Twilight Post Secret Challenge

Number of Secret Chosen: 6

Pen-name: XXX

Title: Going Home.

Word Count: 3205

Rating: T

Pairing: Edward & Bella

Summary: Bella was in Tower Two with her husband Edward when it fell. They got separated and they all believe she is dead. It's been 10 years and she is returning to NY to get her memories back. She has no idea who she is or what nightmares are true. She meets an elderly man in the airport that gives her hope. In the end she gets her memories back, the man that helped her in the airport. There was a woman that she tried to help in the tower. The man in the airport is the ghost of her husbands.

Disclaimer: Contains emotion material of 9/11/2001.


Going Home

"Flight 196 to New York will be delayed two hours due to adverse weather conditions."

I groan as I listen to the loud speaker once more. Two more hours, that's how much time I have until I fly home. It's three in the morning, and I know I should sleep before the flight, but my mind won't settle. Home, if it even still is home. I don't remember home. I'm scared. I don't know what I will be walking into. Will they be happy, scared, or mad? It's been too long since I have been home. I know things have to have changed. I'm just hoping I'll remember.

I'm watching other flights take off when an elderly gentleman sits down next to me. I'm in no mood to chat, but there is something about this man, something inviting. I look at him and smile warmly, trying to hide the tears that are falling.

"Are you OK, Miss?" His voice is gentle and soft.

"Yes, thank you for asking."

"Are you sure? you look lost and scared."

"It's a long story I'm afraid, and I'm scared of the ending."

"Well you look like you could use someone to talk to, and it appears that we have a few hours to pass. Do you mind if I ask, are you heading away from home or going home, my dear?" His voice was calming. I had not felt this calm around strangers in a frightfully long time.

"I am going home. If they will have me that is." I return his smile.

"Home never leaves you, sweetie. Home is where your heart is, where your loved ones are. The great thing about home is that I can travel with you."

"That is true. The last ten years have been hard though, so much has happened."

"Care to share your story?"

I haven't talked about that day, in a long time. It's not a happy story; it's full of pain, and fear. Yet, I feel compelled to share my story with this man I have never met. So I will. I will never see him again, maybe it will calm me, and at least it will pass the time.

"Are you sure you want to hear my story? It's not a happy one," I ask.

"I'm sure. Not all stories are happy, but they are there to be told."

I smiled and began to tell him my story.

Ten years ago today:

Today is the happiest day of my life. I finally get to tell my husband that we are having a baby. We have been trying for months now. We have been married for five, and trying to get pregnant for three of them.

I grab my bag and walk out the door. I bought him a gift last night while he was still at the office. It's a baby onesie that says "I love my Daddy" it's in his favorite shade of blue as well. I am so excited to see the look on his face when he opens it.

I step in the cab and the driver him address of my husband's office. The twenty minute ride seems to go by insanely fast. Before I know it, I am looking up at his office. My heart is beating fast. My life is now complete.

The ride to the seventy fifth floor seems to take forever. I just want to see my husband. When I hear the ding - alerting me that I have reached the floor - my heart quickens. My pace picks up, my feet carrying me faster to my husband's office. I know he has no clients today, so I burst into the office, with a huge smile on my face. My husband looks up; as he begins to speak his words are drowned out by a loud explosion. We both jump, and run to the window.

Something is wrong. The building next door is on fire. I start to panic, but he wraps his arms around me. We hear over the speaker that Tower One was hit by a plane. I scream, but he tries to shush me, calm me. The lady on the speaker says that we are safe; we need to stay calm, stay in the office. I want to run, but he tells me to be calm. That we need to stay put, and let the rescue help those in the other tower.

I have all but forgotten about the news I wish to share. My heart is broken, so many people. I want to watch, but he pulls me from the window and shuts the blinds. He sits at his desk and holds me. He rubs my back and tells me that it will be OK. We sit there in silence, neither one of us talking, just holding each other.

I am almost calm when it happens again. Something is wrong. I can feel the building shake. Some of the plaster from the ceiling begins to fall. I jump and scream at my husband. He pulls me tighter telling me that I will not die today. That he loves me and that we will make it out.

I run to the corner of the room and turn on the TV, what I see scares the hell out of me. They are replaying an image of a plane hitting Tower Two. They say it's around the seventy eighth floor. That's 3 floors above us. I can feel my body shaking; it's my husband trying to get my attention. I can see his lips moving, but all I hear is people screaming. I soon realize that it's my screams. He shakes me hard; I manage to hear him tell me that we need to get out. He pulls me to the door and I have no choice but to follow him.

