Open Hearts

Chapter One:

September 18, 2010

Bella rolled over, hearing the sound of the alarm clock go off. She rolled over to smack it, only to end up on the floor of her studio.

What the hell was she doing on the couch?

She lay, baffled and sleep-laden, trying to recall the events which would have caused her not to end up in her nice, warm, luxurious king sized bed. She pushed herself off the floor and staggered into the kitchen, to where the smell of coffee was beckoning her.

Why was it that the Quielletes had decided to party all night long? The festival had lasted until two a.m. ending in a spectacle of fireworks and drinking. She should have gone to bed like a sane person, but instead she had spent three hours reviewing the pictures and posting them on the website for her step mother. She knew that Sue would appreciate the work, as she had always been Bella's biggest fan and supporter.

Bella had fallen into her career. One day, broke and down on her luck, she submitted a picture she had taken at the reservation of a sunset off the cliffs at First Beach. To her amazement, it won a contest, earning her prestige and a scholarship to University of Seattle. She had never considered a career in the arts, but it turned into a career that she loved. She was a free-lance photographer, mostly doing work for travel magazines and Time, but she did the occasional wedding and bar mitzvah to help make up for the lag in work from time to time. It paid well, she made her own hours, so she really didn't see the need to complain.

Deciding that she needed to start the day, she started making breakfast.

"Hey Belly. Is it really time for breakfast?"

She rolled her eyes, hearing the nickname that she so hated hearing.

"It's noon. We slept in almost the whole day. It's just eggs and turkey bacon, so don't get your hopes up too much," she informed him as she scrambled some eggs. There was no way she was going the extra effort and making pancakes today. Her hangover from the festival was unbearable, but well worth it.

"Did you have a good time last night?" Mike asked as he settled in at the bar top.

"Yeah, it was nice to see Sue and everyone I grew up with," she told him. "I forgot how much fun those things could be."

"Are you going to get paid for those shots?" Mike inquired as he pointed to the computer screen, which had the pictures from the shot scrolling on the screen saver. "These are really good."

"No, I'm not going to make the reservation pay me. They helped raise me." Bella shook her head, knowing that Mike only really thought about money. She really couldn't fault him though, it was an occupational hazard for him. He worked as an accountant for a big firm in Seattle, and he was proud of it.

Mike was always bringing up the six-figure salary and flashy new Scion that he was driving. He talked about money so constantly that it made her a tad bit uncomfortable as he would bring it up at dinner parties. He had no sense of social niceties, that Bella was constantly apologizing for his lack of tact.

"You would think they would though, I mean, it is your job. You would have to pay me if you wanted me to do your taxes . . ."

Yeah you made me pay when you did my taxes last year. She thought as she took a sip of her coffee.

He kept on talking about his salary and car, again. But she was so used to it, she just tuned him out as she picked at her eggs.

"Did you hear me Belly?"

"I'm sorry, you were saying?"

"I was asking what was on your plate for the week." He reiterated, looking annoyed. Once they were finished, she made her way to the small bedroom upstairs. It wasn't much, but it sufficed for what she needed it for. And she had already paid it off with one of the first big gigs she had with National Geographic Magazine. Besides, most of the time, they were at Mike's apartment. He always liked to point out that it was larger anyway.

"Nothing really. I have a dinner meeting tomorrow with Alice to discuss me coming on as a staff photographer for her fashion magazine."

"Really Belly! That's great."

She hated that nickname, but let it go. It wasn't a fight she wanted to pick this morning, or afternoon as the case may be.

"I really don't know about it," she said, flitting around the room, pulling out her outfit for the day. She chose a simple pair of khaki and white pinstripe pants and a white shirt. Alice, Tanya, Rosalie, and she had plans to go out for dinner that night.

"Why? Wouldn't it be nice to have regular working hours? Make some decent money. I mean, you do want to start a family one day don't you?"

And there it was. Her fluctuating hours and hectic work hours had always been a source of contention in their relationship. If they weren't fighting about the nature of the job, then they were fighting about how she needed to find a job with more prestige, like he had.

"Can we not talk about this right now?" Bella pleaded as she picked up a pair of earrings that she had picked up in the Philippines. It was a sterling silver pair, shaped like a corkscrew.

"You know, I never really liked those," Mike commented, placing a kiss on her shoulder.

