A/N: This is an entry to the The Opposites Attract Contest. It was an exercise for me to see if I could write something other than E/B story. Well, I could BUT...in my head the whole time I wrote it, I was plotting how I could turn it into an E/B story. So, I will say this before you even get started on it, it will be a story where E/B end up together. I hope you enjoy the journey for these two...
Eternally Addicted and AnonymouslysufferingfromOCD(now you see why I always just say Jen?) both beta'd this thing for me, there were several songs that played on repeat while I wrote this:At This Moment-Billy Vera, Know Better-Elliott Yamin, Perfectly Lonely-John Mayer, Seven Days-Kenny Chesney.
As always I have polyvore sets for this story, the link is on my profile as well as a link for the banners I won!
Pairing: Edward/Maria, for now, eventually Edward/Bella. (I have at least two more chapters to post on this thing)
Summary: When Bella leaves Edward behind to go off to college, will he flounder without her? Or will a new model help him find himself?
Disclaimer: As much as it would please me to tell you that Twilight and all that it entails belongs to me, I can't do it. It is the sole property of Stephanie Meyer. I do love playing with her things tho, don't you?
Fade Into Me ~ Edward
I left the apartment and stood in the rain while I waited for a cab to stop. Because of the rain they were all busy, it's expected. New York is what it is and in the rain it is hell! I sounded bitter as this entire internal monologue played out in my mind and to be honest I really don't feel that way.
We were together for a while and I saw us drifting apart. We had been kids when we had started and let's be honest most high school romances don't last. I guess we could chalk it up to the fact that we had grown up and had changed. I didn't hate her and I certainly didn't blame her for going off to England when the offer had come up. She had won the scholarship over thousands of other people. Problem was, it left me alone now. I had gotten a new job, a new apartment and a new relationship status…single.
A cab had finally stopped for me and I climbed in. He beckoned for my destination and I replied, "JFK." I have a flight out to, at least, a sunny location. I checked my phone again to make sure that no last minute changes had come up. After I saw that things are all good, I sat back and watched the scenery go by.
I thought of Bella again. I thought of all the things we had done together. How I had run to her when my parents had been killed. How she had held me all night and had let me cry. I thought of how I returned the favor when her mother had left her with Charlie. She loved him, but it was still hard not to feel the sting of a mother leaving her only child. All the dances we had attended with all of our friends. It had never been about the dancing it had always been more about being with our friends. I thought back to the night in the back seat of my car and how she had given me her virginity. How she had never laughed at me when I had finally revealed that she had taken mine that night as well.
See the thing with us both was that we thought things through. We had planned, we had calculated and had never taken any risks. I guess that had been part of our downfall. We had stayed with what was safe. Bella and I had been two of a kind and on paper we had made sense. But in life…not so much.
I would never forget her words as she had spoken them to me that night. "Edward, don't you want to lay in your deathbed and say what a great life I had?" Her eyes pleaded with me to agree with her. I hadn't been sure I was strong enough to do it, so I had only shrugged. "I do," she continued, "I love you, Edward, with all of my heart. You're attached to almost every memory I have but we need more. I need more. I can't settle for what I've got. I have to try life on my own and see what I can make of it. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I think it is happening for a reason. I think we're supposed to go our separate ways." I tried to open my mouth to answer her but she stopped me. "Edward, I want a love that consumes me, a love that I know without a doubt that the other person is my soul mate. We don't have that Edward. We have meh…it is safe, comfortable and we are too damned afraid to step out of it. Well, it's time we grew up and took a real risk. Now's the time." She kissed my forehead and stepped back onto the first step of our big porch. "You'll do fine, I have faith in you. Go and live, Edward, go and enjoy life." She turned and ran before I could even stop her. Two hours later Esme found me as I stood there in the same spot on the porch, I leaned against the rail and tried to ponder what the hell I would do now. How I would live life without the carefully laid out plan that Bella and I had made all through our high school years.
She was right, we had loved each other but we weren't really in love. I had felt comfortable with her but I didn't burn for her. I didn't walk into a room and beg my feet to walk over to her so that I could simply touch her skin. And I have to admit that after watching my parents and later Carlisle and Esme, yes I did want that kind of love. Both couples showed me that it was possible, I just had to hold out for it.
Yet here I was two years later and still no attainable soul mate in sight. I had quickly finished my photojournalism degree and had gone to work. Esme had managed to pull some strings for me and I had gotten a job shooting models for a small but up and coming fashion magazine. Once I had gotten a little experience, I was able to book a few jobs at a time like the one I was rushing off to now. Me, a model, usually Peter and Charlotte, and a really nice location. It was up to me to make them look even more beautiful in pictures so that we could both make money. Not a bad life, if I do say so myself. The problem was that I was rushed from location to location and was never able to spend enough time getting to know anyone. And to make matters worse I settled in New York. I mean I do love this city; I'm just ready to feel like my life is stable. However, that's the last thing I feel right now.
