The Vineyard

Prologue

When a man's wife dies, a part of his soul dies along with her. The question that Edward Cullen asked was, would he ever get that part back?

He looked out the window at the sea of people in black. When he married Tanya, he never imagined that this was how it would end. Granted he never thought about how it would end. He thought that they would have children, grow old and live comfortably. Since he was the second son, Edward didn't expect to inherit the family fortune. His older brother Jasper was the heir to the Cullen fortune. Instead, he went into the wine business.

Unlike most second sons, Edward didn't join the military. Instead Edward and his good friend, Emmett McCarty, opened their own business. After Cambridge the two took out a loan, bought a vineyard in France and found buyers who were interested in their product. They repaid the money they had bowered in less than two years. Emmett stayed in England and did the desk work. He was good with the business aspect of it all. He was a natural when it came to business and trade. Cut throat and fierce. Edward was in France for the majority of the seasons, only in England during the winter months. He oversaw the production of their product. He loved his job. He was married more to that vineyard than he ever was to Tanya. Maybe that is why his marriage failed.

The door to Edward's bedchamber opened and Irina stepped in. Her red hair had streaks of grey though out and was stacked atop her head. Her muslin gown was black to match to mournful look that rested upon her features. She stepped over to where he stood and looked out the window. They gazed at the guest. He watched his sister-in-law, Alice, be the perfect hostess. He was never jealous of Jasper. He never wanted to be the heir but he wanted the marriage his brother had. Tanya never gave him what Alice gave Jasper.

"Thank you Irina." Edward's hoarse voice broke the silence.

"She was my niece. It is the least I can do." Irina looked over at Edward. "You're a good man and you are doing well by Kate."

"I would keep her. I really would but she looks so much like Tanya and every time I look at her, all I see is her mother's betrayal." His voice was strangled and he had to fight back tears that threatened to escape.

"This isn't your fault. You were gone for almost two years and came home to a highly pregnant wife. Tanya was a fortune hunter and a social climber. She only wanted you for what you had and not who you where."

"Did you come here to gloat? You told me all of this before I married her. You said that I was better than that, better than her." Edward was silent for a moment before he whispered "I should have listened to you."

Irina didn't respond to his statement but instead asked something else.

"If she didn't pass, would you have divorced her?" She was curious about her niece's husband. She knew if she did what Tanya did to Edward to Laurent; her husband would divorce her on the spot.

"I value the sanctity of marriage even if she didn't. No, I wouldn't have."

"You're a better man than she could have ever asked for. She didn't deserve you."

Edward didn't reply. He wondered if a marriage to Tanya was a mistake. It was expected. He came from a good family and so did she. They danced at balls, he courted her, asked her father for her hand and he married her. It was custom, tradition; expected. Yet, he didn't know where it all went wrong. Maybe he should have forced her to come to France with him and live on the vineyard. He shouldn't have left her but business called him away. He should have let Emmett go. He didn't have a wife but Edward did. He didn't want to admit it but Edward hated England. He hated the rain. He hated the cold, the propriety and the customs. He hated the secrets, the lies and the untold truths of the upper-English class society. Tanya stood for all of that.

So does that mean that Edward hates Tanya? No, he loved her, just not what she stood for. Tanya was cold. She thrived on the gossip of London. She turned her nose down at anyone who was below her. She loved to host parties and to attend them. She abided by the traditional customs; separate bedchambers, clothes on during sex and in the dark. Tanya was always so proper and that is what shocked Edward the most about Tanya's affair.

The bedchamber's door opened again and Edward's thirteen year old sister, Rosalie, stepped in. Rosalie looked nothing like Edward. She was tall, blonde with ice blue eyes. She and Jasper favored their father while Edward favored their mother, Esme. Irina looked at the younger woman, nodded and headed toward the door. She paused and turned back to Edward.

"You're a good man Mr. Cullen. Remember that." After that, she left.

Rosalie walked over to her brother, linked arms and rested her head on his shoulders. The people below the window began to file somewhere that they couldn't see. They stood like that for a few moments before his little sister began to speak.

"Everyone is going to be leaving soon and Alice said that you should come down and see everyone out." Her voice was soft and sympathetic; which was unusual for Rosalie.

"It's my wife's wake. I can do whatever the hell I want." He snapped.

"Hey, don't get cross with me. I didn't have an affair." That was usual for Rosalie. He didn't understand where she got it from. Carlisle, their father, was extremely compassionate and their mother was loving. Jasper was a softy while Edward with drawled from everyone so he didn't really have the time to snap at anyone. Alice was, well, Alice. It was slightly impossible to classify Alice. Rosalie was the only one in the family who had a mean bone in her body; except Tanya, but Edward didn't count her as family anymore.

Rosalie linked her fingers through her brother's, led him to the door and down the stairs. The servants were milling about, cleaning after the festivities. Esme saw her son coming down the stairs and moved toward him. Edward bypassed her and headed toward the back of the manor. All five members of his family fallowed. When he went out the servant's entrance, his family stopped. It was the closest entrance to the family crypt.

They knew that they had to let him grieve; even if Alice wanted to pester.

He reached the gate to the graveyard and pushed it open. He didn't want to pause because if he knew if he did, he would turn back. He headed passed the tombstones of his ancestors and toward the freshly dug grave of his wife.

Childbirth was a common source to put a woman in an early grave.

He looked down at her and for the first time, Edward cried; tears of despair, tears of fury and tears of disbelief.

"Damn you Tanya. Damn you to hell." He paused. His entire body was shaking with fury. The tombstone held no mercy on him as he gazed on it. The pain was engraved within every word. Her name embroidered forever within the stone and coffin that was below ground. The ground still held mud from the evening rain. Edward was here to say his final goodbye.

"Why? Why did you do this? I gave you everything you wanted. Gowns, jewels, anything you asked for you had it. I let you stay in England while I went to France, for god's sake. Did you stay because of him? Whoever he is? Who, Tanya? Who? Who is Kate's father? You wouldn't tell me while you while you were alive and I know you can't have the decency to tell me now. You cheated on me while I was completely faithful. I had beautiful French woman throwing themselves at me but I turned my head because I thought you. All the while you were here screwing the brains out of someone else. Yet, you barley let me touch you. Was I that repulsive to you?" Edward paused, truly sickened with grief and bitterness. "Well, I guess it doesn't matter anymore, does it? You're gone and I am here to clean up your mess. I thought a year and half ago was the last time I would have to say goodbye to you but I was wrong. Goodbye Tanya and I hope you burn in hell because I won't have you." Edward spit on the grave and turned his back on it forever.

France 1830

After the betrayal and death of his wife, Englishman Edward Cullen is bitter by love. But when he meets a tradesmen's daughter who was everything his late wife wasn't, Edward finds himself giving his heart to a woman who he, in the past, would deem improper. With duties of society and burdens of the past pushing them in all directions, will the two lovers be able to give themselves everything their hearts desire?