Age of Edward Contest
Penname: SeanEmma4Evr
Title: My Mona Lisa
Type of Edward: Renaissance Edward
Category: Young Adult (T)
POV: Edward Cullen

Voting is open from October 3rd to October 17th. I would really appreciate any and all support. You can vote for my story or any others at: http:/www(dot)fanfiction(dot)net/~ageofedward2010

Thanks for taking the time to read!



Rome, Italy – 1513


The flowers blooming bright red surrounded me as I walked to meet with a friend in his chambers near the Basilica. Her tempting scent preceded her, and I lifted my eyes just as she passed.

She did not look up.

As she continued down her path, I whispered, "My Isabella."

She did not hear me.


For the last seventeen years of my existence, I have had the pleasure of interacting with some of the most brilliant minds in the entire world.

The prestigious artists of the modern age have raised the status of visual art, giving it the type of recognition only poetry once received. Now painters were seen for the brilliance of the brush stroke. We were on par with the philosophical minds, and it felt liberating.

Well, some artists felt free. I, personally, was still restricted by numerous cultural constraints. Unlike my good friend, Senor Leonardo da Vinci, I have not yet made a mark as an artist.

And his eloquence and superiority have certainly established a mark on me.

"Wretched chalk can hardly…the barbaric thing…I have wasted my hours trying to-"

"Sir, do you need any assistance?"

"Fie!" he exclaimed, leaning over a nearly torn piece of parchment.

Ah, such a silver tongue.

"Master, your wit never fails to astound me."

"I'm not your master, boy," he harped, swiping his finger against his tongue and hastily brushing at rampant splotches of red chalk.

"Only because you refuse to take me on as a pupil," I mentioned, smiling as he pushed his long, silver hair away from his graying face.

"Well my first student did not bode well for me, did it?"

"I am willing to learn and yet you continue to push away my offers."

"You exhaust me, Senor Cullen!"

"Learning never exhausts the mind, so teach me and your fatigue might depart."

"I would be teaching you," he pointed out, stabbing at the air with his red chalk.

"Perhaps we could learn from the other."

As I paused he looked towards me, taking in my sullen expression.

"Something bothering you, Edward?"

I had been fighting my thoughts for weeks now, but I could no longer wait. The closer we came to a new dawn, the closer my canvas came to the woman of my dreams.

"I paint her tomorrow."

"Ah, a woman. It generally comes back to a woman."

"Isabella," I whispered, her name slipping between my lips like a cool stream. Even the mere thought of being in her presence sends a chill down my spine.

"I know of an Isabella. I knew her well, in fact."

"Did you love her?"

"I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection," he uttered, smiling as he continued long strokes against his canvas.


He does it often, and if he were not so brilliant, I might further question him on the matter. He would most likely insult me without myself even being aware. Despite his flamboyant tendencies, his mind revolves around subtlety.

"Do you love this Isabella?"

"It is irrelevant," I told him, walking past his walnut cassone towards his wall of drawings. I took in the images, in awe of his ability to capture the beauty of every minute detail.


"She is promised to another. Sir Michelangelo Newton."

"That swive is no sir. I believe I saw him in town just this past night staring at lady limbs. He hardly seems fit for marriage. I do not understand why his father feels…"

I listened to his grumbles as I took in the collage of drawings and portraits lined on the wall. The anatomy of a fetus inside a lady's belly made my insides curdle yet I could not bring myself to look away. There was a splendor in the structure of this human child even though I would never have the temerity to allow my father to fall witness to it.

My mother would surely faint.

Beside the drawing houses one of his few paintings. The lady in the portrait stared at me, her gaze piercing through my very soul as though capturing my innermost secrets. Her thin veil shaped her face and offered only a hint of the daintiness most respectable women seize with small hands.

Yet, the most startling aspect of her revolved around her mouth.

She was smiling.

"Her name is Lisa di Antonio Maria Gherardini," he said with reverence.

"She too belongs to another. She is wife of Francesco del Giocondo, a once fairly humble man. I heard he recently partook in politics. Pity."

