Title: They Think I'm Dead
PostSecret Prompt: Everyone who knew me before 9/11 believes I'm dead. http:/bit(.)ly/feQfQI
Summary: Edward Masen is working in the World Trade Centers on 9/11 when the attack occurs. Carlisle Cullen is working in the WTC too, only he is a vampire. Edward attempts to save Carlisle's life and is severely injured in the process. Carlisle takes control of the situation, escaping from the building… AU, AH
•PostSecret concept created by Frank Warren. Recognizable characters and story elements are the property of Stephenie Meyer•
**This story contains very sensitive subject matter.**
*~*They Think I'm Dead*~*
September 11, 2001 5:37am
Oh god, shut it up. That damn alarm was going to end up out the window one of these days. I reached over and smacked it, then wished for just five more minutes. However, those five minutes wouldn't be sleeping I realized, as Bella snaked her arm around my torso. She began to kiss me with soft wet kisses while her free hand roamed down to the junction between my legs, stroking my already alert morning wood. What a way to wake up, getting fondled by the world's most amazing woman.
I moaned into her mouth before rolling her over and settling in between her legs. She wrapped her legs around my hips and tugged me forward, urging me to begin already. Who was I to deny her what she so wanted? I tested the waters to make sure she was ready for me, then slipped into her hot, tight core, building a slow rhythm.
Making love to Bella was like making love to no other. We fit together perfectly, moaning in unison, moving together in perfect harmony. As her climax neared I felt mine building. We culminated in accord of one another, perfectly synced as the waves crashed over us.
I got into the shower to begin getting ready for work. I was running a bit behind due to the impromptu nookie Bella had granted me, but who was I to complain? My shower was quick and I dressed for the day, button up shirt, tie, slacks, the whole works. My hair was its usual untamed mess but everyone was used to it by now. My boss, Carlisle Cullen, hadn't ever said anything about it.
I wasn't actually supposed to be working today, but Emmett McCarty had to go out of town on a family emergency, so I was filling in for him. I was supposed to be on vacation this week. Bella and I hadn't had plans to go anywhere, just staying at home enjoying one another. However, Mr. Cullen had offered me time-and-a-half, in addition to my regular vacation pay, if I filled in for him. Who wouldn't work two extra shifts for the price of three?
I grabbed my travel coffee mug, a pack of Strawberry Frosted PopTarts, and my briefcase, and headed out the door to work. Mr. Cullen liked us there promptly at 7:30am. I still had to get to the subway station and downtown, the ride from the Bronx was not short. I worked at One World Trade Center on the 98th floor. Mr. Cullen was an insurance broker for Marsh USA and I was one of his assistants, learning how to become a broker myself.
My neighbor, Leah Black, had helped to get me the job there. She was a secretary for Mr. Cullen and told me when there was a job opening. Normally, we rode together to work, but since I was supposed to be off work, she had gone in on her own.
I caught up to Leah in the lobby and we grabbed an elevator together. We chatted casually on the ride up, then parted ways at her desk. Mr. Cullen had an interior office, no windows, which was a bit weird for someone in his position. I had actually asked him about it once and he gave the excuse of his eyes being sensitive to the sun. I would have killed for a corner office if I was in his position.
Mr. Cullen had me taking some filings to an associate on the 94th floor, but I stopped at Leah's desk to see if she wanted to grab lunch with me today. We normally ate together unless Mr. Cullen had me working through my lunch hour.
Mr. Cullen caught up to me, as I was talking with Leah, to give me another file that he had forgotten. I took it from him and we all stood there chatting for a moment when my phone rang. I looked at the caller ID and saw it was Bella.
I excused myself and answered the phone to see what she needed. She normally didn't call me at work.
"Hello?" I answered it.
"Edward? Are you ok?" Bella asked tentatively. This wasn't a normal question for her.
"Yeah Bella, I'm fine," I tried to assure her but she didn't sound assurable.
