A/N: Hey Guys...this story was adopted by me from RandomChickOliviaxx...so all credit for this chapter goes to her! :D


Chapter 5: Welcome Home, Emmett

Our fingers were intertwined as we climbed up the black cliff together. The sky was gray and overcast as we made our way to the top. It felt as though we were going up there to jump off together, but we didn't feel sad. He was wearing a black suit, and oh, he looked so good... I was wearing that emerald green dress that Alice had made for me the other day. He kept glancing at me, and when he did, he would smile softly and I would return it.

We reached the top of the cliff and just looked at each other. Out of nowhere, the orchestral breakdown of Broken by Seether started to play, and then we were dancing, but like in slow motion, spinning around and around on top of the cliff. We came precariously close to the edge, but we never fell and I knew he wouldn't let me.

I looked up at him and he smiled at me and I touched his face lightly.

And then I woke up. Gah, why must all my dreams of this guy be interrupted at the best parts? These dreams were annoying... But on the other hand, they made me happy and dreamy, and words couldn't describe the rest... These dreams, this boy pulled me out of my writer's block...

It was Thursday morning, and my encounter with the guy from TJ Maxx had been on Monday. That evening, when I came home, I started to think about why his touch and his voice made me frenzied. And I realized that his voice and his touch made me feel the same way the guy from my dreams did. So, what if they were the same person? What if my dream boy was real? I was going to let myself believe this, because it was a pleasant thought.

Monday night was also when I was hit with inspiration and I started to write again. Since then, I'd been typing almost non-stop. I still went to work at Alice's shop, but I stayed in the back and typed away mostly, leaving the work to Alice and Rosalie. They didn't bother me because they knew how big of a deal the fact that I was able to write again was.

Anyways, back to the present. It was Thursday, meaning that Emmett's party was 'd flown in late last night with Mom and Dad, but it was too late for me to go and see him, so tonight would be my first time seeing my brother in 6 months. His party was going to be held at Alice's and my apartment. So today, Alice and Rosalie went to the store, and I stayed home to prepare for the party.

I ate breakfast and had a bath, and then booted up my laptop to write again. I got in three hours of writing before lunch. After I ate I decided to give my writing a break and prepare for the party. I spent the rest of the afternoon cooking, as everyone was due to arrive at 6 p.m. Something that everyone appreciated about me was that I loved cooking, and according to those who tasted my food, I was amazing at it too. For every party we had, I was always nominated as chef.

When I was young, we had a personal chef, and I would always go down to the kitchen and just watch her cook. It was fascinating. Eventually, Jenny, the chef, let me help her in the kitchen, and she taught me to cook. My parents never noticed because they were always busy, but one day my mom came downstairs and saw me in the kitchen with Jenny. She promptly fired her. She didn't approve of me being in the kitchen, because " no daughter of hers was going to be a lowly cook." I didn't care what she said, though, and I continued cooking, because I loved it, almost as much as I loved to write.

My parents learned to appreciate my talent when it was clear I wasn't going to give it up. I even encouraged my mother to try it too, and she liked it well enough. She didn't love it anywhere near the amount I did, but there was one thing she could always make better than me: bread. In fact, her bread could rival the top bakers in the world. But, other than that, I could cook better than my mother. Now, everyone always wanted me to cook for them.

I made Indian food today, since that was Emmett's favourite. Achari Mushroom and Basmati rice with vegetable samosas and stuffed naan bread... Emmett had good taste in food. For dessert, Rosalie was going to make crème caramel and bring it over, so I didn't have to worry about that. By the time the food was finished, it was four o'clock and Alice had arrived home.

"Go and shower right now, it's going to take two hours for me to get you looking the way i want you to!" Alice had shouted as soon as she barrelled through the door. I could tell she was excited too. Emmett was like a brother to her because he'd always been at my house whenever she would come over, and the three of us would play together as children. We were both excited to see him.