"What do you call this one?"

"Mona Lisa."

I smiled hesitantly.

"My lady Lisa," I acknowledged.

"Suitable, is it not?"

"I do not wish to lie to you, sir."

"Then do not."

My left hand wandered to my hair, running through it from my brow to my neck. My father raised me to respect the truth and to never falter with lies.

I sighed, "You certainly arranged her properly as she is seated like a lady with regards to her hands and…she is quite fashionable. Most of the women in town have been wearing these dark silks for as long as I can remember."


"It is not my intention to offend you, but her veil is thin, her chest exposed, she stares at me and smiles," I rushed out in a single breath.

"You are incredibly observant," he noted with amusement.

I was unable to remove my eyes from the canvas.

"How could you finish it in such a way, sir?" I asked, genuinely curious. "You painted her as though she is…well, I think she might have a questionable reputation."

"Art is never finished, Edward, only abandoned," he tells me, sitting down in his beautifully crafted Dante chair, ease practically dripping from his ears. "And you are far too polite. You think I painted her like a common whore."

He knew I was uncomfortable. I could feel it.

"Edward, I painted my Mona the way I saw her. I did not care about what the town or the people would find acceptable. Certainly her husband would not have appreciated this piece. He commissioned this portrait to raise her social standing, not for the art. It is one of the reasons I was never paid."

"You never gave it to him?"

"No," he sighed, staring at the painting fondly. "When I die I wish to be buried with it."

"Why paint her like this? Surely the coins would-"

"This Isabella of yours," Leonardo averted, leaning on his knees, the chair creaking beneath the weight of his movements. "You love her, do you not?"

I released the breath I held the moment her name left his lips.

"I have loved her from afar. She has a beauty about her that she does not see. On the few occasions where I have interacted with her she has been dutifully aloof, a faithful lady to her future husband. I must admit I have been sinful in certain thoughts about her."

"We all have those thoughts, Edward. You are just one of the few who can admit it."

He smirked as though he knew something I do not.

"My allegiance to my faith has not hindered these thoughts. She has not bewitched me for such a beauty could never bring about harm. Isabella is kind. I have seen her slip coins to young peasants when she believes nobody is watching."

"You see her."

"Always," I admitted. "I am ashamed and disgusted with my deplorable actions, I assure you."

"It is not deplorable to love."

"To compromise her virtue by staring at her like I do is-"

"Natural, Edward. Accept and recognize this is the basis of life."

I shook my head, aware of his knowledge but skeptical of the validity.

"I love her, passionately and earnestly. Just the thought of her harmed leads me to imagine my own demise."

"If she were to die tomorrow?"

His question was easy to answer.

"I would follow."

"You are a martyr for her, boy. Yet she is to join in matrimony to another."

His words burned my heart.

"Sir Newton commissioned me to paint his future bride for the upcoming nuptials. He claims simplicity with elaborate details. He is not the wisest of men."

"I do not doubt you," he agreed.

We sat in silence.

"Paint from you heart, Edward," he finally whispered, his voice barely a breath. "Do not compromise like other artists. Paint what you see and what you feel."

"I do not want to tarnish-"

"You are your own keeper, Edward. Do not condemn your feelings for her simply because of who she is or who she plans to wed. You will regret it. Do not wait like me to fall in love. Paint this woman the way your love desires."

I felt provoked by his words. It felt as though he wished for me to satisfy myself rather than Sir Newton.

As if he had foresight, he continued, "I painted my Mona the way I saw her. And if you paint your Isabella the way you feel, at the very least you will have a part of her buried with you."

I opened my mouth to respond just as Leonardo strode past me and resumed his position in front of his red chalk piece.

"Now be gone. I am trying to capture myself and I cannot do that with your thoughts clouding my judgment."


I felt as though I had swallowed every wild beast in the vicinity. Pacing for the last hour had done nothing to cure my unease at being in Isabella's presence.

I knew I loved her.

I knew she was promised to another.

My mind was desperately trying to rein in my heart to give me the strength and courage to not present myself inappropriately. Screaming out my undying affection the moment she walked in the door would most likely send her back to her carriage.

