A/N Major thanks to my wonderful beta, Robzbeanie, and my awesome prereader CShepherd91. You guys are the greatest! This story is inspired by a one-shot I wrote based on the Great Lake Swimmer's song Palmistry. Some of you may recognize the first part that is in italics.
Hands hugged tightly against her lukewarm coffee mug, Bella looked out onto the dreary sidewalk. Raindrops and fog pebbled and smeared the front window of the old cafe.
Another day, another storm. They all felt the same now. Every day was coloured in grey. Shadows and clouds fuzzed the edges of what once was but no longer is. People would walk, some would talk, but nothing changed. Dim turned to dark. Dark turned to dim. All of it – every last little piece of the monotonous puzzle – could be summed up in one little word.
It is what she felt yesterday, last week, last month. It is what she felt in every aching movement, every tired stretch and yawn.
She hadn't always felt this way. She remembered a brighter time, when flowers bloomed and she could smile. Six months on a calendar – an eternity in her heart.
"I'm leaving you" can do a lot of bad things to a person. "I never loved you" does worse. The day Jacob Black left, taking everything that was known and familiar, was the day the light went out. Not to blackness, but to grey.
It was worse because she loved him. Not in the heart fluttering, weak kneed, sweaty palms sort of way, but in a way that was comforting and safe. Their love was routine, it gave structure to her days. When everyone else had left, when everyone else gave up, Jacob was there. But he really wasn't. He didn't love her. He said never. He could have said he loved her, a past tense, but he said never, and that word alone made the world of a difference. And so, things turned grey.
Two more mouthfuls and $1.49 later, the familiar and safe smell of too old coffee and bleach was replaced with the dewy freshness of newly fallen rain. Patches of dark grey sidewalk, drenched in the downpour were vanishing before her eyes and beneath her feet. Despite the sun, the colors of the concrete, the pavement, the bricks – hardness and stone cold were all she saw.
She stared at her shoes, shuffling along the cement amongst the other feet, herding this way and that. She wondered how many of those feet had owners with lives that were also void of color. As dreary days became the norm, she refused to give up all hope. Part of her knew somehow, some way, she couldn't be alone in her feelings. Yet pieces of her were convinced she was.
"There you are!" A chipper voice drew her attention from the cinderblocks. Standing before her was a slight woman, grinning from ear to ear. "I knew you were coming, come in!"
Bella had little time to hesitate. A delicate hand upon her shoulder directed her through an inconspicuous doorway flanked with a purple wooden door.
"Um, I think you have the wrong person, I – " Bella started.
"Oh Bella," the mysterious woman giggled. "You're exactly who I was looking for, silly. Now have a seat. I can't believe you're finally here."
Bella carefully perched on the edge of a thick plush chair. The woman moved a footstool closer and squatted down – so close their knees touched.
"So Bella," she began, "Tell me what you need from me."
Bella stared at her. What she needed was an explanation.
"How do you know me?" she softly spoke.
"No need for that, we don't have time."
"But how – "
"Shh," the fortune teller soothed, taking Bella's hands and cupping them softly in her own. "Bella, do you have anything to lose?"
Bella shook her head no. She was nervous, but safe. She could feel it. She was feeling something. It was a start.
"Ok. Just trust me."
This time she nodded.
"Tell me how I won't feel lonely," Bella exhaled, her words no more than a quiet whisper. She didn't know where they came from, but they were right.
The petite figure, swift and graceful, flipped Bella's hand over, gently cradling it between their laps. Her index finger traced the three deep, jagged lines in the centre of Bella's hand, then ran up the outer edge from her wrist to the tip of her pinky finger.
Bella watched as her eyes went wide, in both excitement and wonder.
"Oh Bella, you've been carrying a heavy load." Her words were soft, lilting. "But it stops here. This is now." She pointed to a place in the middle of her palm were the jagged lines became solid, strong.
Bella, swallowing hard, accepted it. There was no need for doubt. She knew nothing of this woman, but knew it was true – hoped it was real.
"The light is coming back, Bella. You'll see."
A week went by with nothing. Not really nothing, but nothing different than before. Skies were still dreary, days were still grey. Bella chalked her experience up to a little blip of excitement amongst the tedium. Surprising, but hocus-pocus. She added the embarrassment she felt at being so gullible to the jar of emotions she kept tucked neatly away – lid screwed on tight.
Walking to the diner, the sky was hanging low. The air was heavy and wet. Bella was looking, but there was nothing to really see. Lines, cracks. Jagged chunks of cement chipped away by the heavy foot traffic adjacent to the overcrowded streets. The usual.
It took her eyes a moment to adjust, her brain a moment to catch up. After months upon months of staring at grey, she was shocked to find, nestled in one of the familiar cracks, a burst of yellow. A touch of green.
She knelt down, eliciting a "Watch It," a "What the hell" and a "Moron" from the passersby, but she was too stunned to care. Fuzzy yellow petals formed a tight yellow ball atop a weak and wilted stem. Carefully grazing the petals with the tip of her finger, she felt something she hadn't legitimately felt in a very long time. The blooming of an honest-to-goodness smile.