After I had my shower, I went into my room to find my dress sprawled across my bed. It was the one I'd decided on from the pile Alice gave me at TJ Maxx. It was strapless and purple, with a thick black ribbon right under the bust. From there, it flowed out and the bottom was rimmed with the same black ribbon. It was simple, but very pretty. Simple things suited me. I put it on, and Alice came into my room. She put her make-up case on my bed.

Having been accustomed to this, and knowing no amount of resistance could stop her, I just sat and let Alice do her work on my face and my hair. I didn't bother to look in the mirror when she was finished, knowing that Alice would never make me look bad. By then, it was about a quarter to six, and guests started to arrive.

Jasper and Rosalie arrived first, with dessert in hand. Then Jacob came. A few minutes later, Carlisle arrived. Carlisle Cullen was my father's best friend, who was more of an uncle to Emmett and I, and even to Alice. He was a kind man, and was one of the best doctors in the state. Finally, my parents arrived.

"Mom! Dad! Where's Emmett?" I exclaimed as soon as they opened the opened the door. They opened their mouths to respond, but were cut off by a loud, boisterous voice.

"I'm right here, Belly Boo!" A huge, smiling figure appeared in the doorway.

"Emmett!" Alice and I exclaimed. We both squealed, which was out of character for me, not so much so for Alice. Emmett squealed in mocking, but good-natured way, but was cut off when Alice and I attacked him with hugs and exclamations.

"How have you been? We missed you! How did you do in final exams? You're back, thank God! Oh my God, Emmett, I missed you so much!"

"I'm fine, I'm fine!" he chuckled as he untangled himself from our embrace. " I finished first in my class, which is awesome. And, of course I missed my little sisters." He mussed up our hair affectionately.

"Hey! Do you know how long it took me to do Bella's hair today? Don't mess it up!" Alice said indignantly, with her hand on her hips.

"Ah, Alice. Just as short and fashion obsessed as ever," Emmett shook his head in mock disapproval. He stepped back and surveyed the other people in the room. "Carlisle! How have you been! How often have you had to take care of some broken bone of Bella's while I was gone?"

Carlisle laughed and the two of them shared a manly hug, while I huffed.

"He hasn't had to see me at all, Emmett. I'm glad you have so much faith in my balance. Hmph." Everyone laughed at me.

"I don't doubt you so much, Bellaroo, I'm just concerned," he said with an affectionate smile. He turned to look at Jasper, Rosalie and Jacob. "Now who are these strangers?"

Jake stepped forward first with his hand outstretched to shake Emmett's . "I'm Dr. Jacob Black. Bella's friend. I've heard a lot about you, all good things of course!"

"I suppose you have," Emmett said, shaking Jake's hand with an appraising look on his face. I could tell that Emmett was putting force into that handshake, because Jake's face was drawn in concealed pain. I could tell he was intimidated by Emmett. It didn't matter that Em was younger than us, he was bigger than all of us put together. A giant of a man.

"And I'm Jasper Hale, Alice's boyfriend. I'm a doctor as well, and I work with Jacob. My sister and I moved here about a year ago," Jasper introduced himself. Emmett took one look at him and smiled, for what reason, I had no idea. It seemed he liked Jasper on sight. He shook hands with Jasper enthusiastically, telling him that he seemed like a good person. Then, Jasper pointed him to Rose.

She offered her hand for Emmett to shake, with her trademark smile that made every guy fall at her feet.

"I'm Rosalie Hale."

Emmett shook her hand, rolled his eyes, and said, "Hello, Rosalie," before turning back to me and asking where the food was, as he was hungry.

Rosalie, Alice and I stared in shock. We were all accustomed to every guy falling at Rose's feet. We'd all been expecting the customary five seconds where the guy stares at her, spaces out and drools. That always happened, with every guy from the man at the store, to the presidents of large companies, to the homeless men on the street, to the married men who come into Alice's store with their wives.