I boarded the plane and settled into my seat, the one beside me was thankfully empty. I wish I had a name to apply to this 'offness' that I was still feeling after the last couple of years. I wanted to blame it on the fact that Bella had left but I really couldn't. We had been far from ready to spend the rest of our lives with each other. So in a sense she had saved us both from a mistake that would have ended up in the same place a few years from now with perhaps kids involved. Then where would we have been? Shit out of luck, that was where.
The stewardess had woken me up as the plane touched down with a loud shriek of the tires as they met the asphalt of the runway. I shook off the sleep that was still begging me to fall back into its comfortable arms and began to gather my stuff. My hands go to my bag that contained my laptop, camera and my wallet, the things that mean the most to me. I can do without clothes, I can buy those but to show up at a photo shoot without my camera would be inexcusable.
I had heard that this particular model, Mandy or something like that was extremely hard to work with. I wasn't ready to deal with that right now, for sure. I would just grin and bear it because this damn job paid way too much for some stuck up model to ruin it for me. Besides Aro had said he 'wouldn't take any bullshit from any of you new kids, I'll fire your asses so fast it'd make your heads spin'. That was certainly the last thing I needed.
I met up with Peter and Charlotte at the hotel. Peter was going to help with the location and lighting, while Charlotte would help with wardrobe, hair and make-up. I had worked with them before and knew they were going to be an asset on this shoot. Jasper, my best friend and brother in law, introduced me to them a few years back. If nothing else I knew that Peter liked to drink so I would enjoy the after shoot at least. We had all made plans to meet up at a local bar down the street before we separated in the hall to go to our rooms to drop off our stuff.
A shower and a quick change of clothes made all the difference in how I felt. The air was warm and balmy in Charleston so I dressed casually in shorts and a button up shirt. I messed with my hair and attempted to tame it before I left and walked the few blocks to the bar. I saw Peter and Charlotte as soon as I entered. They were huddled up at the bar with a large crowd. It was obvious that they had begun to play a drinking game by the chants and calls that surrounded them. I have to give it to Charlotte, once I made my way close enough to see for sure, she hung with the boys and out drank a few. In fact, she slammed her empty beer glass down on the bar only a fraction of a second after some local did. I say local because he definitely didn't have the look of a business man here for a short stay. His hair was long and his clothes looked like he had slept in then a few nights. As my eyes took in the other few participants in this game, Peter slammed his glass down and threw his hands up in air. He was certainly proud of his victory.
"What are you celebrating for; Charlotte kicked your ass, fucker." I slapped his chest as I roughly pushed my other hand against his back. I knew the movements couldn't feel that good with all that beer in his stomach. His green face told me I was exactly right about it.
"Yeah but I beat all of them." He waved his hand around as he indicated losers around him. "See each person that finishes their glass before you, you have to pay them ten dollars. So I only pay out twenty," His hand waved at the local and Charlotte, "But they," he waved at the losers again, "pay me." His half-drunk smile was priceless and I wished that I had my camera to capture it. "I win." He began to dance around in a circle with his fists in the air. When he began to bounce from foot to foot I expected him to yell, 'Yo Adriane!' Thankfully, it didn't happen.
"Well, Rocky, so glad for you but you're cut off because I don't want to deal with your attitude from a raging hangover. Come on." I grabbed Charlotte's free hand as she took in all of her winnings from the others. When her eyes met mine I tilted my head to indicate the direction I wanted us to move and she began to follow, she grabbed the last two ten dollar bills that were begrudgingly shoved in her direction.
"Woo, who knew South Carolina boys were so easy?" She counted and folded her winnings and stuffed them in the top of her bra. We talked, laughed, and drank for a while. We didn't drink a lot, mostly just nursed the beers we held. Tomorrow would come so fast for us and we knew that we needed to be on top of our game. Peter and Charlotte were almost like family to me so it was easy to just relax and enjoy their company. I also relished the idea of being with company that would not ask about Bella constantly.
As soon as that thought began I shut it down, I didn't want to spend tonight thinking of her. I wanted to enjoy tonight, to just be free from those confines and take it easy.
