Full Summary: When a mysterious young man (with the key to unlock the answers she craves) comes into the life of 18 year old Bella Swan, her life is turned upside down as she travels through the worlds of the most beloved books of all time, searching for their parents and the truth about their past.
(Yes, this means that Bella and Edward will be living out the lives of the characters in some famous classic literature.)
Disclaimer: Twilight and its characters belongs to Stephenie Meyer. No copyright infringement is intended.
A/N: Hello all, thanks so much for taking the time to check out this story. It's my first venture into fanfiction writing... so I would really appreciate and adore all reviews and helpful information you have to give. I have to give a huge thanks to Project Team Beta for taking on this story. My beta's for this chapter were Gigi Scott and HerMightyUbergeekness. They were splendid! :)
There is something about words. In expert hands, manipulated deftly, they take you prisoner. Wind themselves around your limbs like spider silk, and when you are so enthralled you cannot move, they pierce your skin, enter your blood, numb your thoughts. Inside you they work their magic.
It was late August. The sun had yet to say good night to a dessert sky, cotton candy and orange sherbet fighting for dominance. When I arrived home from my last class, light seeped through a small door window casting a pale patch on the pavement of my porch. I had gotten into the habit of leaving the hall light on when I left for the day. No one liked to return home to a dark, empty house. Having no prospects for company, I controlled the absence of darkness. It was because of said routine that I was able to easily spot a small, white, rectangular envelope waiting for me in the sliver of light. I picked it up and slid my key into the lock. My bright, empty apartment welcomed me with comfortable silence.
A letter, for me, was nothing short of an event — and not because the process of actually composing a letter was fast becoming a lost art form. It's not that I didn't enjoy people, just that I preferred books. Friends are few and far between when you would rather read than go out and party. I examined the envelope more carefully, flipping it over twice as I walked into my kitchen. It was slightly bloated, with the top right hand corner folded down. It's appearance gave the impression of the letter winking at me, mocking me with the knowledge of its contents.
Someone had gone through a lot of trouble getting me the letter. What stranger thought enough to write me when I had gone about my day unsuspecting? Elegant script spelled out my name in big, bold letters: B E L L A S W A N. The lack of address and postage alerted me to the fact that the sender most likely delivered it personally. I made myself a cup of Earl Grey and found my way to the office.
The room was almost barren. A large, blue egg chair was in the middle of the room, facing a wall adorned by two large portraits that were evenly separated. I took a tentative sip of the tea before placing it on a small side table that was situated between the chair and a massive, open window.
The first portrait was of my father, reading in his favorite leather club chair, completely oblivious to the person behind the camera. I inherited his passion for the written word. We shared a favorite feeling — the moment when you get lost in a book, when your world starts to pale out of existence, losing its color and vibrancy, as you sink yourself slowly into the pages of a different reality. The photograph captured the level of dedication to that world, which lay open in his hands.
The portrait's partner was of my mother. This too, I had inherited from my father. It was artistically altered in black and white, save for the single yellow tulip she held to her nose. Her dedication strayed from words and settled in the fragrance and beauty of everyday reality — one that was decidedly too brief. She died shortly after giving birth, leaving me her milk chocolate eyes and short temper. Everyone that had known her spoke highly of her, but how else would they to her lone child? They would always give me a sympathetic smile, sometimes a pat on the head, and then tell me how lucky I was to still have my father. My "luck" ended the day I turned sixteen.
I slowly opened the letter, hearing soft rips as my patience ebbed away. There were half a dozen pages of cardstock, folded thrice times neatly. It was written in the same script that embellished the envelope. There was a photograph stashed in the back, but it was left forgotten as I feasted on the first page. It began, as most letters often had, with a name. "Miss Swan" inquired for my personal attention and was all it took to seduce me into its letters, words, and sentences. It read:
I often sit upon this windowsill, debating what I would write to you, given the opportunity. How must one start a letter to a practical stranger? "Shall I give her my story?" I would ponder, but then once started, think better of it. "Shall I tell her what I know of hers?" My next option being slightly worse than the first each thought thereafter becoming more unworthy than the last. This windowsill, though it provides a breathtaking view of my favorite meadow, does not offer much light on the subject of letter writing. Unfortunately, it is my belief that a story left untold festers and rots, molding in the stale air of silence. Neither story of ours is destined for such waste.
It has not gone without notice that our lives could be mirrors of each other, Bella. My mother, Elizabeth Masen, who some would say had an unnatural appetite for literary works, raised me on her own. She brought me up on literature, much like your father did after your mother passed. Words became my closest companions when actual children my age remained absent. I was kind, but not outgoing enough to garner their interest. If I am to understand correctly, words were closer to you than actual people were as well, yes?
Unfortunately, like your father, my mother disappeared on September 13, 2004. I had just turned seventeen and was starting my senior year of high school when I went to live with my aunt Esme and uncle Carlisle. They are wonderful guardians, of course. Those who take in orphans (willingly and enthusiastically) usually are. They are caring and tolerable, and most importantly, honest.
If my foster parents have taught me anything, which they most assuredly have, it is to remain honest to those around you. With that lesson, I must tell you that I have known of you for quite some time. When my mother disappeared Esme sat me down and explained everything to me. I do not think you were given such luxury of knowing what happened to your father —especially if you have yet to read his journals. My mother, like Charlie, left journals. I did not wish to read hers. I felt it a disservice to her memory, thinking her dead. Esme showed me the gravity of that mistake.
Carlisle and Esme kept up a constant search for her. Posters around our hometown and surrounding cities asked passerby "Have You Seen This Woman?" No answer or lead came our way. It was then that they showed me the journals and letters my mother had left, and told me of my heritage. They started to look in places ordinary people cannot access. Only, now they have begun the search into Wanderlust, I'm afraid they, too, will disappear.
Bella, I would like to talk to you in person. I want to explain what I know of the disappearances and hopefully find our parents. Our parents disappeared on the same day, and I believe they are together. I also have an idea of where they are. Please meet me tomorrow at 10 for coffee at the shop on the corner of Eagle and State Street. I need your help to find my family, and yours. I am begging you.
His words left me spellbound. I couldn't say how long I sat there, in my big reading chair, reading the letter and digesting the words. I pulled the enclosed picture out and scanned the faces in the soft glow of the moon, which had, by then, risen high in the sky. It was well worn, with a white crease down the middle, creating a disjointed line between two couples. The couple on the left was my mother and father, smiles plastered across their faces, arms around each other. The other couple appeared equally happy and in love. The woman in the second couple was what one would call a classic beauty. Her smile was coy and secretive and her eyes danced with delight. The man stared at the woman to his right with complete adoration on his face. It was heartbreaking and hopeful to look at. If "Edward" was their child, I could only imagine what he looked like.
Edward's words, while captivating, confused me. What was the "Wanderlust?" and how did you get there? Did his heritage allow him access? The only way I was going to get answers I craved would be to go to meet him tomorrow. I wanted information on my father's disappearance.
I had been the last to see him. I was reading in my room when he knocked four times softly on the door. It was our signal – the one we used to tell each other to stop reading. I reluctantly dragged my eyes away from the pages of Sense and Sensibility to say a quick good night to him. He had laughed at the fact that I was reading Austen, holding up a well-loved copy of Pride and Prejudice himself, before heading into his bedroom. I went to sleep shortly after, and when I awoke, he was gone.
If Edward really had information on my father's case, there left no choice in the matter. I would meet him the next day and find out what he knew about this Wanderlust business, but more importantly, my past.
A/N cont: Please give around a week / a week and a half between updates. It's mostly all written out, but real life happens. Plus, it desperately needs beta'd. ;)