This is just a short little story that I auctioned off to the lovely wime09 for the last FGB auction. She was amazingly patient with me, allowing me to finish LTIF before we even began talking about this fic. It was only meant to be a oneshot, but it grew so huge as I fell in love with these characters that she suggested, so I thought it would be presented best split up into smaller chapters. It's already finished and I'm planning on posting at least one chapter a day until I'm done.

Don't forget to stop by my author page for a look at the banner and the blinkie. There are pictures of Brazilian Bella there, if you are having trouble picturing her.

Mandatory disclaimer: I don't own Twilight or any of its characters. This goes for all further chapters as well.

Prologue: The Delay



I fucking hated delays.

It was the perfect ending to a shit-tastic day.

I had already spent way too long that afternoon dealing with the dipshit company I had been assigned to, trying to make sure that they really did understand the software package I had installed for them before I left for the airport. I hated needing to spend so much face time with the client; I was much better with computers than I was with people.

I had been there all week, from sunup to sundown, going over and over the programming with the supervisors and the interpreter, never once getting the feeling that they fully understood it. I didn't know if it was due to a shitty interpreter, since I didn't know much Portuguese, or just stupid employees. Perhaps it was a mixture of both.

Whatever the case, I had been there two hours past when I wanted to leave. Somehow I managed to make it from the far side of Sao Paolo to the Aeroporto Internacional de Guarulhos in record time, only to be informed that my flight would be almost an hour behind. It wasn't enough that the only flight direct to DC didn't leave until 10pm, but now I had to wait even longer.

Fucking Brazil.

I was so ready to leave I could just scream.

The sad thing was that I had been unbelievably eager for this trip. I had been curious about visiting Brazil for years, and each new assignment I was given had me hoping that it would be this particular part of the world I would be sent to. Yet now that I was here, I couldn't get home fast enough.

Not to mention that being in the airport over the holidays fucking sucked. What seemed like millions of families were all herding around, banging into each other, causing long lines and even louder noises.

You volunteered for the Christmas shift, asshole. It's nobody's fault but yours.

It probably didn't help that I had spent all my free nights combing the busy streets, wandering through every little tourist dive I could find, always telling myself that I was shopping for just the right souvenir to send home to my family as a Christmas gift. After two nights of constant browsing without making one purchase, I realized that what I was actually searching for was a certain pair of warm chocolate eyes.

And that pissed me off.

It's not like I actually thought I would find her again in a city so big, if she was even still here, but I despised the fact that I couldn't stop looking.

I never stopped looking.

Even in the women I rarely dated… but they were never right, either.

Only the day before, I had received a random text from a woman named Jane that I had agreed to go out with a few months ago during a stay in Colorado.

Hey Edward, Merry Xmas! When R U coming back to Denver?

Never would be too soon.

I had quickly fired off a polite version of when Hell freezes over, softening my reply with the prerequisite Merry Christmas.

She was nice enough, but I all I could remember was vapid conversation and cold blue eyes looking at me expectantly. I tried to explain that I didn't really date because of my crazy work schedule and the fact that I was never in one place for longer than a few days, but she wouldn't give up.

There was no delicate way to tell her that she never stood a chance.

Her eyes were blue.

And she wasn't her.

That had been months ago, and she had been the last straw. I hadn't even bothered pretending to date since then; I couldn't stand the emotionless sex any more.

Her text hadn't helped my already pissy mood, which remained for the rest of the week, never once allowing me to just enjoy the damn country I'd been curious about for years. Now, aggravated by slow-witted clients, furious about an hour-long delay, and touchy about my own foolish hopefulness, there was nothing left for me to do but growl loudly and shove my fingers through my hair when I realized that I had forgotten to pack my spare laptop battery in my carry-on luggage and I had already checked my bag.

Good lord, what else could happen to me in one day?

I left my laptop and carry on with the hostess in the VIP lounge before stomping off down the terminal in search of the duty free shop. I knew that the likelihood of them having another battery like mine was slim, but I figured I might as well stock up on some reading material if my laptop was going to die in about three hours after takeoff.

Five minutes later I was browsing through the magazine rack, hoping that I might get lucky and find a copy of PC World or CPU to read. I was just about to settle and grab an issue of Wired, when suddenly I heard a sound ring out behind me that made me stop in my tracks.

It was a laugh.

I stood frozen, staring straight ahead at the tech magazines, allowing the musical notes and vitality of the sound to slowly wash over me.

I would know that laugh anywhere, even after all these years.