A few minutes later I saw her walk in. You know that scene in the movies when everything else stills around you and she walks by. Her hair swishes across your face and you fall instantly in love? Well it was almost like that but not quite. I saw her, she briefly saw me and then she turned to go in the opposite direction. The entire group of girls moved as one blob, they all talked at once, it was hard to make sense of anything within that little circle. I raised an eyebrow as I noticed that Peter intently looked from girl to girl, he weighed his options with them. I just turned back to the bar and took another long sip of my beer. I had lost count of how many we'd each had by this point, of course I knew Peter and Charlotte were both way ahead of me. I decided that we should cut our losses so to speak and head out now while each of us could still walk out the door.
The warm night air hit my face as we stepped back out onto the street. Peter gripped my arm and I held him steady, I prayed that if he was going to puke that he would either do it now or wait till he was in his hotel room. Just not on me. Charlotte must have understood my thought because she blanched and took a step back from him. I tilted my head and nodded my chin towards the road and hopefully gave the signal for Charlotte to hail us a cab. When she turned to step closer to the road I sighed. We just had to get Peter back to the hotel and quickly.
Just as the cab stopped curbside for us the door to the bar opened and she spilled out of it. She yelled, she cursed and she threw her hands around like a mad woman. I glanced at her from the corner of my eye and thanked whatever deity that she didn't see me and have that movie moment I joked about back there in the bar a few hours ago. I didn't want to be saddled with this woman for any length of time!
"Who the fuck does he think he is? He can't do this, I'll fucking show him! I mean it this time; I've had it up to here with him. If he even so much breathes at me the wrong way I'll end him," she fumed as another friend tried to end her Drama Queen tirade. She noticed me as I took quick glance at her and she took the opportunity to scream at me, "What the fuck are you looking at?" I turned away and pretended that I didn't know she was talking to me. We didn't have time to deal with the cops tonight, especially for this.
"Maria, he's just looking around, he's not looking at you." Her friend cooed at her.
"The fuck he wasn't, I mean really. You would think that a person could have a minor nervous breakdown in public and people would have the common decency to look away. Not him though, oh hell no, he has to stare at me." I had turned my back on them as I helped Peter into the cab. I climbed in and shut the door. We made our way back to the hotel.
Peter and Charlotte both stayed in her room so she could look after Peter. I made my way to my room. This is when it was the hardest to cope with Bella's absence- when I was alone at night, in bed. The time that we usually shared things with each other, we talked about our day and things that were going on. Most of the time it was by phone but it was still a routine for us. Perhaps it was habit more than anything else really but it still hurt that it was gone. I drifted off to a fitful sleep. Fitful described most of my life now, and it certainly described my sleep.
When I woke up just before the sun came up, I knew without a doubt that I couldn't go back to sleep. In a huff, I threw the covers off and made my way to the shower. The shower was doing a great job of calming my tense muscles but nothing to help the way my mind ran in circles. I over thought everything, I questioned and I just plain doubted myself. For once I wanted to live and let live, not worry. I resolved myself to just let it all go, to live and enjoy. No more worry wart Edward, this was my time. I was young, employed and for the first time in my adult life single.
I wasn't a jerk that would sleep with anything with two legs but fuck if I wanted to explore my sexuality then I would. I could learn who I was and just be me. I stepped out of the shower and wiped off the excess water with a clear head. I could do this, I would do this. I couldn't lay down and die because a romance didn't work out.
I texted Peter and Charlotte when I was dressed to let them know that I was going to head off to the location. I spent about two hours as I walked around to make sure that the three spots Peter had picked out were good ones. I agreed with his choices and found two more to stop at as well. When I made it back to the first location Charlotte had the model in her makeup chair and was busy as she made up her face. Peter paced around in a semi-circle while he chewed on his thumb nail. Something was definitely up because usually Peter was very laid back. My stomach lurched at the thought of more shit to deal with but I stepped up to him and asked for it right out right like a man. "You might as well go ahead and tell me now." I sighed and dropped my bag to the make shift desk for me to work from.
"Now, don't get pissed Edward. She doesn't seem to remember a single thing at all, only her friend does and she cautioned us both. So if you play your cards right she won't even know and we can all get on with this and be done. Okay?" I scratched my head as Peter talked because so help me God, I didn't understand a single word he said to me. I mean I understood them but they made no sense to me, at all.
"Peter, start that all over and this time include details that you left out the last time. Okay?" Peter nodded like a small child and started his tale all over again. Turns out what Peter meant was that our model for today was none other than the Bitchy Drama Queen from last night at the club. I seethed in annoyance. The good thing was that she didn't remember a single thing from then. I knew this because Peter said it like a million times to remind me. So I agreed with him that it was fine to just play it cool and get this job over with. Peter and Charlotte exchanged a short nod of the head while he went about his job and set up the first and second areas we would work with.