But all Emmett did was roll his eyes. Despite being my brother, I expected him to fall too. But he contradicted me. He didn't fall for Rose. This was a first for her. She'd never had to actively make a guy like her.

"In the kitchen, Emmett, where else would food be?" I told him as soon as I snapped out of my momentary stupor of disbelief. He went towards the kitchen, and the girls and I looked at each other as if to ask, 'what was that about?' We all just shrugged and headed to the kitchen with Em and everyone else to get our food to eat.

When we'd all taken our food, and moved to the dining table, Emmett sat at the head, with me and Alice on either sides of him. Jasper was next to her, and my mother was next to him. My father was at the other head of the table, and Carlisle was next to him. Between Carlisle and myself was Rosalie. The conversation around the table was focused on Emmett, his experiences in college and what he was planning to do now that he'd graduated. Dad proudly told everyone that Emmett had a place at his law firm.

To anyone else, Rosalie would have seemed like she was acting normally, but for one who knew her as well as Alice and I did, it was easy to see that something was up. I knew Alice had noticed it too because she kicked my foot under the table and motioned to Rosalie with her eyes.

Rosalie, while joining in the conversation now and then, was paying more attention to Emmett than she would usually pay to any one person. She was staring at him intently in a way that I knew she was hoping was inconspicuous. And I noticed, that when she spoke, she carefully avoided speaking directly to Emmett.

I knew she was intrigued by him. He'd basically snubbed her, and she wanted to know why. Snubbing Rosalie Hale was an unheard of action for every man she'd ever met. But, although they never thought of it, this would be a smart move for a guy who wanted to date her, because it would peak her interest, being an action so different to the normal responses. Although, I couldn't tell if Emmett did it for that purpose or not.

When we'd finished eating, we took our desert to eat on the balcony outside. Our apartment had a beautiful view of the city. In the middle of the scene, you saw the huge, high-rise buildings that characterized New York, and interspersed throughout that scene before us, you could see the various small shantytowns and the poorer areas of the city. The view from our apartment showed the contrast between the rich, up-scale people and the ones living in poverty.

If you thought of it that way, the view was gloomy, but I loved the view. It showed the harsh reality, and reminded me everyday to be thankful for what I had. Every year, collectively, our family donated money, clothes and food to orphanages and homeless shelters, because we knew we had a good life compared to some others.

As we sat on the balcony, enjoying the view of the city and our dessert, Emmett randomly exclaimed, "Well, damn me if this isn't the BEST crème caramel I've ever had! Who made this?"

Rosalie blushed. I was taken aback, but I hid my shock. Blushing was a rare occasion for Rose. She acknowledged that it was her, and Emmett looked slightly impressed. Like all men, my brother respected a woman who could cook.

"So, I have news," Carlisle randomly announced. We all gave him our attention and he continued. "I've been offered a job as the chief surgeon at one of the highest- ranking teaching hospitals in the U.S. The hospital is in San Francisco… and I've accepted and I'm moving there."

Everybody was silent, staring at him.

"Wow," my father said.

"That's great!" my mother exclaimed.

"Oh, we're gonna miss you! I just came back and saw you for the first time in months, and now you're leaving again?" said Emmett.

"Well, as much as I want you to stay, Uncle, who are we to hold you back from success? When are you leaving?" I asked.

"This weekend. One of my patients moved to San Francisco earlier this week, so I'd like to go up as soon as possible to check on her status," he said. "Plus, I need a change of scenery. New York is becoming too dog-eat-dog and brutal for my taste."

"Hmm… what's wrong with this patient?" my mother asked.

"She's pregnant."

"Is she married? How old is she?"

"She's twenty-five, and no she isn't. I can't tell you more than this, it's a breach of patient confidentiality."

I rolled my eyes when my mother shuddered and looked horrified. "Oh, how I absolutely hate it when unmarried girls get pregnant! I don't care about the age, it just comes across as so… slutty! Imagine if that happened in such a high society family as ours… It would be seen as a scandal and no one would hire Charlie or me ever again!"

