betaing this story for me... You should go check out her story that she wrote for Fics4Nashville, Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda its awesome!
Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight
A Long Lost Letter
Endless rows of books surrounded me as I walked to the far corner of the school's library. Compared to my old school's library in Phoenix, Forks High School's library was the size of a lunch box. I found the part of the library where poetry books were kept and looked at the titles. When I found a collection of Robert Frost poems I picked it up.
"Hey, Bella," Mike Newton said.
I whirled around suddenly, causing the book to fall from my hand and land on my foot. I winced in pain. "Hi, Mike."
He looked down at my foot. "Are you okay?"
"My shoe prevented any real damage from being done."
I began to bend down to pick up the book when Mike got it for me. "Here," he said handing it to me.
I took it and placed it between my left arm and body. "Thanks."
I turned around to return to my seat when Mike asked "Is this yours?"
I turned back to him and found that he was holding a folded piece of paper. "Where did that come from?"
"It was on the floor where the book landed," he answered.
I reached out, grabbing it from his hand. Upon closer inspection the paper was brown on the edges and there was a bit of yellowing to it. After saying goodbye to Mike, who had a frown at our parting, I sat at the closest empty table and carefully unfolded it, letting my eyes read over the words on the page.
223 Maple Dr.
Forks, WA 98331
June 3, 1954
Being here in Chicago without you is like a moonless night. I miss you, my darling girl. It seems like years since I last saw you even though it's only been a few days. I know it may sound crazy but I keep thinking of our last night together and how we just sat on our rock staring at the buildings below and dreaming of what our life together could be like. We talked about you becoming a social studies teacher and my becoming a renowned attorney before getting married and starting a family together. When I come back to you, I swear we will do all the things that we talked about.
I felt my eyes tear up at the letter; it was so bittersweet. I flipped through the book to see if there were any other letters but found no others. I placed the letter back in the book and headed to the circulation desk where the school's librarian, Ms. Grady, was standing. I was almost there when my foot caught in the rug. Warm, strong hands were instantly at my waist, keeping me from falling. I looked up to see the green eyes belonging to none other than Edward Cullen, the boy I've had a crush on since the moment I had met him. I blushed at the sight of him.
"Bella?" he asked, worry lacing his voice.
I smiled at him. "I'm fine. Thank you, Edward. That could have been far worse if you hadn't been here."
The letter had fallen from the book so Edward bent down, grabbed it, and handed it to me; his fingers brushing passed mine as he did so. Tingles shot through my entire arm, like it was on fire. I studied my hand and arm for a moment before glancing up. I saw that Edward was looking at his hand with a confused expression on his face. He caught me looking at him and quickly removed it from his sight. "I guess I'll see you in English."
I nodded. He walked in the opposite direction as I continued to the circulation desk to check the book out.
Reaching English, I slid in my usual seat in the middle of class. The chair next to me was unoccupied but only for a moment. The chair scraped across the linoleum floor and I looked up to see Edward getting his notebook from his gray messenger bag. He placed it in front of him and grinned upon seeing me. My breath hitched at his beautiful smile as it always did when I saw it. "Hi," he said softly.
I gave him a small smile as I said "Hey" back at him. I swore his got bigger.
He gestured to the book of Robert Frost poems I had just placed next to my notebook. "So, Robert Frost…"
"Yes, I'm using his poem 'The Road Not Taken' for our paper."
"Ms. Swan, Mr. Cullen, do either of you wish to share what you are discussing with the rest of the class?" Mr. Berty asked from the front of the class.
"No, Mr. Berty," I answered as I let my hair hide my reddened face.
I heard a soft chuckle from Edward's direction as our teacher began the day's lesson.
As the class continued my mind drifted back to the letter, filled with questions.
Did Edward ever find his way back to Lizzie?
Did they get married and start a family?
How was it that the letter ended up in the book; a book in the school's library?
Were they still alive?
Would they have stayed in Washington?
From the address I knew that Elizabeth Goodall had lived in Forks. It was possible that there were records concerning her and her family around. Where would they have stored those records though? Then it hit me- the Forks Historical Society! They had all kinds of information concerning the town dating back to when it was formed in 1945.
I headed to my truck that afternoon hoping that I could jump in and head to the historical society. My best friend Alice was leaning on the driver's side door waiting for me when I arrived. Her spiky black hair moved slightly as she stood up straight.
"So, I saw you and Edward talking earlier in class," she stated cheerfully.
I met her the first day of school last September. I had recently moved to Forks from Phoenix to spend some time with my father, Charlie, before college. The same day I met Alice, I had first seen Edward as well. I can still remember the way time stopped when he sat beside me in English. I had never seen anyone more handsome than him. He had emerald green eyes, a chiseled jaw line, and untidy bronze colored hair.