I should have had some wine hours ago.

When I heard a firm rap on the door, I walked with haste towards the door, eager to lay my eyes upon my muse. I was not disappointed as I pulled my heavy door back, coming face to face with a tall Michelangelo Newton and my delicate rose behind him.

"Senor Cullen!" he exclaimed, throwing out his hand, taking mine in a strong grip.

"Sir Newton, it is a pleasure," I told him, before turning my gaze on the true pleasure. "Lady Isabella."

"Senor Cullen."

She curtsied, her dark eyes looking towards the floor before returning to my own.

Before I had the chance to take her hand, to speak with her, Newton interrupted, "Unfortunately I will be unable to remain in your chambers for the duration of this painting."

At this, I grew startled. Surely he did not mean to leave me alone with her?

Hours with only my beloved…

"But, Sir, you asked-"

"I am aware of what I asked. I hired you for your painting services and you will carry out this plan. I know from your previous work that you are more than capable of painting my lovely. We have discussed what I require, what else do you need?"

"It would be improper for the lady and I to-"

"I trust you to act as a common gentlemen and paint what has been intended. I have to see some patrons right now; it is all…I am sure you would not understand."

I did not respond.

My mother raised me to remain calm around the ignorant.

"I will return before Twilight. Hopefully you will have something for me by then?"

"Sir, it does take time for-"

"Just get done what you can. I need this soon as I plan to reveal it before my court and the town on our wedding day."

Without offering Isabella a farewell, he swept out of my chambers, leaving us alone with the sounds of common affairs outside my small window.

Unsure of how to proceed, I offered her my only word of wisdom:



Smiling softly, she replied, "Hello."

"Let us sit down and discuss, uh, what you would like for this portrait."

Shaking her head, she whispered, "My betrothed has already discussed what he wants and I trust his judgment."

She sounded resigned.

My heart hurt for her.

"Then let us begin."


For the next several weeks, Newton left to pursue other endeavors whilst leaving me alone with his fiancée. I outlined, sketched, and eventually painted my beauty on the canvas.

I acted like a gentleman and she a lady.

Neither of us breathed a word.


One evening I dropped my brush by mistake.

"I apologize, my Lady," I muttered, quickly removing the soiled brush from the floor.

"No trouble, Senor Cullen."

Her exquisite voice made me ache with desire.

I continued to paint.


"The day is lovely," she mentioned, staring out my window. "The skies are rich with the color blue."

Not expecting to hear her voice, I let out a startled gasp.

"I am sorry," she told me.

I did not have the decency or the courage to say anything else.


"Senor Cullen, why do you never speak to me?"

I lost another brush at her words, the instrument rolling from my fingers and dropping to the ground in shock.

"Lady Isabella, I do not understand your question."

"I have seen you in the town, Edward, staring at me," she said, no longer caring about formalities. "I do not understand why I receive such harsh stares from you."

"I stare harshly?"

"Well…sometimes I think you look in pain. Am I truly that awful, Sir?"

"No!" I yelled without thinking.

"Then please tell me what I have done to earn your disfavor?"

Her eyes shone with watery tears, moving me from my canvas to my knees in front of her.

"Isabella, I am so sorry for making you believe I…"


I let out a sigh, unable to hold my feelings in any longer.

"I did not know you even noticed me, let alone my gapes. I have…"

Leonardo's words whispered in my mind:

"Do not condemn your feelings for her simply because of who she is or who she plans to wed."

"Isabella, I have loved you from afar for my entire seventeen years. I have wanted to approach you, to ask for your father's permission to take your hand, since I first saw you."

Her eyes grew wide.


"Isabella, love, you are my life. You have been my life since I was a small boy and you are my life now."

She fell hushed, the tears shining on her cheek like beautiful jewels.

At her silence, I removed my eyes from hers. Clearly this young beauty had thought of me a cruel beast, staring at her like a common deviant. I had frightened her with my evil glare.

I was a monster.