"Are you sure? I've had a bad feeling all morning and can't seem to shake it."
"I'm fine baby. I was just discussing lunch plans with Leah."
"Ok… Well, I guess I'll talk to you later…" Bella said but I wasn't paying any attention to her.
My gaze had been diverted to the window at the far end of the hallway, at the plane, the plane…
"FUCK!" I screamed out and grabbed Leah, pulling her with me as I began to push Mr. Cullen towards the other end of the building, towards his office.
I barely registered Bella screaming into the phone at me. Glass was shattering all around, debris was flying at us… Smoke… Fire… People screaming…
Leah had fallen back some and I turned to pull her along when my eyes went wide. Chunks of cubicle walls were flying everywhere, sharp shards of metal framing became deadly projectiles. Leah screamed as I tried to shield her body, but it was too late. A piece of metal from a cubicle wall sliced through her abdomen, splitting her open.
Mr. Cullen grabbed her and pulled her along the hallway, amidst screaming people, smoke, flames. I went with them, my phone call forgotten, the line dead. Mr. Cullen barricaded us in his office as he checked Leah over. It was too late, we were too late. Leah was dead, her eyes open but blank.
I heard a silent prayer fall from Mr. Cullen's lips as I looked down and saw the twisted piece of shrapnel jutting out of my stomach. There was blood seeping out and I could just tell it was bad. I reached out and touched it, sending jolts of pain coursing through my body. I fought the darkness that started to shroud my eyes but it was hopeless.
I floated in the darkness, thinking about Bella… Her in the summer on vacation, sunbathing on the beach… Under the mistletoe hanging from Times Square on New Year's Eve… In my arms at our wedding, dressed in all white… Her face as her orgasm coursed through her… I remembered every face, every look, every touch of hers.
I began to feel cold and knew I was dying. I hoped Bella knew how much I loved her, how she would forever be mine in body, soul, and heart. I squeezed my eyes tight as the darkness began to fade, unwilling and unwanting to face death head on. But I was brought back to, Mr. Cullen bent over me cursing absentmindedly.
I had been in and out of consciousness for a while now, unaware at the time that Mr. Cullen, Carlisle now given the situation, had stayed with me instead of trying to escape, to save himself. I registered his suit coat pressed against the bottom of the door, trying to keep out the smoke that still seeped in. Breathing was becoming slowly difficult, and the pain that had been coursing through my abdomen was now numb. In fact, most of my body was numb now.
My phone was ringing and I tried to put it to my ear, to answer it. I knew it was Bella. I had to tell her goodbye. I had to tell her how much I loved her. I had to…
Carlisle took the phone from me and answered it, holding it to my ear.
I had been at laundry all morning, cleaning to try and get rid of this nagging feeling I had that something was wrong with Edward. I felt a cold chill right down my spine like someone had stepped on my grave and decided to suck it up and call Edward, just to hear his voice and be reassured.
"Hello?" Edward answered the phone.
"Edward? Are you ok?" I asked tentatively. I didn't know how to tell him about my bad feeling without him thinking I was being stupid.
"Yeah Bella, I'm fine," Edward assured me but I didn't feel the reassurance I normally would have. Something was still off.
"Are you sure? I've had a bad feeling all morning and can't seem to shake it."
"I'm fine baby. I was just discussing lunch plans with Leah."
"Ok… Well, I guess I'll talk to you later…" I said but Edward didn't respond.
"FUCK!" Edward screamed out and I heard an explosion and people screaming.
I started screaming into the phone at Edward, begging him to answer me but he didn't. I kept screaming as the line went dead and I slumped to the floor.
I lost all track of time, space, sense. I didn't hear it when Jacob broke through my door, didn't register him pulling me to my feet, didn't hear him screaming my name. I didn't feel it when he picked me up and took me to the living room, turning on the TV to the horrific news, the attack on the World Trade Center, building One, the building our spouses worked in together.
