Next to you
"To the world you're just one person,
but to one person you're the world."
Bellamy Brothers – You're The World
I can still see you dancing; I can still see you looking over your shoulder at me with that smile that belonged to only me. I can see everything. I can still feel your kiss on my cheek as I drift off to sleep, I can still feel you in my arms late at night. I can feel everything.
As I sit in the church all I can feel is our life together. I can't feel the squeezes on my shoulder as people convey their sympathies. All I can see is our life together. I can't see the flowers or picture of you sitting at the front of the church.
The day you left me began like any other. We had crossed the busy road, so different from the roads of our youth, and parted ways at the other side. This was our routine; you went to the library to volunteer with helping young children read, you hated the retired life, and I went to the park to play Chess or to the local bar to hang with the old gang until it was time for us to go home again. I can still see us standing there, canes in our hands and a sweet peck goodbye before we walked in opposite directions. I had turned back to look at you one more time and I swear I could see the shadows of our youth dancing on the wall.
Those were the days.
We saw it all; the depression, the music, the scandal, the booze and the dancing. We were some of the few who brought down the class barriers to love without shame. We met at the theater, you a sweet young rising star with the doe like eyes, and me a young heir trying to free myself from the shackles of tradition. I still see us as we once were. Young and so recklessly in love.
I loved you without any shame. I still love you without any shame.
I want to return to the shadows of our past and hold you one last time.
New York 1933
Looking around you wouldn't believe our country was in the middle of a depression. The radio and the newspaper might try telling us that things were improving but I knew better. While old money and the entertainment business seemed to be some of the areas thriving, there were still plenty of businesses suffering - no one was safe. Some of my old college friends' families had invested their 'old' money in the wrong banks losing everything. I was lucky. I knew this. But I couldn't help looking around and thinking it inappropriate that we were all standing here sipping champagne and laughing like there wasn't a care in the world when there were families with no homes and people starving outside. No we were too busy, like many across America, celebrating the end of the prohibition no matter how inappropriate or tasteless it was.
I know for a fact my mother and father are not tasteless or inappropriate and they have had some hard times but I was shocked they had wanted to come here tonight. My sister Alice and her fiancé Jasper, an oil heir, joined us as well as my brother Emmett and his wife Rosalie, Jaspers sister. I understood they all wanted to have a little joy before Christmas and forget about the outside world, but I could not. Looking at my family and in-laws I figured it was probably easier to take your mind off things when you had somebody to help you. That did not help my mood.
With a sigh I moved towards the back of the room, trying desperately to ignore the longing looks Miss Denali gave me. I wish the staff would just lead us to our seats. I wanted this night to be over with; I needed to get back to my writing.
I was debating whether to just leave before the show started when the most beautiful sound reached my ears. I turned around to find the source of the noise when my eyes landed upon a girl standing next to my sister who took my breath away. Her head was tilted back while she laughed; I instantly registered the soft pink lips, the big brown doe like eyes, the cute little nose and the heart shaped face that held these features. I also noticed that her hair was quite long which went against what seemed to be the fashion amongst the women, but it was in beautiful waves and held up on one side by a diamond pin of some sort. Her dress was dark blue highlighting her pale skin, which almost rivalled the snow outside. The dress fitted her form beautifully, the bottom of it flaring out and covered in feathers. I knew then that she must have been one of the actresses or dancers. Glancing around I noticed that several of the cast were walking around sharing champagne with the other audience members before the show began. I saw that all the other theater girls were in white and had short hair, which meant my new angel was the star of the show. I glanced back towards where she and my sister were still talking with one another. My sister was stroking some of her dress to which the angel smiled and gave the most graceful twirl. It was then I caught the back of her dress and her exposed back. I wanted to be next to her.
I was about to make my move across the room when I felt someone beside me. I was shocked when I glanced down and saw Miss Denali. She gave me a friendly greeting before looking over towards Alice and the angel.
"Beautiful isn't she?" She pointed her glass towards the angel.