"Edward, I-"

"What is the meaning of this?" roared the nasally voice of Michelangelo, bringing me from my thoughts.

I rose from my knees, prepared to explain my close proximity to Isabella, when I realized he was staring at my painting rather than me.

"You have…you have painted her like…"

I carefully walked towards my canvas, taking in the details of my stunning Isabella.

"She looks like a common whore!"

"This portrait-"

"She is smiling! Her lips…they are pulled back in a smile and she is staring at me! This improper, uh…"

At his loss for words, I explained, "You said to do what I can with this piece. I painted her in all of her beauty and glory. Isabella is-"

"How do you expect me to share this with the town?" he snarled, his face etched with an ugly sneer. "This is to be my wife and you have…"

"Michelangelo, he only-"

"I did not give you permission to speak!"

"Do not raise your voice to the lady!"

His eyes twisted from her as he took two steps in my direction, stopping a hair's breath from my face.

I did not move nor flinch.

I may have lacked courage around Isabella for years, but Newton did not intimidate me.

"I will not pay for your services. This is not a portrait. You have dishonored me by painting this."

Before I could explain further, he roughly took Isabella's hand and whisked her from the room.

He took her from me.

My Isabella.

My love.

It felt like I was burning.

It felt like he set my entrails on fire, removing every good and joyous feeling I had ever experienced.

Just as I moved to fall to the ground, to allow my misery to take over, I remembered:

"Paint from you heart, Edward. Do not compromise like other artists. Paint what you see and what you feel."

Leonardo told me to paint from my heart and I did. I captured the loveliest smile, the essence of Isabella the town refused to see in her shy exterior. I brought out her beautiful features and did not hide her doe eyes, capable of bringing any man before her tiny feet.

"Paint this woman the way your love desires."

Isabella's true spirit and beauty come alive with her smile. When she stares at me I feel as though we are the only two people in this world.

"I painted my Mona the way I saw her. And if you paint your Isabella the way you feel, at the very least you will have a part of her buried with you."

Where was Leonardo's Mona Lisa now?

With her husband?

With her family?

Not with her artist.

I would not let her go.

"The lion fell in love with the lamb, Isabella," I whispered aloud. "You are my life and I will fight for you."


As the sun dipped beyond my eye's view, I ran through the town, allowing the moon and the glowing stars to guide my footfalls.

I feared for Newton's anger and worried whether or not he took out my mistakes on Isabella. If so much as one hair was harmed on her head, I would-


I stopped running.

There, in the middle of the street, wearing clothes unfit for not only this hour but for the eyes of common men, stood my love.

"Isabella, love? What happened?"

"I told him no," she said, running to me and taking my hands. "I said no to his hand in marriage."

My heart pounded, beating loudly in my ears.


"I am in love with someone else. I always have been and I always will be."

This time, I was the one that stared in shock.

"I have never felt worthy of you, Edward," she admitted, her tears sparkling. "You were the prodigal son of a refined man and one of the most promising artists in all of Rome, and surely soon all over the age of man. What did I have to offer you?

"Your portrait was of me. You see me. You understand me in a way Michelangelo never wanted to know me.

"And today I realized I would rather die than stay away from you. I never wanted to marry him, but he offered me what I thought I could never have with you. It was always you. It will always be you."

For the second time in my life, I did not care about my propriety around Isabella. I pulled her to me and captured her lips in an earnest kiss, feeling her for the first time. I spent nights in my youth dreaming about these same lips and I did not do them justice.

Isabella was perfect.

When I released her, much sooner than I wanted, she whispered, "I love you, Edward."


The flowers blooming bright red surrounded me as I walked to meet with a friend in his chambers near the Basilica. Her tempting scent preceded her, and I lifted my eyes just as she passed.

She met my gaze.

I smiled, whispering, "My Isabella. Please, join me. I would like to introduce you to my good friend."

She gave me her hand.

All was well.


The End


Special thanks to Ambersunshyne. I could not have done this without you, bb.

My Mona Lisa is the work of fanfiction. The characters belong to Stephenie Meyer, but the featured story is mine.