He's dragging me down stairs; there are too many people, I trip falling to the floor. I feel him pick me up and start pulling again. I try to get him to slow down, but he's pulling harder, faster. The sounds are deafening. I can hear people screaming. Screaming to get out, screaming that they don't want to die. My husband starts pulling harder, dragging me down the stairs. My wrist begins to hurt. I can't hear him; all I hear is people screaming. They're running, trying to get out.

We finally slow down, not because he wants to, but because there are too many people and we can't go any faster. I have no clue how long we have been trying to get out, no clue how many floors we have descended. My feet hurts, I feel like my legs will give out, but I push on. I need to get out of this building.

There are people falling, walking on each other. I can see people trying to get up, screaming for help. There is panic and fear, screaming and silence at the same time. I feel like I have been going down for ever. How long will it take to descend seventy five floors I wonder? Suddenly, there is no pull. I can't feel the pain from him pulling my hand towards him. I scream out to him, as I fall. I feel feet walking on me. I feel pain rush though my body. I scream for him again, but he doesn't hear me.

Someone helps me up, and I frantically begin looking for my husband. There are too many people, and I can't see him. I scream but he can't hear me, over all the other screams. I need to get out. I will find him outside. I push myself harder. I run down the stairs as fast as I can, looking for him as I go. I stop when I notice an elderly lady that has fallen. I help her up, she thanks me and tells me her name is Mary, Mary Smith. She tells me that she needs to get to her husband, Frank. For some reason, her name sticks with me.

I look and see a sign; I am on floor thirty five. I notice that Mary is no longer next to me. I want to look for her to help her, but I need to get out. I push harder. I'm scared; I don't know what's going on, are there more planes coming? I reach floor three when there is a loud noise. It sounds like there is a freight train right behind me. The noise is getting louder, its coming faster. People start to panic, something is happening. I run faster. There are parts of the building falling. There is a tremendous rush of air, and the last thing I feel is my body flying through the air. Then it goes dark.

Present day.

The elderly man sitting next to me hasn't said a word. He wipes a tear from his eye and holds my hand.

"My goodness dear, I am so sorry. Did your husband make it?"

"I wish I knew. I don't know who I am, or who my husband is, or even if he's real. I don't even know if the flashes are real. I relive that nightmare every night. Yet, I never say or hear his name. I know that I was in or near that tower; the hospital proved that. I just have no memory. I have spent the last ten years healing, and trying to move on, by myself."

The man sitting next to me is crying now. I realize that I don't even know his name, but it doesn't matter. I am finding comfort in telling him my story.

"I have felt empty and alone for so long. I was so badly injured that I was in a coma for eighteen months. When I woke up, I had no idea who I was. No one ever came to identify me. My facial injuries were so severe that no one could recognize me. I also had several broken bones, and lost the baby. I spent another six months in the hospital in New York before I was transferred out of state to get the plastic surgery I needed. I don't even know if I look like me."

"What did you do then?"

"I spent years in therapy, trying to find myself. They kept trying to get me back to New York, but I was scared. I'm finally in a place to go home, to see what I can find."

"My dear, you are a beautiful woman. What are your plans when you get to New York?"

"They are having a memorial, to honor the ten year anniversary. I am going to attend. I am hoping something will jog my memory, but I'm scared. What if I am going back to nothing? What is there is no one there for me? I'm not sure I will like what I find; maybe it's better not knowing."

"Sweetie, I want you to listen to me. I know that you feel along right now. I know that all too well. You see, when I fought in World War Two, I was taken captive. I was held for two years. My journey home was the happiest and terrifying time in my life. I had no idea what I was walking into. I had been declared dead, that much I did know. I didn't know if my wife had moved on, or if anyone had passed. I understand how scary it is."

Maybe this is why I feel so connected to him. He knows what I feel, well part of it anyway.

"What was it like when you went home?"

"I was lucky. My wife had not moved on. I still had my family. My father had passed, but everyone else was alive and well. We were married over 60 years when my wife passed. You see dear, even in the darkest of time, there is still hope. I got my family back; I got my life back, when I had convinced myself that I would never see them again. That's where I am going now. I lost my wife in Tower Two. I am going home to her now my trip was a success. My business is now finished. It's time for me to go home as well."

I hadn't noticed how much time had passed until I heard that they were boarding our flight. I had spent the last two hours with a stranger sharing stories. He gave me hope; he helped me see that I still had a chance. As I took my seat, the man bent down and whispered in my ear. "Please don't give up, dear; you will be with your love once more. You will see me once you are home." He didn't say anything more as he took his seat four seats behind me.