"Uh huh, okay… who wants more crème caramel?" Emmett interrupted my mom's speech. We both hated when our mother became judgemental about people she didn't even know. I was grateful for his change of topic.

"I do, but I really should go, it's getting late. I'll see you all when I come back to visit sometime soon," Carlisle said as he left our apartment. Gradually, as the night wore on, everybody left, save for Alice and me.

After we cleaned up, we sat on the couch with a glass of champagne each.

"Bella, I need to talk to you about something… Don't be mad!" she said.

"I won't. What is it dear? Are you pregnant? Addicted to weed? I'll help you, dear!"

"Bella! Stop! It's, um, none of those things.. But Jasper asked me… to move in…with him…" she trailed off nervously. "We've been together for a year, and we both think it's time for that, but I was considering you in this huge apartment alone. This decision doesn't require my approval alone, I need yours too."

I sat there, shocked for a moment. Then I regained my senses. This was my best friend, and I wanted her to be happy. She was happy with Jasper. So I decided to let her be with Jasper.

"Of course, Alice, live with him! The man is head over heels in love with you, and he's a good friend of mine too. If you refused on account of me, you'd both hate me." Slice opened her mouth to say something, but I stopped her. "Don't worry about me. This apartment is too huge and too expensive for me alone, so I'll go back to live with my parents until can find a smaller apartment for myself. Contrary to popular belief, there is nothing wrong with someone my age living with their parents!"

"You're the best!" Alice exclaimed as she hugged me so tight, I thought my ribs would crack.

"I know. Now I'm tired. I'm going to sleep…Goodnight!"

I left Alice on the sofa staring into space and dreaming about living with Jasper. I went to bed and had my own dreams about a certain bronze-haired guy…

The next day, Emmett and I were supposed to meet up for lunch at one of our favourite diners, Gummy Bear's. Alice allowed me to have this day off too to spend time with my brother. In the past, I'd worked hard for her at her store, and I never asked for days off, so she let me have these two days.

I got to Gummy Bear's early, so I chose a corner booth by the window. While I waited for Emmett, I took in the features of the familiar diner and reminisced. The diner's décor was typical of a 1950's diner, down to the black-and-white chequered tiled floor, stainless steel counters and red vinyl booths. On the walls, there were old records in glass cases, and framed pictures of gummy bears (in keeping with the diner's name). The waitresses all zoomed about on roller skates.

On the counter next to the cash register, there was a jar that was forever filled with little packets of gummy bears, twelve to a pack. These the diner gave away free for those who wanted. This was one of the main reasons Emmett and I loved this place. That, and the jukebox in the corner that we loved messing with.

I hadn't been to this diner since my senior year of high school. Alice, Emmett and I would come here every single day after school. It was shocking that our parents would let us WALK home from school, given their standings in society and their pride, but they did, and we took as much advantage of our freedom that we could without breaking any boundaries that would get us in trouble. We wanted freedom, yes, but we weren't stupid.

On the wall behind the pie case, there was an abnormally large picture of a green gummy bear that was extremely humorous. I smiled as I thought of what that picture covered.

When Emmett was sixteen, he'd tried his hand at playing cricket, but while he excelled at all other sports, he just couldn't get the hang of this one. One day, after school when he was frustrated with the sport, we'd come to the diner to get him a chocolate sundae to appease him. He'd still had the cork ball in his hand.

Anyone who's held a cricket ball knows that its hard and heavy, and if it is thrown with great force, it could very well brain you. Well. The diner was having a rather busy day, and the waitress was taking some time to get Emmett his sundae. So Emmett lost his patience.

"I want my damn sundae, woman!"

Those were the words he'd shouted, and he'd actually forgotten how dangerous the ball in his hand was. If poor Elizabeth, the waitress, hadn't ducked, she would have ended up in the hospital. But she did duck, and so the ball hit the wall. Now, Emmett had quite an unnatural amount of strength, so the wall where the ball hit cracked and it left a crater.