"Very." I replied honestly gazing over to where she pointed. Miss Denali, Tanya, may have hoped for us to be husband and wife one day but she was not for me. I was sorry for that because she was a lovely girl to look at but rather dull to hold a conversation with. I also got the feeling she only wanted to be with me for my money, rumour was that her family business was close to ruin.
"I would love for you to look at me with one fraction of the way you are gazing upon her," She gave me a wistful smile. "Her name is Isabella Swan, she's the new rising star"
"Isabella." Even her name was beautiful. I gave Tanya a polite smile goodbye but before I could leave I felt her arm on mine and I turned around to face her.
"Be careful Edward, these actors and actresses are very different from us and need money and stability more than you can imagine, you could be a meal ticket to her," she warned.
I gave her a small smile before I removed her hand "Take a look around Tanya, look outside, we all need money and stability, some of us just hide it better." I gave her a little nod before taking off to the other side of the room.
When I got there however I noticed the angel no longer was, in fact all of the people belonging to the show seemed to be missing and many of the audience were making their way to the theater doors.
"Edward you silly goose come along before the show starts" I heard my mother call. I looked towards her voice and I could see her and the rest of the family waiting for me. Alice was giving me one of her looks as I approached.
Just as we sat down in our seats Alice leaned over and whispered in my ear, "Don't worry dear brother I made Isabella promise she would come sit with us after the show" She gave me a wink as she moved away. Was I being that obvious?
Before I could say anything in return the orchestra began. For the next two hours I was in a trance as I watched my angel, Isabella, up on the stage. She was a wonderful dancer, even if it wasn't for the dress to distinguish her she would still stand out from the rest. She was a talented and funny actress as well, I knew I would not be able to recollect the plot of this show at all but that wasn't the point, she had me hypnotised.
When the show was over we returned back into the main area we had been waiting in to find it transformed into a dining room with some space left for the band and dancing. My mother and father led us to a table for eight, leaving an extra space next to me; it dawned on me then what my sister had meant. Everyone settled into the places, a lot of the tables had free spaces which were undoubtedly left for those in the show who had been invited to stay with the audience once it was over.
Isabella made her way over to our table as all my family except for me were deep in conversation, I couldn't help the smile that crept onto my face and was delighted by a delicate blush that spread across her cheeks and the shy smile I got in return.
"Isabella!" Alice jumped up and grasped Isabella's arm, turning so the two of them faced the table, "As you have probably guessed this is Miss Isabella Swan, star of the show tonight and guest at our table," everyone gave her polite greetings while I just grinned like an idiot, "Isabella this is my mother and father, Esme and Carlisle Cullen, my brother Emmett and his wife Rosalie, my fiancé Jasper Hale who you met earlier and finally this is my brother Edward"
"It's such a pleasure to meet you all" she made a move to sit down after Alice let her go and returned to her own seat but before she could sit down I stood up and pulled her chair out for her. She seemed a little shocked by this but gave me a timid thank you before sitting down.
The rest of the meal seemed to follow in the same fashion; I could not tear my eyes away from her for too long and loved to hear her talk with my family. She was smart and clearly enjoyed her books and plays. I could tell my whole family was in love with her. I was in danger of heading that way myself. Whenever Isabella would look up and catch my gaze she would blush before lowering her gaze again. I wanted to press my lips against hers so badly but I knew that would be wrong. She was a respectable woman despite her profession and I would treat her like a lady, but I knew in my mind that she was it, no one else would compare to her.
The band began to play some music to encourage people to dance and hopefully drink a little more. I knew I had to take the chance.
"Miss Swan, would you care to join me in a dance?" I asked Isabella.
I could feel that all of my family's eyes had turned towards us before Isabella answered with a shy nod.
I took her delicate hand in mine and led her to where everyone else was dancing.
I twirled her around which earned me another taste of that beautiful laugh I had heard earlier. Soon we were dancing and my hand was on the bare skin of her back and all I could feel was humming, as if energy was passing from her to me. I knew in that moment that I had to have this woman with me for the rest of my life.