Flying still scares me, so I decide to sleep. I wake when I hear that we are descending to JFK. I realized that the first time in ten years, I slept without having nightmares. That's when I know, what I need to do. I take out a pen and paper and write.

September 11, 2011

Dear Stranger,

You saw me crying at the airport.

Thank you for understanding,

For caring,

For giving me hope, on the loneliest day of my life.

I WONT FORGET.

As the plane landed and I got to the front of the plane, I stopped the stewardess. I asked her to give the note to the elderly man those four places behind me. She smiled and assured me that she would. I never saw him again.

Soon I'm in my rental car and driving to what they have called Ground Zero. My flight was an early one, so that I could make it here on time.

I park my car and begin to walk to where the memorial was taking place. I was hoping that something would jog my memory; it doesn't. I look at the buildings, but nothing looks familiar to me.

I am getting closer and my heart rate begins to pick up. I'm trying to stop my nightmares from coming back. I stop when I get to where the memorial is starting. I can't do this; I don't think I'm strong enough. I know that I have been in therapy for the last seven years. I dig deep and find the strength. The service is sad and beautiful. They are starting to read the names of those that have passed. I listen; I listen so closely. I need to see if any of the names mean anything to me.

"James Culliford"

"Angela Cullimore"

"Isabella Cullen"

I don't hear any other names, after Isabella Cullen. I drop to my knees and scream. My head is pounding. I get up when I notice people staring at me. I turn and run. I have no idea where I am running to, but I need to leave. I see flashes; it's too much my head hurts. I make it back to my car and drive. I don't know where I am going; I just drive.

I stop in front of a small internet café. I find a computer and search the name Isabella Swan. When am image comes up

I have to do all I can to hold my screams.

It's me. I am looking at a photo of myself. I learn that my nightmares are true. I did or do have a husband. His name is Edward. He made it out. He is alive. There is an address of a cemetery where my headstone is. I write it down and decide to drive there. I need to find answers. I know my name, but I still don't remember anything.

I'm able to locate the address with ease and slowly walk to the plot that is dedicated to me. There is no one there; I'm happy. I walk so slowly to the grave that holds no body. When I stand in front of the stone, I drop to my knees and sob. I run my finger over the letters, tracing each and every one of them. My head begins to pound, and then it comes rushing back, all at once.

I remember my family, my friends. I remember my husband, Edward. I can see him on ou wedding day. I remember the day he proposed. I remember it all. I scream out loud. I need to get all the frustrations out. Will I be as lucky as the stranger on the plane? Will my family still be waiting for me? Has my husband moved on? Will he still love me, with my scares? I think out loud. It's been too long. Everyone who knew me before 9/11 thinks I'm dead. The proof is here; I'm sitting in front my grave.

It's then that I remember the baby. I lost my baby; I lost Edward's baby. I get my screams under control just as I feel a hand on my shoulder. I turn to see who's touching me. I see the most calming green eyes. I remember these eyes; they belong to Edward, my husband. He looks at me in silence, as if he's seen a ghost. Well, he has spent the last ten years thinking I'm dead. He looks deep in my eyes, searching for something.

"Isabella," his voice is shaky, scared, and cautious.

"Edward. I remember. It's me."

"This can't be. You didn't make it out. I lost you, I got pulled from your hand…" deep sobs took over Edward and he dropped to his knees. He's talking but I can't make out what he's saying. I open my mouth to say something, but he grabs my face and presses his lips to mine. He kisses me hard, thrusting his tongue in my mouth. He arms wrap around me, they hold me.

"Edward, please I need to tell you what happened."

"Not now love. Ten years, I have spent ten years not knowing what happened. Ten years, thinking that I lost the love of my life. Not a day has gone by that I haven't thought about you, that I haven't blamed myself for letting you go, thinking that I failed you. We have forever to talk about this. You are home, love, you are home. I will never let you go. I love you."

As Edward held me in his arms, I felt safe. I looked over his shoulder as my husband cried on my shoulder when something caught my eye. There three plots behind me was the same elderly man that I met in the airport. He smiled at me as if telling me I was indeed home, and then disappeared.

I pulled Edward to the grave, when I got there I was stunned. The name on the stone read Mary Smith. Could it be the same Mary, the Mary that I helped when I was running out of the tower?

"Bella, do you know this person?" Edward asks me.

I looked at the date on the grave, 9/11/2001. I look at the stone next to her and see Frank Smith. I said a silent thank you to the sky above, before I turned back to my husband.

"I'm home, Edward, I'm finally home."


A/N: Thanks for reading. Please let me know what you thought.

Please check out all the other entries for the Twilight Post Secret Challenge. Voting opens 12/2 through 12/12. Winners will be announced on December 14th.