Those were in the days when the diner was struggling, and so couldn't fix the hole, and the owner was too nice to force Emmett to do it, so the crater stayed. Eventually, the owner gave up on fixing it- it had become part of the diner's history.

And Elizabeth forgave Emmett quite easily for nearly killing her when he brought her chocolates the next day. But, Elizabeth could never hold grudges against him, Alice or me. She'd been a waitress at Gummy Bear'ssince we started to go there, and over the years we'd built up a lovely relationship. She was rather motherly and intuitive and a good confidante. And she snuck me a piece of my favourite pie every time she saw that I was feeling down. Great woman. I wondered if she still worked there.

That thought was joyfully put to rest as I recognised her familiar figure skating over to my table. A smile lit up her already pretty features. By now, she was in her early thirties, but from what I knew of her, she worked at that diner all her life. She still looked young, with long red hair and blue-green eyes.

"Bella!"

"Liz!"

She hugged me, but she pulled away with a wince when I gave her squeeze back. I looked at her questioningly.

"I have to be careful for baby," she said with a grin, pointing at her tummy. I gasped. And then I squealed.

"You're pregnant! Wait, when did you get married? WHO did you marry? Why wasn't I invited? Why didn't I know? Oh my God, you're pregnant!" I squealed happily again.

With a laugh, she responded to my queries.

"I got married while you were away at university, to Jared, the chef here. And you weren't invited, because we got drunk in Vegas. But neither of us regret it, we do love each other. He's the sweetest man I've ever met. He's right there, you can see him behind the kitchen counter, serving up food for the customers." She glanced at the counter, and blushed. I followed her gaze and saw a handsome man, Jared, obviously, wink at her. "And you didn't know, missy, because it's been six years since you came to see me here!"

She said the last part with feigned annoyance, but a smile broke through. The bond that we had couldn't break that easily. Maybe she WAS just a waitress, but having known her throughout my school life, she'd become a mother figure. She was easy to talk to, not judgemental, and gave awesome advice. And scolded, when the occasion called for it. She wasn't really annoyed, she was just happy to see me. Proof of how strong our bond was: we were speaking as freely as if those last six years never existed.

"I'm sorry, Liz… I went to uni, and then I came back and forgot about everything. It was stupid of me, I don't know how I could forget one of my favourite women. But, I know you haven't seen Emmett either… he's just finished university, too, and he's meeting me for lunch here!" I told her. She seemed pleased by that.

"What time is he-"

"Speak of the devil, there he is," I interrupted her and pointed at the entrance. My bear of a brother had just entered. I waved to catch his attention, and he joined us at the table. When he saw Liz, he hugged her tight, causing her to rebuke him for the safety of her baby. He responded the same way I had, and Liz told him what happened with her since we last spoke.

"That's AWESOME!" Emmett exclaimed loudly.

"Yes, it is," Liz grinned, happy with her lot in life. "But I AM on the job now, so I'd best take your order and let brother and sister bond. Or is it safe to assume you both want the usual? After six years I still remember it."

"Yes, please," Emmett and I chorused. Liz cracked another grin and headed off to the kitchen, leaving Emmett and I to ourselves.

"I'm glad she found happiness. She provided it for us so much when we used to come here years ago. She's a wonderful woman," I told Emmett.

"She is," Emmett agreed. "Now, let's catch up. How have you been little sissy? We couldn't talk freely yesterday because Mom was there, and I know how you guard your words so that she doesn't judge you, don't deny it. So, what's really going on with you?"

"What? I don't guard my words around her!" I was shocked he came to that assumption.

"Maybe it's unconscious. But you need to think about that, I guess. Now tell me what I've missed. Has Mom tried to set you up with any unsavoury characters? That Jacob Black guy seemed like someone she would like for you. Is she forcing him on you? Tell me, I'm concerned about my baby sis!" Emmett ranted impatiently as I was silent, think of what he'd originally said. I changed my train of thought so I could answer him, pushing his comment aside for the time.