"I never asked. Besides, all that matters is that I like them, right?" She commented as she grabbed her shoes from the closet.

She made her way into the kitchen cleaning up their mess. Of course, it would have been nice if Mike had offered, but he never did. Their mornings were always like this, and truthfully it was grating on her nerves. Mike seemed to always be picking on her and quite honestly, she couldn't even remember why they were together. They just were.

Mike followed her through the studio, sitting at her desk, reading the newspaper as she opened her laptop to check her emails.


"What is it Belly?"

She rolled her eyes. "Tanya and Demetri's anniversary party is on Monday. I forgot to remind you last week. Can you still make it?"

Mike dropped his fork. "No, I have a big firm dinner that night that I have to go to. You are my plus one, don't you remember. I guess we won't be making the party."

"I have to go to the anniversary dinner. I already promised Demetri I would be there. You go to your thing, and please apologize to the partners for me. I should be there . . ."

It didn't really matter if Mike made it or not. Demetri was Bella's childhood best friend. He had moved to Forks when he was ten. His father had travelled the world, and thought that Forks was the best little town to raise his son in. Demetri stuck out in Forks like a sore thumb with his Russian accent. Not many children wanted to play with him on the playground, but Bella did.

Thirteen years after sharing their first mud pie together, she found herself being his "best man" at the wedding, and Tanya's best friend, Edward Cullen, was the maid of honor.

Bella cringed thinking of Edward Cullen. They had met during her sophomore year of college through Tanya and Demetri. They swore that the two of them would hit it off, but the date was a total disaster. Edward had picked her up in his shiny Volvo. He made remarks about the "beast of a red truck" that adorned the student parking lot. Sure, Edward didn't know that the truck was hers, but it left a sour taste in her mouth. The date only spiraled down from there. It ended early with an awkward kiss on the cheek goodnight with a promise to call that never manifested.

Obviously, it was no love loss on both of their parts.

She and Edward ran in the same social circle throughout the rest of college, often seeing each other at the same functions, they were cordial to each other, but other than that, there was really nothing there between them.

Surely, Edward was going to be at the party tonight.

"What are you thinking about pretty girl?"

"Just that jerk of a maid-of-honor. I can't believe he slept with Tanya's sister in the coat closet. I mean, who does that at their best friend's wedding?"

"Bells, you don't have to hang out with him tonight. Just stay away from him."

"I know, but still." Mike gave her a look. "I'll try to get out of the dinner, but you are just going to have to field Edward without me for a couple of hours. Or you could just come with me to the firm's party."

Mike knew all about Edward. They had pledged Lambda Chi together during their freshmen year. They weren't the best of friends, and Edward had teased Mike constantly about his clothes, shoes, etc.

"Mike, I'm not going with you to the firm's dinner. Those things are just dull and boring anyway. I don't have anything in common with them, or their wives. I'm sure I will be able to put up with Edward Cullen for one night without you."

"Famous last words."

Bella sighed and closed her eyes. It had been such a long night, and now the day was busted with Mike. She took out her phone and texted a 911 to Demetri. She needed him to get her out of her place somehow.

Her best friend didn't disappoint. He called, giving Bella an excuse to get out of the house and over to their house. Not that it really mattered, but she just wanted to get away from Mike for a little bit.

Bella pulled into Demetri's driveway, admiring the house. It was an old Victorian style home that Demetri had bought right after their wedding. It was huge, with a newly renovated interior, all that had to be down was the outside. He was currently painting the outside a beautiful shade of yellow, which reminded Bella of sunshine. The house had two entrances; one, which lead to a mudroom in case of snow and ice, the other that lead to the formal part of the house. There was a huge Victorian bay window which separated the two entrances. It was at the second entrance by the mudroom where Bella finally ran into Demetri.

"Hey Dee . . ."

"Grab a brush and help. I'm almost finished," Demetri told her.

"You should have told me and I would have been here sooner, and with painting clothes, but I'm dressed to go out tonight with the girls. Can I just go in?"

"Yeah, Livvie is in the back with Edward. Tan went to the pharmacy."

"So the new Corvette in the driveway is his. Practical as always. Are you sure you trust him with my goddaughter?"

"She's his goddaughter too. You guys should really place nicer around each other."

"We do just fine." Bella rolled her eyes and made quick work to the backward where she caught Edward, holding Olivia singing softly to her in the sunlight.