I shrugged but knew I couldn't hold the smile that lit my face at the mere thought of Edward. "He said hi to me and I responded in kind."
Alice smiled knowingly. "My brother likes you, you know."
Alice was Edward's adopted sister. Alice was left in an orphanage and Edward's mother, Esme's friend Carmen, a social worker who worked with the children at the orphanage, had told her all about a six year old girl with a vibrant personality. Esme met Alice and was instantly charmed by her. Within a month, Alice had officially become a Cullen.
"Alice, how can he like me? I'm nothing compared to girls like Jessica or Lauren."
"Bella, you're better than those two sluts could ever hope to be," Alice said firmly. It was a known fact that Jessica and Lauren had slept with half the boys at our school. Lauren even tried to go after Alice's boyfriend, Jasper, before Alice had a few choice words with her. She never revealed what was said, but after the talk Lauren stayed far away from Jasper. She'd even turn in the opposite direction when she saw him coming.
I sighed not wanting to revive the "you don't see yourself clearly" argument that was about to ensue.
Alice must have heard my sigh. "Bella, you will have to learn to trust me on this one of these days."
"Sure, Alice. When Edward shows up at my doorstep asking me for a date you'll be the first person I call," I told her sarcastically.
She just rolled her eyes. "I see Jasper. I'll talk to you later." She kissed my cheek and ran to where Jasper was waiting by Edward's silver Volvo. I gave Jasper a small wave which he returned and jumped into my truck. I turned it on and put it into gear before heading out of the parking lot. I drove to the historical society. It was based in the center of town in an old abandoned barn like structure. I walked up to the front door and tried it, only to find it locked. There were windows next to it and I saw that there were no lights on when I peered inside. The hours were posted on the other side of the front door.
Tuesday thru Friday 9am-5pm
"Great, I had to come the one day they were closed," I muttered softly to myself.
The next afternoon I returned to the historical society to find it open. I walked inside and found cases full of black and white photographs. I started with the case closest to me. There was a picture of the old town hall before it was rebuilt with a jovial bald man standing in front of the building, smiling into the camera. Another showed the entire police force in 1950. It consisted of ten officers. There had to be at least twenty officers now, including my father, the Police Chief.
Mrs. Stanley cleared her throat and I smiled at her. She was standing at the end of the cases in black slacks and a lavender shirt, looking at me. Her curly brown hair was pulled back into a twist.
"Good afternoon, Mrs. Stanley."
"Bella, what can I do for you?"
I took out the letter and handed it to her as I answered. "I wanted to know if you had some information on someone."
She unfolded it and read it, smiling at its content. "Are you looking to find the Elizabeth from this letter?"
I nodded. "Yes, I was thinking that she would like to have the letter back. Plus I'm curious to know if she and her Edward ever got married."
"We do have records of persons who lived in town but if she moved it'll be a bit more difficult to track her down."
"I'll take whatever you can give me," I told her.
"Okay, follow me," she said, heading upstairs.
I followed her to a small table holding a large dust covered book. Mrs. Stanley put on a latex glove an opened the book.
"Why put on the glove?" I asked curiously.
"It's so my skin's natural oils doesn't damage the already fragile paper. These pages are over fifty years old and we are trying to preserve them by preventing any more damage," she answered promptly.
She gently turned a few pages and motioned for me to join her. "Come look."
I stepped next to her and looked at where her finger was pointing.
Mr. and Mrs. William Goodall
223 Maple Drive.
1 daughter, Elizabeth Ann
I frowned. "That doesn't tell me much more than I already know."
Mrs. Stanley smiled sympathetically. "I can make a few calls for you tomorrow morning and see if I can get anything else."
"Thank you. I'll give you my cell number. If you find anything, please call me."
She nodded. "I will."
I tore a piece of paper from my notebook and wrote my number on it, handing it to her.
She gave me the letter. "Take care, Bella."
"Thanks again," I told her as I headed downstairs and out to my truck.
Throughout the next morning I checked my phone to see if I had any messages. Each time I looked though, there were none.
"Got a hot date, Bella?" Jessica asked from her seat behind me when we were in trigonometry.
"No, why do you ask?"
"You keep looking at your phone like you're waiting for someone to call," she answered.
"I went to see your mom yesterday and am waiting to see if she'll call with an answer to the question I had."
"Oh, she mentioned she saw you."
She shrugged nonchalantly. "You're the Chief's daughter after all." She then stood up and headed towards where Mike sat.