"As a matter of fact, yes. She's been hounding me to settle down so she could be at my wedding. I'm only 24! And yes, she DID try to set me up with Jacob. While I hated him at the start, he accepted that I wasn't interested in him romantically, and now we're friends. Just friends, although Mom still wants me together with him. But she's not pushing it, so that's good. Something about him makes me feel a tiny bit awkward," I admitted. "But I don't know what it is. He's been a perfect gentleman, and I think that's really his character. It might just be paranoia, although I don't know what I'm paranoid about."

"One foul move by that man, and I'll emasculate him, and rip him into shreds," Emmett growled protectively.

"Emmett, calm down. He's just a regular guy. And a good doctor, from what I've heard. But let's talk about YOUR love life. Is there any special girl in your life that I should know of?" I asked him.

"No, there isn't. I'm a proud bachelor," he said with a grin and a thumbs up.

"Hey, what do you think about Rosalie?" I asked him, studying his reactions. He appeared indifferent, which surprised me.

"She's pretty, I guess, but I have girls like that falling for me all the time at college, and she isn't any different."

"Wow, cocky much?" I asked with raised eyebrows. He laughed.

"No, I don't mean it like that, I'm just stating that I've had girls like her running after me a lot over the past few years in college. She doesn't seem like something new, or different."

I was going to let him pass and leave alone about Rosalie because he seemed uninterested, but as I was about to change the topic, I noticed a flash of dishonesty and something else that I couldn't define in his eyes. I gasped.

"Oh. My. God. You're lying to me, Emmett."

"No, I'm not." He chuckled nervously

"Yes, you are"

"No, I'm not."

"Emmett, you're lying. You ARE intrigued by her!"

He sighed and stayed quiet for a few seconds, just staring at the table.

"You're right," he admitted. "But, I don't want to get caught up with someone who may not be interested in me at all, or who isn't for me. You know me, Bella. While I admire their appearance from afar, those ditzy blonde model types never suited me."

"Ditzy? Emmett you're speaking about a girl who has a degree in economics, who can fix my car better than Oscar (you know, the mechanic on 8th street that you always recommend), and the only modelling she's ever done is for Alice's catalogue. And that was only because Ali begged. As a matter of fact, we all think she'd be good for you. And what does blonde have to do with anything? Blonde doesn't necessarily mean dumb, Em."

"She can fix your car?" Emmett marvelled. "Even Oscar complained about that bucket of bolts!"

"Yep, and I haven't had to have it repaired since she fixed it." I smiled with pride for my friend. "Emmett, you don't know her yet. Get to know her first, and then decide whether or not she's for you."

"You're right, I guess. I will. But, I need your help. How do I get her to go on one date with me?"

Liz appeared with our food just then. Chocolate pancakes, bacon and French toast, swimming in syrup. Who ever said that you couldn't eat breakfast for lunch? Or that it had to be healthy? Indulgences are allowed for young people like us, who can work it off easily…

"Here's your food, dig in! I wish I could chat, but we're having a busy day. See you in a bit, guys!" Liz skated back to the kitchen. Emmett and I looked around. We had been so wrapped up in our conversation that we hadn't noticed people filling up the diner. We laughed for a moment, and settled down to eat.

"So," I said, in between bites, "you need the help of a genius like me to get the girl." I smiled and waggled my eyebrows conspiratorially.

"Yes, I need you, o great one, o wise one, o perfect matchmaker." Emmett rolled his eyes.

"Well, first things first, do not EVER buy her roses. She hates them. Thirty guys, all thinking that they were being original, brought her a dozen red ones, saying 'Roses for a Rose.' She's so sick of them now, and she honestly never liked them to begin with. And, she turned down every one of those guys, by the way. She's not as easy as television makes blondes look."

