Heaven Help My Heart
Chapter 1: Prologue
A sideshot to my story, 'Little Angel of Forks', corresponding to LAF Ch20 and beyond.
My title is taken from the song from the musical 'Chess'.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Thank you to all my readers for not giving up on this story. I hope you enjoy the chapter:)
February 15, 2014:
Muskoka, Ontario: The Cullen Ranch
"I dunno why you aren't worried about leaving a newborn alone with Jake," I toss over my shoulder. Leech and Bella follow me into the kitchen, stopping to stomp off their boots on the mat.
"Jacob is perfectly safe, Smurfette. I wouldn't leave him alone with her if he weren't. Trust me, attacking him is not what she has in mind," Leech says softly. Bella passes him to speak with Esme and Carlisle about her granddaughters, who are drinking formula out of little glass bottles.
"I still think it's a ris-" I protest.
"Leah?" Edward stops and faces me, gentle as usual. Annoying vampire.
"They're mates. Let them be."
He might as well have struck me. I recoil, lost and alone. Always alone. Always the freak. Nobody special. Not worth loving. That's me.
Edward steps closer and draws me into a one-armed hug. "Give it time. Have faith."
"What if there isn't-" I choke. Damned mind-reading Leech.
"There will be. Don't give up."
Why, oh, why does he have to be so sincere? So kind? It ... hurts to hope. But if there's anybody who understands 'not giving up', it's Edward Cullen. Trouble is, he found his mate. Obviously, his God loves him.
But nobody loves me, except my mother and my brother. And maybe some leeches. And they're supposed to be my mortal enemies. How screwed up is that!
I want to believe him. I want the happiness I see around me. A soul mate.
But it hurts too much to hope.
And watching the others? The mated pairs? It's getting unbearable.
But I want so badly to believe Edward Cullen.
I stifle a sob, leaning against him, then push away and run from the room. I need to be alone. Get my game face back on.
"Typical Leah," Embry mutters from the corner. "Always upset about something." I sob, barrelling up the right staircase to my room.
"Embry," Edward remonstrates, not even raising his voice. "That's enough."
"Yes sir, I'm sorry," he says meekly. But he isn't really. None of the Kwali understand. None of them care. Bunch of idiot sticks.
I used to be happy. I used to have a future. A lover. Hopes for marriage. Babies. The white picket fence, the house, the whole enchilada. And then? Sam left me for Emily. Not that he could help it.
Imprinting. I hate it.
And now, they have two kids. Adorable kids. And what does Leah get? Leah, who was kind-hearted, and attractive, and full of exuberance?
Leah gets shafted by the Creator. That's what.
"Leah is not to be teased," Sam reminds the Kwali warriors sternly. I experience a strange mix of thankfulness and hatred.
It's a good thing Jacob split from Sam's pack, because being in Jake's pack means I hardly ever have to see Sam.
Living with the leeches in what amounts to a commune means I can get away from witnessing that happy little life of his. And my pack is better with Jake in charge. He doesn't let them tease me, either. He follows my favourite Leech. The bloodsucker I respect.
Well, that's not fair of me.
You know what? I respect the Cullens. I respect them more than I respect my own kind. They're highly moral. They are thoughtful. They are unfailingly kind. And they think before they speak.
All of them.
But they just love their mates so damn much.
I need a break. Well, I need the Creator to give me a break. There's a joke. He doesn't care.
I wish, harder than I've ever wished before...
If only I had some hope. If only the annoying pixie could see my future, like she saw her brother's. Like she saw my brother Seth's, nine years ago, when he was only fifteen.
So why, if she Saw his success, can't she See anything for me?
Wait. He wanted her to See. What if I wanted her to See? What if I...
I wish Alice Cullen could See my future. I wish.
Alice? See me. I am twenty-nine years old, even if I look twenty. I want a life. See me.
I lie on my bed, sobbing. I cover my ears, trying to shut out the conversation in the kitchen. The worst thing is, they all pity me. Every single one of them. Both species.
It is excruciating.
And the only way to escape is to die.
And I'm just too damn stubborn to die.
If I am honest, I want to live.
I want a life like Edward Cullen's.
I want a mate.
I want a kid. Well, I want lots, but I would settle for one.
Why, why, why? Why me?
It's the constant cry in my head. Jake has to hear it. Seth has to hear it. Why me? Why can't I get past it? Why can't I just settle? Why must I want something I'm not intended to have?
I hate myself.
I hate my life.
Someone taps on the door. "Leah?"
"Please, Emily. Please, go away. I know it's not your fault. I know you're sorry. But I just need to be alone. Please let me be," I sob. I hear her hesitate by the door. She's not leaving. She's sitting by the door, probably feeling wretched. Another wave of guilt assaults me.
I can't stay here anymore. Not even to be with the few people who can tolerate me. Who like me, even. But where to go? Not home to LaPush, to Mom and Charlie and my half-brother. No, they have their life, and they don't need an adult daughter cluttering it up.
Well ... I could change my Course. I've been doing Correspondence since September.
I could go to University of Toronto. Live there. It's a big city. Vibrant. Like the Big Apple of Canada.