Jacob sat there tensely, staring at the screen, constantly dialing and redialing his cell phone, attempting to contact Leah, to see if she was ok. Reports were being broadcast about the plane, possible terroristic plans, the rescue efforts being enacted in an effort to save as many as possible. But I knew it was too late for Edward, too high up.
I remember hearing that the plane hit between the 92nd and 98th floors, Edward's floor being the uppermost floor of impact. I heard the screams…they told me what I already knew…there was no hope. He was gone, she was gone…
Jacob was pacing, screaming, cursing, calling. My phone kept ringing and I looked each time, but it wasn't the number I needed to see, it wasn't Edward.
I tried calling him several times, just to hear his voicemail, his voice even if it was a recording but the circuits were always busy. I kept calling though, especially after the second plane collided with the South Tower at 9:03am.
I didn't even register my screaming as that plane flew towards the building, much too low for anything other than an attack. Jacob's arms were around me as we cried together, cried for Edward and Leah, our loves, the loss.
I called again and finally got the ringing of a connected call. I waited with bated breath for Edward to answer. When he did, his voice sounded so frail that I knew that he had been injured, that he was dying.
"Bella…" Edward said weakly into the phone, his breath labored.
"Edward, oh god Edward, I love you baby!" I choked out between heartbreaking sobs. Jacob was beside me, holding and comforting me, pleading with me to ask about Leah with his eyes.
"Bella… I lo…" Edward tried to say but he choked on his words and tears, his sobs sounding painful. I heard him take a labored breath before speaking again, "I love you Bella, I'll always love you."
"Edward, don't go, baby. Don't hang up. Talk to me. Stay with me. Don't leave me, Edward," I pleaded, screaming into the phone, my body tortured with my cries. I could hear the defeat in his voice, the detachment of death.
"I'll never leave you, Bella, never…" Edward said with a raspy, strangled voice.
"Never… Never, Edward. You'll be with me forever," I cried back to him. This was it, our goodbye, the end of it all. But I had to ask him one question. "Leah?"
"No," Edward whispered before coughing, choking on something. I looked up at Jacob, the tears never ending down my cheeks and slowly shook my head. He let me go and sank to the floor, clutching his hair in his hands, rocking back and forth, moaning in strange, wracking sobs and cries.
"Edward, talk to me baby, just talk to me, don't let go, baby. Just stay with me," I pleaded when I didn't hear anything from his end. I was staring at the TV as I spoke to him, watching the horror while listening to it through the phone. I could hear screams in the distance, people begging for rescue, salvation, and even death.
"I'm here, Bella. I'll always love you…" Edward trailed off as I began to scream with the newscasters. The South Tower was collapsing, disintegrating into smoke, dust, and rubble.
I screamed for Edward to talk to me but the line was dead again, communication totally cut off as the South Tower fell into nothingness. Cameras were obscured by the debris cloud and people ran for their lives. Jacob had snapped out of it and sat beside me on the couch, clasping my hand as we stared at the TV in total silence, too stunned to even cry audibly anymore yet the tears still fell down our cheeks quietly.
I had been staring at the screen, absently flipping back and forth between the multiple stations reporting the attacks, hoping to hear some news about a rescue in the North Tower. I clung hopelessly to the hope that Edward was somehow still alive, that he was going to make it, get out on his own or be rescued. But, if Leah was dead already there was little hope of a rescue. Edward's floor was the top of the impact zone. There were reports of that area being completely cut off, a rescue being impossible.
The image on the screen suddenly zoomed in and I didn't register myself screaming right away. The North Tower, the building my husband, Edward Masen, and my best friend, Leah Black, were in was collapsing.
The debris cloud quickly obscured the view of the building as people ran from the collapsing mass of steel, concrete, fire, and bodies. As the North Tower collapsed, taking my husband to heaven, I collapsed with it, into the safety of darkness and numbness.
My mother and father were in front of me, talking softly to someone. When did they get here? They lived in Hoboken, NJ. Wouldn't travel be shut down between there and here, the Bronx, Kingsbridge area specifically.