"Okay, no roses. Anything else?" His eyes were wide and he was taking in all the information he could.

"Her favourite movie is The Lake House. She likes anyone who likes that movie. And she's romantic at heart, although she may play hard to get. She loves calla lilies, which suits her, because both she and the flower are tall, elegant and beautiful. She loves a guy who can cook, because the only things she can make are crème caramel, simple sandwiches and salad. She's into sports, and she isn't your typical girly girl, although she looks like it. And she hates fakers. Be yourself with her, and you'll be fine."

"Okay, I got it all. Can I ask her out for tonight?" He looked rather eager, proving again that he really was lying to me at first.

"It's your call." I smiled at him warmly. "Go for it if you think you should."

"Thank you Belly Boo."

We finished eating, making small talk. When we finished, we left the money for the bill on the table, waved to Liz, and exited the shop.

"Okay, I'm going to Dad's firm. He told me to come by so I could see what my new office would be like. He says, since I've just come back from college, I can relax for the next two weeks, but after that, I have to start working."

"That's great, Emmett! Have fun! I'm going home to relax. Maybe later I'll go for a walk. I'll see you later, Em."

"Bye, Belly Boo!" With that, we parted ways.

I returned home, but instead of relaxing, I picked up my laptop and headed out again. I walked to Central Park to find my favourite spot.

In the Park, near to one of the ponds, there was a tree that grew in the shadow of all the others. When a tree grows in the shadow of another, it grows bent and scraggly, because it's always trying to reach around the others to get to the light. That's how this one tree looked. All the others had long, straight, elegant barks, but this one grew bent. For some reason, this tree was the most beautiful one in the Park to me, and I'd always loved to come here and sit under it, reading, writing or just relaxing.

This tree was where I headed to that day. I sat under it and opened up my laptop. I sat back, enjoying the breeze and the scenery as I waited for the computer to boot up.

I started to think about my source of inspiration, and I smiled to myself. That guy from my dreams… He was the perfect man. It was hard to believe he could exist. But, real or imaginary, he helped me. The thought of him alone helped me through everything. I was writing again, when I hadn't been for months. I knew he couldn't be real. But the thought of him was good for me. I'd just pretend he was.

The computer booted up, and I opened the document with my story. I pictured dream boy's crooked grin in my head, and I let the feelings he caused in me flow through my fingertips. Things were getting better now.

.

..

...

...EDWARD...

He woke with a start as he heard his alarm clock go off on Friday morning, still feeling her fingers softly caressing his face. He looked around him, disorientated, and he realized that it was, once again, just a dream. He groaned and wished he could go back to sleep. He closed his eyes, ready to drift away again.

"Edward?" He heard his mother's voice call, followed by a few feeble coughs. Edward immediately shot up, wiped the sleep from his eyes and hurried to his mother's bedroom.

"What is it, Ma? Are you okay?" he asked with concern.

"My throat is dry. Could you bring me some water? And a pain tablet?"

He complied to her request. As she took the tablet, Edward sat at the bottom of the bed and put his face in his hands.

"Ma, it really is time we take you to a doctor."

"Edward, how many times have I told you, we can't afford it! And, besides, its just a slight fever. I can handle it. I won't let a doctor see me, we can't possibly pay that fee and still have money to live on."

Edward sighed. "It's been a CHRONIC fever for the last few months, Ma. This could be progress into something worse, and we have no idea what it is!"

"I told you. I'm not going to let a doctor see me. End of. Now, don't you have a job interview today? Go get ready. And leave me alone. But, put a glass of water on my bedside table for me, please."

Edward complied grudgingly, and got ready. He was still worried. He stopped to say, "I love you, Ma," before he left, and then he stepped out onto the brutal streets of slum New York. He walked to the Subway Station, and took the Subway to one of the elementary schools. This school needed a music teacher, and Edward had an interview for that job. He'd graduated the day before, but from even before that, he'd been looking for job openings.