I've heard that line a thousand times before. Being the Chief's daughter meant that I was a topic of gossip. It had been six months since I moved to Forks; one would think that the gossip would have died down.
"Is she bothering you?" Alice asked, gracefully maneuvering into the chair next to mine.
I shook my head. "No more than usual."
My cell phone began ringing when I arrived home that afternoon.
I hit the "send" button and said "Hello?"
"Bella, this is Mrs. Stanley."
"Did you find something?" I immediately asked. I knew I should have inquired after how she was but I was anxious to know what she had found.
"Yes. I talked to a friend at the town hall and she was able to find a marriage certificate for Elizabeth Goodall. She married an Edward Masen in 1958. He also found that they lived in Forks until 1985 when they moved to Port Angeles. I called over to their town hall and found their address. Unfortunately Edward Masen passed away a year ago, but Elizabeth still lives in Port Angeles. "
I was amazed at the wealth of information she provided. "I can't believe you found all that in one morning!"
I knew she was smiling as she told me, "It's all about who you know."
"You're welcome, dear."
I hung up the phone and wrote down all the information Mrs. Stanley had just given to me, including the address. Port Angeles wasn't far. I could drive up there Saturday and meet Elizabeth. I knew my father probably wouldn't mind; he usually went fishing anyway.
When he came home that night I was making enchiladas.
"Hey Bells, smells good." He smiled appreciatively.
"Hi Dad, how was your day?"
"Pretty slow, how was yours?"
"Mine was good."
He was in a good mood so I took the opportunity to ask "Um, Dad would you mind if I drove to Port Angeles Saturday?"
He shrugged. "I guess it's okay. I was going to go fishing with some of the guys from the station anyway."
I grinned. "Thanks, Dad."
"Why do you want to go?"
I didn't know if he'd understand my want to meet someone on the basis of a letter so lying was probably the better choice. "Just to do some shopping, maybe go see a movie."
"Just be sure to be home before it gets too late."
"I will be home as early as I can," I promised him.
On Friday I printed out directions using MapQuest. It didn't seem too difficult to get to the address I was given. Just to be safe, I left ten minutes earlier then I originally planned. I carefully placed the letter in my weekend bag along with my license and wallet. It was a tan leather hobo bag that Alice had given me for Christmas.
A little while later I parked outside of a two story house, similar to my father's, with a porch out front. I cut my truck's engine, grabbing my bag and keys. I walked up to the cream colored door and rang the bell. The door opened a couple minutes later and I stood agape at who stood there.
His eyes were wide and his mouth hung open, just as mine was. "Bella? What are you doing here?"
I closed my mouth but it felt dry. I tried to speak but nothing came out. He just stood there waiting for my response. It was several minutes before I found my voice.
"I came to see if I could speak to Mrs. Elizabeth Masen," I told him, once my voice had returned.
He seemed even more flabbergasted than when he first opened the door. "Why would you want to speak to my grandmother?"
"Well, I found this letter in the Robert Frost poetry book you saw on my desk Monday…"I produced the letter and handed it to him, "and I wanted to return it."
Edward took the letter, his shock fading as he read it.
A gust of wind ran past me, making me shiver. "May I come in?" I asked, not wanting to freeze in the early March weather.
He looked up, noticing me shiver. "Oh, sorry, please come in," he answered, moving aside so I could enter the house.
"Here, let me take your coat," he suggested. I shrugged out of it and it fell into his hands. Edward then placed the coat on the coat rack by the door.
"That color looks nice on you," he murmured softly, giving me the letter.
I was wearing a blue mock turtleneck and faded blue jeans. I blushed as I told him "Thanks."
"Edward, who was at the door?" a feminine voice called from another room.
"Edward, I…" I started.
"Come, Bella," he said simply, not allowing me to finish my sentence.
I followed him into a den with pinkish walls. A white couch sat up against the wall to my left. There were matching chairs placed on either side of it. A woman, who I took to be Elizabeth Masen, sat in the chair on the farther end of the room. She had a friendly, open face and specks of auburn littered throughout her gray hair. Her eyes were emerald green, just like Edward's.
Edward took the opportunity to introduce us before anything could be said. "Gran, this is a friend from school, Bella Swan. Bella, this is my grandmother, Elizabeth Masen."
"Nice to meet you, dear," Elizabeth stated, smiling.
I grinned back. "It's nice to meet you, too."
"Please sit," Elizabeth added. "Edward, be a gentleman and ask the girl if she wants something to drink."
He flushed at her words. "Would you like something to drink, Bella?"
"A coke please, if you have it," I answered, sitting on the couch.
He then turned to Elizabeth and asked "Gran?"
