A/N – I love fanfic, and I've always wanted to write a story. They say you should write about what you know in your first story, and what I know is breast cancer. Maybe breast cancer is too real, but hope, courage and love, especially love, are also real, and that's really what this story is all about. This is my breast cancer journey and the journeys of the people I love - my mom, my sister and my friends, Bev and Barb - seen through the eyes of Bella and Edward.
It is dedicated to all of those who have been touched by cancer and their incredible courage, strength and spirit.
Thank you to Momz for her pre-reading and the support that kept me going. Love you…
Twilight world belongs to Stephenie Meyer, not me
Chapter One. Now.
Dreams are like paper, they tear so easily. - Gilda Radner
Life doesn't get any better than this, I thought, as I turned on the computer. It was perfect - coffee and Facebook on a rainy Saturday morning and no second graders. I love my kids and teaching, but molding the minds of young children can be exhausting, and I needed a break.
The first new post on my wall is from someone I never thought would be on Facebook - my Dad. He's a man of few words, and all he writes is 'morning' on my wall. In Charlie-speak, that means he loves me, misses me, and is proud I'm his daughter. He hates the internet, but he needs to do this. He needs to let me know these things every day in any way he can. This is what happens after your daughter has cancer. I tell him back and remind him to be safe when he's doing his Chief of Police thing.
There are ten posts from Mom. Renee is not a person of few words. She tells me she loves me, misses me, and is proud I'm her daughter after every post. She also needs to let me know these things every day in any way she can because of the cancer.
Jessica Stanley is eating blueberry waffles for breakfast.
A college classmate sent a friend request. I don't think I liked her, but I accept it anyway. What the hell.
It's snowing in Colorado, beautiful in Florida.
A friend from high school is going to take belly dancing classes.
My bitter divorced friend posted a depressing music video about a cheating husband. I guess she forgot she's the one who cheated.
My man reminds me he wants to go out to dinner tonight to celebrate our six month wedding anniversary. I type a happy face and tell him I love him.
My darling Angela, my breast cancer sister, leaves me two hearts. That's it, just two hearts. I speak back and leave her two hearts. We speak the same language, Angela and I. We are telling each other we have another day, another day to live, another day to love. We do this every day. When I see her hearts, I always whisper a thank you to whoever or whatever controls these things because she's still here, because my beautiful Angela is alive and healthy.
I looked at the sticky note on the computer and wondered why I bothered. It's not likely I would forget this appointment. All it says is THE MAMMOGRAM and the day and time. It's not an ordinary mammogram like I've been getting every three months and then every six months - it is THE mammogram, the one I've been waiting for. This is my victory mammogram, the one that will make me feel normal, be normal. If it's clear, I will officially be a breast cancer survivor, and I won't have to go back for a year, an entire year, 365 days, like a normal person. It's hard to explain why I'm so excited to have another mammogram - it's a breast cancer thing.
The rest of my day is filled with doing the simple things I love and appreciate so much more now. I updated my IPOD with the depressing, bitter cheating song and other unbitter music. I chatted with Angela, did some laundry and watched my favorite movie, Enchanted. It's about fate, love and magical moments, and I believe in those things. I know they made the movie just for me. My husband thinks I'm crazy when I say that, and I texted him to tell him again just to make him laugh. He called to tell me he loves me and what time he'll be home, and hearing his voice reminded me again how lucky I am to have this man in my life.
Later, I pulled out an old picture from high school, the one I keep in my dresser drawer, the one I look at every now and then. It doesn't make sense to go back, but I do it anyway. I can't help myself.
Edward and those damn green eyes.
I met Edward Cullen one September day in high school when I was a junior, and he was a senior. He had moved to my little hometown of Forks, Washington the year before, but I never noticed him. My parent's divorce helped me to not notice anything that was going on around me as I closed myself off to the world until Edward walked into my life.
He was behind me in the cafeteria line. I think I felt him first. There was some kind of weird electric thing drawing me in. I remember turning around and looking at him. That copper hair, those damn green eyes, that body - he was stunning. He literally took my breath away. We both reached for the last chocolate pudding, and when our hands touched, that was it for me. I guess he felt the same way because I walked away with a new boyfriend and the chocolate pudding.
I never thought I was capable of feeling the love and trust I had for Edward. I loved his smile. I loved when he ran his fingers through his hair when he was frustrated or upset. I loved his beautiful face. He was kind, smart, understanding, and incredibly funny. He told me corny jokes to make me laugh and bought me silly presents. He helped heal me after my parent's divorce and made me believe in fate, love and magi cal moments. And he loved chocolate pudding almost as much as he loved me.
We spent every minute we could together. His parents, Esme and Carlisle, welcomed me into their family with no hesitation and loved me like a daughter. Charlie acted like he was always annoyed by Edward, but I could tell he liked him. Renee loved everyone, especially Edward. She was just that kind of person, seeing the best in everyone, except my dad. She couldn't see anything good in my dad. Edward and his family - his sister, Alice, her boyfriend, Jasper, Edward's brother, Emmett, and his girlfriend, Rose - crashed into my life and made it complete. It was like we were pieces to the same puzzle. We all just fit.
I felt like I was exactly where I belonged.