As he waited for the Principal to see him, he was nervous. He needed this job. He needed to make the money so he could get medical attention for his mother. He was worried to death, but he knew if he came across as grim, worrisome and unapproachable, he would never be hired. So, he thought about dream girl. No matter how scared, anxious, nervous he was, in recent times, the thought of this girl could always put a smile on his face.

"Mr. Masen? Principal Walker will see you now."

Edward got up, took a deep breath, and entered the Principal's Office.

"Good afternoon, Mr. Masen."

"Good afternoon, Principal Walker."

The two men shook hands. Edward noted that the other man had a firm handshake. Principal Walker looked as though he was in his mid-forties. He was African American, and was bald. He had a kind look about him, and he had smile lines by his eyes. Edward immediately liked him, and was at ease.

"So, Mr. Masen, I see you want this job. Can I see your résumé?" Edward handed it to him, and he skimmed it through.

"Your only work experience is as a grocery store cashier? And your only qualifications come from a community college? What makes you think you ought to get this job?" The principal asked.

Edward took a breath again, and he began. "Sir, I ought to get this job because I'd do everything in my power to be the best music teacher your school has ever seen. If you look at my credentials, you'd see that I topped the college, although that has nothing to do with getting this job. I attended community college, not because I couldn't get into any other. It was because I couldn't afford any other school. And I've just left school. That cashier job was the only job I could get. But, sir, I need this job. I'm an excellent musician, and I would work hard to make your students excellent ones too."

He knew it wasn't a convincing argument, but he didn't know what to say. He'd prepared for interview questions like this the day before, but now when he needed them, they flew out of his brain.

"Hmm… well, Mr. Masen, do you think you can handle this job? Two of the local orphanages send their children here, and they are generally students who feel neglected, and would need extra attention. We've noticed that these students are either totally unresponsive, or excessive troublemakers. All our teachers strive to give them extra attention, because they feel neglected a lot, living in houses with more children than adults. Would you be able to handle and help students like this?"

"Yes sir, I can. I believe that I'd be able to draw them out of their shells, or quiet them down some, depending on which they need. Music is good for the soul. Do you know what music therapy is? Music therapists use music-centred activities to make people comfortable with themselves and others, and it helps them. I can use music like that, while at the same time, teaching them what's on the music syllabus for the year. I will help them, if you give me this job."

That sounded slightly more convincing, Edward thought.

"And why do you need this job, Mr Masen?"

" Well, I'm unemployed, and I have a love of music that I want to share with younger generations."

"Was your dream always to teach music at an elementary school?" the principal asked sceptically.

"No, sir, honestly, it never was. My dream was to become a famous pianist."

"And what happened to that dream?"

"My father died. And my mother got sick. And I realized that it would be extremely difficult to achieve that pie-in-the-sky dream in a short space of time. I say short space of time because my mother needs medical attention. I need money to pay for it, and getting people to buy my music would move too slowly for me to build enough money to pay medical bills."

"Do you like children?"

"Yes, I do, sir."

Principal Walker smiled.

"You have the job. Could you start on Monday?"

"What? Thank you sir, so much! Of course I can!" Edward exclaimed enthusiastically and happily. He got the job!

"That's great. Now, let's discuss the technical details. Payday, salary, and all that."

"Of course, sir."

An hour later, Edward left the elementary school with a smile on his face. He was one step closer to getting his mother better. He took the subway half the way to his house, and walked the other half, enjoying the cool New York air. Things were getting better now.


A/N: N this is where I pick it up lol! Its an awsome story and i'm thankfull to have adopted it :P I have great plans for these two dream luvers and I hope U guys approve and will luv it jus as much! Thanxs again to RandomChickOliviaxx for letting me continue it! Hope it turns out great! So...once I get things going again I should have a new chapter out...not jus for this but for all my stories! I been away for a while but now i'm bck! Luvs u all bunches!

Ashlie Christine