"I'm good," she told him.
Edward left the room and returned a few minutes later with two glasses and handed one to me before taking the other and sitting in the chair opposite his grandmother.
I took a sip. "Thanks."
He gave me a slight nod in acknowledgement.
"So, Bella, is that short for Isabella?" Elizabeth asked.
She scrunched up her face. "Ma'am is what a stranger calls me and you are no stranger. You can call me Lizzie. No one has called me that in some time." There was a hint of sadness in her voice as she spoke.
"What brings you to Port Angeles?" Lizzie asked next.
"A letter," I answered, giving it to her.
She opened it and tears formed in her eyes as she read it.
Edward stood. "Gran, are you all right?"
Lizzie waved her hand telling him to sit down. "I'm fine. This is a letter from your grandfather. I thought I had lost it. It was the first one he wrote when he moved with his parents to Chicago."
I fished a tissue out of my bag and handed it to her. She smiled appreciatively before dabbing her eyes. I peered at Edward from the corner of my eye and saw his eyes glancing between me and his grandmother.
"We were sixteen," she continued. "And his father was transferred to a prestigious law firm in the city. We kept in touch through letters for the rest of high school and when college loomed, we attended the same school."
"You were married in college," I incited.
"Yes, and three years later we had Esme."
"That seems young to get married," I said.
"Back then, people were married young, not like nowadays," Lizzie replied. "Where did you find this letter?" she added.
"In an old copy of Robert Frost poems at the school's library."
"His poem 'The Road Not Taken' is my favorite. I must have put it in there."
"That's my favorite poem as well. I'm using it for a class assignment," I commented.
She smiled. "Esme must have had the book and donated it to the library. She does that every so often."
"I was wondering how it got in the library!"
Lizzie looked past me to her grandson. "Edward, you've been quiet."
I grinned at him and he grinned back. "He's always quiet."
Lizzie shook her head. "I can never get him to shut up when he visits."
I stared at Edward and he crimsoned. "Really?"
Her eyes sparkled as she continued speaking. "He's usually talking about a certain young woman who has caught his fancy. He's quite besotted by her."
My stomach dropped. Edward was besotted by someone? Was she one of the girls who went to school? Could it be Jessica or Lauren? I didn't want to reveal what I was thinking so all I said was, "Oh?"
"Gran," Edward groaned.
"Now, Edward, I've been watching you this entire time. Your eyes haven't left Bella once except for when you were in the kitchen."
She couldn't possibly mean me. I'm sure Alice would talk about me because we are best friends but Edward? He had his face in his hands when I glanced at him.
Elizabeth's eyes danced as she watched us. "Don't be embarrassed, Edward. If it helps, she likes you too. I could tell the minute I first saw you two together."
It was my turn to blush.
"Gran, you meddle too much," Edward told her, his face looking amused by my blush despite the situation.
"What fun is it to be a grandmother if you can't meddle in your grandchildren's lives? She's a sweet girl, Edward, what are you waiting for?"
He looked at his watch. "It's getting late; we should probably start back to Forks." He took my empty glass and his, leaving the room. I looked at my own watch, discovering it was already five o'clock. "I guess we better," I agreed unhappily. I was enjoying talking to Lizzie and didn't want to go.
When he returned he had two coats in his hand; one was mine, the other was probably his. I went to him and he helped me with my coat.
"Goodbye," I said.
"Come back and visit anytime." Lizzie was trying to appear happy but failing, as she spoke.
"I will," I told her.
Edward kissed Lizzie's cheek. "See you soon, Gran."
She squeezed his hand gently and smiled at me. "I look forward to seeing you both again."
I waited until Edward walked me to my car to speak. "That was rude to leave quickly like that."
He grinned apologetically. "I'm sorry, but I didn't know what else to say. Plus, it really is getting late."
I didn't know what else to say so I said "Well, goodnight, Edward."
He started walking away and I opened my door.
"Bella," Edward called.
I twisted around to see him coming back towards me. "Yes?" I inquired.
"I was wondering if you'd like to go out to dinner at La Bella Italia tomorrow night."
I gulped. "I…I'd like that," I answered.
He gave me his crooked smile. "Great! I'll see you tomorrow!"
He walked away again and I sat in my truck letting the day's events sink in. Who knew that a normal activity like getting a book from the library could lead to a great afternoon with a delightful woman and the boy I desperately liked. Alice would probably tell me not to think too much and just enjoy what happened.
I took out my cell phone and dialed her number. When she picked up I quickly said "Alice, remember when I told you that you'd be the first person I'd call when Edward asked me on a date? Well, this is that call."