She stood back, and admired the two of them together. Bella always recognized that Edward was a handsome man. He had a strong jaw line and the most beautiful sea-green eyes. His hair was an indescribable color, somewhere in between dirty blonde and bronze, and it was never done. She noticed that he was still wearing his scrubs, which looked really good on him. It was just his mouth that got him in trouble. If he could just keep it shut, maybe she could work with him. She grabbed her camera and clicked a picture of the two of them together. It was something that Tanya would like for the baby book.

"You should really ask before taking a picture. See something you like?"

And there was his effin mouth again.

"Yeah, as a matter of fact I do . . ."

A sexy, triumphant smirk graced his features.

"My goddaughter, not you - you oaf." Edward kissed Olivia on the head, and passed her over to Bella.

Edward picked up the camera a shot a picture of the two of them. "Do you always carry this around?" He asked, gesturing to the small point and click camera.

"Occupational hazard," Bella supplied. "You never know when you are going to come across something photo worthy, and my goddaughter is definitely photo worthy."

"Well, at least that is one thing we agree on. My goddaughter is absolutely gorgeous."

Edward walked over and kissed Olivia on the head. "Babies always smell so sweet, especially after a long night of working in the ER."

Bella nodded, knowing what he meant.

"So, what are you doing here?" Bella asked, shifting Caroline onto her hip.

"Visiting Tanya. She was worried about Livvie's fever last night, so I stopped in to check on her. She's just teething. Tanya ran out and got more Tylenol for my Lovebug."

She made her way over to the glider and sat down, rocking Livvie softly. "Did you see that ostentatious car in the driveway . . ."

"Hey no beating up on my Vette. Women love men in a Corvette."

Bella rolled her eyes, resisting the urge to vomit.

"Anyway, it has to be better than your rusted piece of junk . . ."

"Beast died right after their wedding. It was more to fix than what she was worth."

"Bella, that car wasn't worth more than fifty dollars." Edward joked with her, throwing his head back in laughter, remembering the rusted piece of junk that was the demise of their date.

She punched him lightly in the shoulder.

"Hey, you two place nice out there. I wouldn't want you beating up Edward for no reason," Tanya called out from the back entrance. "Demetri told me you were out here, are you going to stay until we go out for girls night?"

"Yep. Do you want help with lunch?"

"Sure," Tanya replied, grateful for the help.

Bella nodded, handing her back over to Edward. He smiled gratefully, and she knew right then and there, that even though Edward Cullen would never be considered one of her best friends, that she would always be bonded with him over the beautiful child that he held in his arms.

Bella rolled her eyes, grabbing for the offending device. There had been a little too much wine at the anniversary dinner last night.

Why oh why did she drink that bottle of Port wine with Demetri for desert.

They had some great fun, talking about the past, the wedding, Livvie. Everyone had been on their best behavior as well. Edward, had showed up late, as usual, but it didn't seem to bother Tanya. She knew it was the nature of his job, and he couldn't drink, seeing as he was on-call for the night. They were the only non-couple there, so by default, they ended up sitting next to each other, sticking to safe topics - the weather, sports, and Livvie.

When she arrived at her studio, Bella found Mike already upstairs and passed out in her bed, which actually annoyed her. All she wanted was to have her bed to herself, that way she could stumble to the bathroom and lose the contents of her stomach in peace.

She closed her eyes and tried to block out the sun when the phone rang again.

"This better be good!" Bella screeched into her phone, not caring who woke her up this morning. It was only eight am for Pete's sake.

"Bella, it's your dad."

"Dad, it's too early, let me call you back when I am more awake." She mumbled, getting ready to turn off the phone.

"Bella, damnit!"

That got her attention. Her father rarely swore, and when he did it was serious. The last time he swore, he was telling her that her biological mother had passed away.

"What is it Daddy?"

"I need you to come down to Seattle University Hospital. There was a terrible accident."

"Dad, who was it. Not Sue or Seth . . ."

"Bella, it was Demetri and Tanya."


AN: I saw the previews for the new movie Life or Something Like It. I decided to give it somewhat of a Twilight twist. No I haven't seen the movie yet, it is just solely based on what I saw in the trailer. My husband rarely will sit through a chick flick with me, so I probably won't see it until it hits Netflixs.

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