Yeah, maybe I can find some distractions there.
I'll leave tonight. I'll leave them a note, and sneak out. That way, Leech won't be able to talk me out of it.
There is a soft, respectful tap on the door. Edward. And Alice. They smell so damn sweet. But I'm pretty used to it now. It doesn't burn my nose.
"Fluff?" he calls softly.
"Come," I whimper into my pillow.
He pays no attention to my tearful, snotty face. He pulls me over, and into his arms, and he rocks me. And I clutch him like he's my lifeline, while he hushes my whimpers and bears my burdens. At first, it's so humiliating. He has everything I want. A mate. A daughter. A son-in-law who looks up to him. Twin newly-born hybrid granddaughters. He behaves like a grown up even though he barely looks old enough to shave. He ... takes care of one hell of a lot of people. Not just people here, people in Brazil and Peru, too. And Biloxi. And Florida. And Forks. And LaPush. And he even hears what I'm thinking of him, which is super-humiliating.
But I can't help myself. The floodgates are down, and I'm finished with trying to keep a stiff upper lip. I've been doing that since 2002. I think I'm entitled to a nervous breakdown.
"There, there, Fluff, let it out, it's okay," he croons, and to my complete mortification, he kisses me on the forehead, just like I'm one of his Newborn vampire kids.
But... he's my friend. One of the few people who can really understand me.
So, I let it all out. The grief, the jealousy, the tears. And he lets me. He takes my garbage bag of feelings without complaint. I cry it all out until I'm pretty much empty. I just wish I could stay empty, and not have the well of tears fill up again. I wish, if I couldn't be happy, that I could just be numb.
The coldness of his body is calming. The Cold Ones: with a body temperature of 64ºF, next to my Kwali Ute 108ºF. "Come on, Smurfette. We have good news for you," he coaxes, wiping my eyes dry with freezing cold fingers.
I push back, leaning against the headboard, surprising him with the intensity of my reaction. I look at him in shock. My eyes whip over to his sister's. The bottom falls out of my gut.
The pixie is beaming. She reaches for my hand, and takes it between her own. Leech is stroking back my hair from my forehead, smiling at me gently. My eyes move warily back to his sister.
I am suddenly terrified.
My legs are juddering. Edward presses them against his side, calming me more. He always knows how to help, but he's never touched me like this. Always kept a respectful distance.
"You tell her there's good news, and she freaks," Alice Cullen says, smiling like the Cheshire Cat.
"You Saw something," I say through numb lips.
"Yes," she says smugly. "You finally let me in. And it's Providential, because if you hadn't, you might have missed meeting your mate."
"What?" I bark.
"Your mate. You decided to leave. To finish your schooling at U of T. Well, get packing. You have ten minutes to be out of here. You need to be on the train to Toronto at 9pm. He'll be on the train."
I am blank. I laugh hollowly. Then, slowly, it sinks in.
My mate. My imprint. He's going to be on the train to Toronto.
Leech draws my attention. He's holding something out to me. A charge card. Black. No limit. I am being presented with a Cullen Family credit card.
I gawp at Edward Cullen, stunned. He takes my hand and closes the card within my palm. "Go get him, Fluffy," he orders me, gentle as always. "And don't forget to call home and tell us how you're doing. Get Vonage. It's better than Bell."
With a light kiss on top of my head, he stands and exits the room, bouncy Alice right on his heels.
I sit in my bed, gazing at the credit card in my hand.
And my life lights up, like a light bulb.
My imprint. He's on the train to Toronto.
HE'S ON THE TRAIN.
IT LEAVES AT 9pm.
With a cry of joy, I leap out of the bed, and start throwing necessities into one of the saddle bags. What do I need? My identification, my laptop. Hairbrush. Toothbrush. To hell with stopping for anything else. I'll buy what I need there.
Yeah, Leech might regret giving me that credit card.
I throw open the door and hurl myself down the stairs. Everybody is waiting by the foyer. Alice, Edward and Emily are behind me. I fly into the coat room, and grab my suede boots, hat, mittens and buckskin coat. Everything goes into the saddle bags.
I feel alive for the first time in twelve years.
"Tell Seth I'm sorry I missed him," I say quickly, while hugging various people good-bye. "You'll look after him, right?"
"He'll be fine with us," Edward reassures me. "Your mother, too. Besides, we'll probably see you again before long."
"And tell Ren and Jake I said 'good-bye'," I order, hopping up and down, trying to remove my shoes quickly.
Esme confiscates my bags and stuffs some sandwiches and Coke cans inside. "Don't forget to eat," she warns.
"I couldn't eat now," I laugh, beaming. "See ya around, bloodsuckers," I tease.
"See ya, mutt," Emmett shoots back.
I dash for the door, and stop. Something has to be said, and heaven knows if I'd ever get another opportunity. But I'm not about to turn and look at him. I'll go to pieces if I do.
"Yeah, Fluffy?" Edward answers, his voice sad.
"Yeah. Love you, too."
I steel myself.
I grasp the knob.
I open the door to my future.