Dandelion clutched tightly in her grasp, Bella entered the diner feeling lighter, but confused. Was the flower nothing but a coincidence? A burst of brightness in her droning day that just happened to creep from the crack for no reason than to confuse her? Or had the dandelions been there all along – only now she could see them?
She took her familiar place next to the window, righting the coffee mug. The waitress made her way over – a full, fresh pot in hand. Bella reached for the paper tucked neatly in her bag – she relied on it as a shield to avoid eye contact and idle conversation – but found herself moving slower than usual. Hand resting on the paper, she raised her chin and locked eyes with the waitress standing before her.
"Oh. Hello, dear," the elderly woman, with perfectly painted crimson lips said gently. "Just the usual?"
The woman looked unsure, but Bella couldn't blame her. They had exchanged nothing more than nods. Yes's and no thank you's. In all of the months she'd been frequenting the same place, the same table –never once had Bella truly looked at her.
"What's your name?" Bella asked quietly, her voice sounding out of place.
"Oh, my dear. Shelly. Shelly Cope. And yours, love?"
"Bella. Bella Swan."
"Well my dear, that is lovely. What would you like to try today?"
More weeks passed. The darker greys gave way to slightly lighter tones. Dandelions, crimson lips, rich green salads and cream-filled coffee spotted every day with bursts of pigment. Bella looked forward to the brightness, feeling the heavy weight upon her shoulders lightened with every passing day, but she couldn't help but want for more.
Sitting in her familiar spot in the old cafe, the smell of bleach lingering in the air, Bella admired the spiral of cream turning her murky black coffee a lighter shade of taupe. Raindrops and fog covered the window panes as usual. Within those tiny raindrops, beams of multihued light were cast across the chipped countertop. Blues, greens, reds. They were coming back, shade by shade.
An unfamiliar voice rang out in the all too familiar place. A man, reddish hair, dark blue coat, pale white skin, stood at the front counter placing an order to go.
He turned suddenly, as if something caught him by surprise.
Eyes locked, green and brown. The walls warmed, every surface painted bright.
"It's you. She told me –" he said, turning to face Bella, voice steady but soft. "She told me. You're ready for me. She said I'd find you when you're ready."
Bella nodded, eyes welling up, shades of sparkling light bursting from around him. She knew instantly what he spoke of.
"Do you trust her? Has everything she said been true?" he asked, sliding onto the chair across from her. He was intensely serious.
"Yes it has, but I – " Bella trailed off.
"Please," he whispered softly, cupping her hands much like the fortune teller had done on that dreary day weeks ago. She didn't even flinch at his touch. It felt right – warm and safe.
"Please. Take a chance on this with me. Just a walk. We'll talk. Please?"
"I just –" Bella paused, quickly recalling the palm reader's words. "I don't, um...Ok. I guess I have nothing else left to lose."
"Bella," he said, a grin forming at the corners of his mouth, "I'm Edward. I know this is all really weird, but you –" he paused, swallowing hard, "I think we could be something."
Moments later, hand in hand they burst through the diner doors, the colors around them vividly restored. From that point forward, for both Edward and Bella, grey days were no more.
"I can't believe you did this!" Edward bellowed as he pounded aside the heavy wooden purple door, barged straight towards Alice, and slammed a torn-up copy of the Twilight Times directly on the counter in front of her.
"Why? It's vague. I changed some things. She sits at a bar – not a coffee shop – all the time, for one. And I erased that cutie-patootie bartender that has his eye on her and replaced him with a stuffy old waitress with tomato red lipstick or something. I thought you'd like that part," she smirked as she dusted off the large mahogany display case that housed crystals, tarot cards – an assortment of objects you'd expect to find in a fortune teller's shop.
"Not vague enough – it uses real names, Alice!" he raged. "What if she reads it?" His frustrations with his sister were mounting by the second. She always had meddling ways, but this had finally crossed the line.
"She will. And that's a good thing."
"How can that possibly be a good thing?"
"We can get the ball rolling on all this for once and for all?" she replied meekly.
"Ohhhh…I see!" he sarcastically barbed. "I can finally approach her? Oh, I know! It'll go exactly like this – Hi there, pretty human girl. My sister has telepathic visions, and I can read minds," he dramatically proclaimed.
"No, Edward – it won't be – "
"She wrote about your bleak existence and disastrous relationship in the Twilight Times, but the good news about all this is that we will be in love."
"That's not at all how it'll go and you know – "
"Why don't you come back to my house, Isabella? We can listen to music and I'll show you my fangs? Hmm?"
"Edward, stop! You've been alone for far too long – it's time. I'm sick of seeing you sulk, and you said it yourself – she sings to you. We'll work this out."
"You don't know that for certain."
"I know I don't, but I have a good feeling about it."
"A feeling isn't enough. Tacking Jasper's and your happy ending on to the end of that little tale you spun isn't going to make it a reality for me."
Alice crossed the room and took her brother's hands in her own.
"Of that I'm well aware, Edward. But gears are turning and things are falling into place. Put some trust in me, and you'll see. I won't lead you astray, you know that, and from what I'm seeing now, this all just may be easier than we think."
Thank you for reading! Reviews are wonderful – I love to hear your thoughts. I have some of this story completed already, but I don't want to set a super strict schedule for updates quite yet. The next chapter will be along very soon. xoxo