When Charlotte was done with Maria, she made her way over to me so we could talk about the shoot a little. I showed her on my laptop screen the five places I chose to shoot her and Charlotte showed her which outfits she would be wearing at each location.
Turns out her agent didn't think that people take her seriously any longer and wanted her to do some rather risqué shots to prove she's still got what it takes now that she had grown up a little. The instructions were clear, push the envelope, no cutsie little girl shots, all hot steamy sex sells kind of stuff. I would spend the whole day shooting pictures of a woman half-dressed and she was a bitch. It was going to be hard to inspire myself to make this work, if I did succeed, this would be some award winning shit right here.
We walked a few feet to set up the screens so they would filter the light around Maria while she got dressed or half dressed in her first outfit. When she stepped out I almost swallowed my tongue. She was beautiful, bitch or not, it would not be as hard as I first thought to capture her beauty on camera for the world to see.
A few shots in and Maria was a natural, she moved and posed like a pro, before I could even direct her to. She instinctively knew what to do with her body and how to make herself look even more radiant in person. Her skin glowed in the sunlight, the light natural tan highlighted by the clear blue ocean that crashed to shore in the background. We finished up there and we moved off alone to the second spot. She would stay in the same outfit so there was no need for Peter and Charlotte to follow with us. This was the first chance I had gotten to talk to her since the last hour or so I had just barked commands at her.
"So what do you think of the location?" I asked, unable to come up with something more intelligent to offer.
"It's beautiful here, but maybe I'm biased because I was born and raised here." She glanced at me shyly through the curtain of her hair. The long brown hair was bouncy and had highlights sprinkled through-out. It should have reminded me of Bella's but at this point in time it did anything but that.
"What do you mean? I thought you were from Brazil. According to your bio you are anyway." She chuckled as soon as Brazil left my lips.
"Yeah, Aro thought that had a much more exotic ring than Charleston, South Carolina. It's not all a lie though because my mom's family is from Brazil. I have a few great aunts that still live there." She shrugged and held up her hands that showed her indifference to the lie about her heritage.
"So, what else is a lie about you?" I wanted the words back as soon as I said them. She supposedly didn't remember and there was no need for me to stir the shit pot if I didn't have to.
"Well, some people say I'm a bitch but I don't think that's true." I choked on her words. When she spoke her next words I was taken aback by surprise once again at her sincerity this time. "I just found out that my baby sister's husband had beaten her again. I don't think losing my temper over that is any reason to call me a bitch, do you?" she asked as if I were a disinterested party and had no stake in this little conversation at all.
"No, I mean who the hell would do that to a completely non bitchy person such as yourself?" I grabbed my chest and feigned shock.
Her eyes turned soft and scared. "It's the third time he's done that to her and she is scared to leave. She's scared that he'll come after my parents or make trouble for me if she does. I told her to leave him no matter what." Her gaze dropped to our feet as they made contact with the sand. "My dad said he thought she would this time." I grabbed her hand and halted our progress.
"I'm sorry." The words were not enough to express the feelings I felt about my reaction to her tirade now. I understood and felt like an ass for the quick judgment I passed last night when I didn't know a thing about her or her situation before I judged.
"It's okay, I'm sure it didn't look innocent from your vantage point, I had to look like a bitch." She chuckled.
"Is she going to be okay?"
"Yeah, my dad says she will." She moved her thumb against the skin on the back of my hand and I realized that we still had our hands interlocked. I looked up to realize that we were at the jetty rocks that I wanted to have her pose on top of so there was no reason to let her hand go right now anyway. Besides if I'm honest with myself it felt so damn nice to be there to hold her hand.
I helped her up and sat her atop a large outcropping of the rocks with the sun positioned at her back. It glowed around her like a halo. I dropped the camera and just stood and marveled at her. She smiled for a few seconds, and then she began to fidget. I guess I made her uncomfortable. It was ridiculous to me that a model who was used to being looked at would grow uncomfortable under my gaze. I snapped the camera back up and began to click pictures of her.
The afternoon wore on and we took numerous shots at numerous locations with numerous outfits. In fact we ran through every single option that Charlotte had brought with her. We had nothing else to change her into. Charlotte suggested that we try some body paint on Maria. It was made to look like a sports jersey she would half wear but it was body paint. Body paint that on camera completely covered her, but in real life showed me every single detail of her beautiful body. I grew uncomfortable at that point in time. It was hard to hide the fact that I was turned on by Maria and the way she knew to move her body. I wanted to take advantage of my freedom and show her how I would spend hours appreciating her, worshipping her. Funny how last night I mourned that freedom and today I wanted to celebrate it. Life is ever changing.
E/N: I changed around the chapters a little to make them all match in size. Sorry if this confused anyone!