I looked up and saw Jacob there, speaking with my father, his shoulders hunched and shaking with silent sobs that still plagued his body. My body was oddly devoid of any reaction, shock…that was the word I heard my father say when he mentioned me. Jacob nodded at my father's assessment. My mother was petting me, stroking my hair, but I didn't feel it, I was numb.
I realized that I was in the shower and turned the water off. When did I get here? Did I even need a shower? What was the point when the reason for my life, for my heart to beat, no longer had a heartbeat of his own? Edward was gone and, with him, so was my heart. I couldn't even feel it beating in my chest. It was as silent as his; I was as devoid of life as he was.
The news was still broadcasting, rescue efforts underway, searching through the debris for any survivors, though the hope was slim. They had found two survivors and were in the process of rescuing them, but neither were Edward. I knew he was dead. The reports confirmed that it was impossible for anyone on his floor and above to have escaped.
I remembered that Building Seven had also collapsed during the day, that the Pentagon had been attacked, and that a flight had gone down in Pennsylvania after the passengers fought back in order to save other's lives since theirs were doomed. Thousands were dead, more were missing, and Edward was amongst them all.
September 11, 2003
It had been two years since my death, since I became Edward Cullen instead of Edward Masen. Everyone who knew me before 9/11 believes I'm dead. I don't remember my death as a human, or the events that caused that death. I did remember my Bella, though. She was the one memory I held onto through it all, through the numbness, the cold, and then the fire.
At first I thought that I was burning alive in the building, holed up in the corner office with Carlisle. But, when I opened my eyes and began screaming, I didn't see flames around him or me. I did remember Carlisle's skin sparkling in the light through the broken window. I knew then that I was dead, that Carlisle was an angel, or that I was hallucinating.
Three days later I found out the truth, what Carlisle really was, the reason for his strange eye color, the interior office, his long hours to avoid the sunlight. I also found out what he had done to me.
I had been fatally injured while trying to shield Leah and Carlisle. The same metal that ended up killing Leah had set about my demise as well. Carlisle told me how I promised to never leave Bella, how I tried to console her, even as I lay there dying, I tried to make her feel better. He said he saw something in me, something that he hadn't ever seen in a person before or since. He couldn't name what he saw but it was ultimately the deciding factor for him to make me like him, make me a…a vampire. I still had trouble thinking the word, let alone saying it. But it was what I was. I lived for blood, but not human blood.
That day, in the tower, Carlisle had bitten me to make me like him, to infect me with his venom. That was the burning I felt. Once he had filled me with his venom, had started the change, he remove the metal instrument of death from my abdomen and sealed the wound with his venom.
Then, as the building began its downward descent, he picked me up and waited at the window for the right moment. He told me about how the ground seemed to be flying upwards to meet him, how he had to time the jump just right in order to remain undetected and be able to escape the rubble collapsing around us.
He told me how he leapt and took off running through the cloud of debris, of concrete, gypsum, and glass flying around us. He sought refuge in the subways to remain undetected until nightfall, where he took me home. He packed that night and we left the city, heading up towards the Canadian border, to a rural area full of plenty of wildlife.
It was there that I woke as my new self and learned what I had become. I fought against him but discovered that I could hear him, his thoughts. That freaked me out more than what I had become. But, his thoughts told the same story that he had told me verbally. His sincerity rang throughout his words and mind, making me unable to doubt anything he said.
I've spent the last two years perfecting my control around people, committing myself to my new life and diet, and preparing myself for what I was about to do. I hadn't told Carlisle my plans and left while he was out hunting.
I ran through the day, obscuring myself in the trees, listening for anyone I might come across in an effort to avoid them. And at nightfall I found myself in my backyard, listening to Bella's heartbeat in our house. But her heartbeat wasn't the only one in there.
I heard her voice through the walls, talking to someone named Anthony. My heart broke all over again as I figured she had moved on, found love again. But, that thought was quickly banished when I heard Anthony's voice call her 'mama'.