The following weeks passed in similar fashion, my family and I became regulars at Isabella's show. Isabella began to talk more around me and I soon found we had much in common. We loved similar books and music as well as long walks. I was relieved to hear she didn't have a sweetheart and was still living with her father who was a policeman for the NYPD, we met him on Boxing Day when my mother invited them over for dinner. After Christmas was over plans were made for New Years. A big ball was to be held and Isabella was to join us.
The night was wonderful and as it neared midnight I found I was reluctant to let Isabella out of my arms so I danced with her endlessly.
I was holding her in my arms as the countdown began to see in 1934. Her smile was gorgeous and before I could stop myself or think of the scandal I pressed my lips into her soft ones. A few moments passed before she had pulled back in shock and ran off towards the balcony doors just as everyone cheered in the New Year. I realised now how stupid that decision to kiss her was, as unfair as it may be actresses had poor reputations and I had just treated her like a hussy and she wasn't even mine.
As I made a move to follow her I noticed a few shocked faces who had seen what happened and knew who Isabella and I were was nearly towards the doors leading to backstage when the women in my family stopped me.
"Go home Edward. Now" It was my mother who spoke to me.
"But..." I didn't get to finish my sentence before Rosalie poked me in the chest with her finger.
"Don't make more of a scene and make matters worse just go home with the men we will deal with everything here"
I could feel Emmett grasp my shoulder and pull me away.
"What do you mean handle it? This isn't something that can be brushed under the rug and I don't want it to be" I tried to pull away from Emmett before he spoke into my ear.
"Think Edward. At the moment this can be passed off as a young man getting a little excited in the presence of a rising actress, don't make matters worse for Isabella."
As soon as he said that I stopped struggling and went willingly with him and my father. Jasper was already arranging for one of the cars to take us home. As we drove home I saw the streets were filled with people celebrating the New Year and wished I could turn back the clock and be as care free as them before I ruined everything.
When we got home an hour passed by and I had probably been pacing the library for all of that time. I was getting more agitated by the minute and just as I was about to demand to be let out of the house I heard the front door open and the women enter.
Isabella was last in and I couldn't stop myself from striding over to her and holding on to her hands. I was vaguely aware of everyone moving to a different room as I led Isabella into the library. She loved this room when she first saw it and I liked to think we would have a house with library to give her hours or joy. I handed her my handkerchief to dab her eyes with which I noticed still had tears escaping.
"Why are you crying angel?" I realised too late as she gasped that that was the first time I had used my nickname for her aloud.
"Because I feel something in my heart that scares me so much and I am not sure how it will be accepted." She kept her gaze to the ground.
"Accepted by whom?" I asked tilting her chin up.
"Everyone, you saw some of the reactions to you kissing me, I am beneath you," her eyes filled with tears once more "What am I to you?"
"You are everything to me; I don't care what some fuddy-duddys think about us, and clearly my family accept us. Hopefully your father will too."
"Us?" She whispered.
"Yes, us, Isabella Swan, I am in love with you, you are my forever," I held her face between my hands and wiped away her tears with my thumbs. "I'm sorry if my behaviour tonight upset you or made you believe you were not worth anything but believe me when I say you are what I want for the rest of my life and I would be honoured if you would become my wife."
There were a few moments where the only sound that could be heard was our breathing before Isabella broke into a smile and wrapped her arms around my neck.
"Yes, yes, yes!" she exclaimed before pressing her soft lips into mine, this kiss was far more passionate and wild but it matched how we felt. I picked up her and swung her around causing her to break our kiss and let out a loud laugh.
Come what may we would face it together.
The day you left me was the day my world ended. We had made a promise to be together forever and face anything that came our way together. And over the years we had done that, we had seen through huge events like the depression and World War II. We had gone from strength to strength in marriage and during the birth of our children. We had witnessed the changing times yet we remained soul mates. We were some of the lucky ones who lived to a grand old age still holding the hand of the person you loved.
It was not supposed to turn out like this, we did everything together. I know I can't exist in a world that you are no longer a part of.
I cannot go back in time and spend more moments with you, but I'll cherish the memories I have and hope that someday soon my time will come and I can be next to you once again.