Mama? Bella had a child? I crept closer and peered in through the kitchen window, almost passing out when I saw this Anthony. He looked just like I had as a child…
I flew from the house as I tried to process what I had seen. Bella had been pregnant and hadn't told me? Would she have done that? As I processed this I realized something, I hadn't been able to hear Bella's thoughts.
I crept back to the house and watched through the window as she took care of Anthony. He had my hair, my eyes, my crooked smile. He was mine! I had a son! This awareness made my plan obsolete. I had come here tonight under the idea of turning Bella, making her like me. I had spent every day of my new life thinking about her, consumed with thoughts of her. I wanted her with me, selfish as it was. But now, she had something else, someone else to live for. She had our son!
I continued to watch as she tended to our son then put him to bed. I waited for her to go to sleep before sneaking into the house. I tiptoed to our room first, to see Bella again up close and personal. I needed to be near her one more time. However, her scent caused a burning like I had never experienced before and I found myself running from the house in search of prey.
I had been training myself to handle Bella's scent. Anthony's was not nearly as potent as hers, but it still was stronger than other human's I'd encountered in my short life. But each night I would spend time in the house, each night one step closer to their bedrooms, their sleeping forms, their beating hearts. I still couldn't hear Bella's thoughts, and found that Anthony's were also silent to me. It unnerved me to not be able to hear what they were thinking.
I was first able to be in Anthony's room. When I first stepped in there I was astounded by the tribute Bella had erected to me. His room was covered in pictures of her and I, and solo ones of me. She wanted him to know his father.
I would sit in his room, night after night, rocking silently in the chair or standing over his crib. He slept just like I used to, when I could sleep. He was always on his side, one leg cocked up, his arm thrown over his eyes. He also sucked lightly on his bottom lip, a trait that I had had since childhood.
One night, after I had been coming to his room for a few weeks, I reached out and touched him. My hand was laid on his back as I felt his breathing form, his pulsing blood in his veins, and his warmth. I felt no desire to kill him, to drain him dry. He was my son, how could I hurt my son?
That night, after I had been able to touch him, I entered Bella's room for the first time since gaining control. She was on her side of the bed, clutching onto a body pillow that laid in my spot the same way that she used to clutch onto me.
Even though this was my first time coming in here fully, I knew it would be my last. I was not part of her life anymore, and I couldn't bring her into mine. I would always return to check on them, keep myself updated on Anthony's progress, on Bella's life.
I knew one day that Bella would probably find another, find someone else to love. I knew that day would hurt when it did occur, but I would let it happen. Bella deserved the world, and all the happiness in it. But, I would be watching, waiting for him to mess up, to hurt her, and I would hurt him, at least in thought.
I talked to Bella that night, told her how much I loved her and how much I always would. I told her how I would forever watch over her and Anthony, protect them from all that I could. I told her how I wanted her to be happy, to find love again… My voice had broken during that part but I knew that Bella would want the same for me if the roles were reversed.
After I told her everything my heart and mind could tell her, I slowly leaned down and brushed my cold lips across her fiery ones, one final kiss…
"I love you, Bella, and always will. I'll never forget you or Anthony and love you both with all my heart. Goodbye, Bella."
I ran from the room and the house, my heart breaking into a million unbeating pieces as my feet flew over the ground. I kept running, all through the night and into the next day, my heart in pain and my mind replaying my goodbye to Bella.
As I found my way back home to Carlisle, my steps began to falter. I didn't know how to tell him where I'd been, what I had done…
I entered the silent house and found Carlisle standing before the fireplace, his mind totally silent. He turned to face me and saw the look on my face. He remembered his own face as he had done the same thing, from when he had said goodbye to his human life for the last time.
Carlisle pulled me into a fierce embrace and whispered, "I know, Edward. I know."
I closed off my heart at that moment and embraced my new life, my life as Edward Cullen, my life without my wife and son…