It wasn't perfect. He was always tripping over the shoes I left everywhere and would throw them at me. He could be a cocky douche bag around his friends, pretending he was someone he wasn't, and it either pissed me off or hurt my feelings depending on the day and what bullshit he was handing out. I would get jealous and bitchy when the girls at school hung all over him. He would stand at the refrigerator and drink out of the carton and leave one tiny sip in it because he was too fucking lazy to throw it out. That drove me crazy. I hated my food touching on the plate and whined when it did. That drove him crazy. We definitely had our differences, but we worked them out. We always worked them out.
Sex was the big problem. Or the lack of it, I should say. I said I was scared I would get pregnant. I said I was terrified Charlie would find out and castrate Edward. I made a lot of excuses, but the truth was I just wasn't ready, as much as I loved Edward. It's not like we didn't do anything. We spent many nights on the edge, almost there, so close, until I pushed him off me and said no. He was frustrated, and I was frustrated. I wanted it, he wanted it, and I felt like I was a huge disappointment to him. We both knew he could get what he wanted from any number of girls at school, but he never used that to pressure me. He used other things - like love and guilt - and always felt bad afterward. It was one big hormonal merry-go-round that drove us both crazy, but I believed there wasn't anything Edward and I couldn't work out. I knew we could hang on until I was ready.
Edward graduated and was getting ready for his first year at the University of Washington in Seattle. He didn't want to leave me at first. He wanted to hold off a year so we could go together, but I told him to get a grip, that it was just a few months, and we'd be fine.
It worked in the beginning. He came home on weekends, and when he couldn't, I went to him. Charlie wasn't too thrilled about that, but decided it wasn't a battle he wanted to have, mostly because he knew he would lose. He was pretty sweet about it, though, and checked my oil and tires before every trip even though he didn't want me to go. He thought he was being sneaky, but I knew.
Edward lived with two brothers, Jake and James. He seemed so impressed by them, and I couldn't understand why. They were rich and spoiled and lived to party and fuck anything with a heartbeat. At first, they tried to flirt with me and charm me, and I couldn't help laughing every time they did. They were so disgustingly phony and shallow. After that, they didn't hide their dislike for me. I knew they gave Edward a hard time about me, but I tried to put up with them. I'll never understand why I did that, why I didn't tell him I was uncomfortable with his roommates. I just didn't. Maybe it was because he seemed so happy there. Edward felt grown-up and sophisticated, living with his two rich roommates in that beautiful condo overlooking Puget Sound, and I didn't feel threatened by that. I had an unwavering belief that his small town girlfriend would always fit into his life.
As the months went by, though, I began to question that belief. Things were getting strange. Edward started drinking and partying with his roommates more and more. He didn't come home as much and became too busy for me to visit. He had to study, he said. I didn't believe him, and we fought. I felt him slipping away. I thought maybe we should have sex, that it would help. I was ready by then, but decided I didn't want to have sex just to hang on to Edward. I wanted it to happen because of love, not desperation.
The night before my 18th birthday, Edward called to tell me he was having car trouble and couldn't come home. He didn't sound himself, but I thought he was just preoccupied with his car troubles. It didn't occur to me to question why he didn't ask me to drive to him.
After a restless night with little sleep, I woke up way too early to a birthday I didn't want to celebrate without Edward, and decided to go to him. I thought being together would help us get through whatever it was we were going through. I thought maybe there would be no desperation, and we would have sex and become us again. I thought about calling him, but decided to surprise him. That's what I told myself, anyway. Looking back, I think I had other reasons for not calling him, like suspicion and needing to know the truth.
The door to the condo was wide open, and I walked right in. Everything was quiet, and it looked like there was one hell of a party the night before. Something in the back of my head told me walking in was a bad idea, that I should just leave, but I ignored that voice. I told myself this was Edward, someone I knew as well as myself. I had nothing to worry about, I thought.
I was so naïve, so stupid.
I saw them as soon as I opened the door.
This boy who I loved with everything in me, who I trusted more than I'd ever trusted another human being, was screwing another girl, and I had walked right into it.
I stood there, looking at him on top of her.
Edward turned his head to look at me, and I'll never forget his face. He was surprised alright.
I whispered his name, all my heartbreak wrapped into that one word, and walked away from him, from us, from everything.
This was the first time I learned your life can change in a moment.
After, I did what I always do when I'm hurt - I closed myself off. I refused to see Edward. I wouldn't take his calls. I ripped up his notes and letters. I cut his family and friends out of my life and stopped believing in fate, love and magical moments. I blamed myself because I didn't have sex with him. I blamed his roommates. I blamed the blonde. I blamed him.
I was devastated.
When he finally left me alone, I thought I would be relieved. I guess I was in a way, but not seeing him at all just about broke me. I concentrated on school and work and hung on as best as I could until I could get the hell out of Forks. All I wanted to do was run, and that's exactly what I did when school was over. I didn't even stick around for graduation and told them to mail me my fucking diploma.
I ran to my mom, to Phoenix. Being with her comforted my heart, and I decided to attend college there. Time and distance helped. The first two years were rough, but I forced myself to start to live again. I made friends. I had some fun and even dated. I finally had sex and cried afterward. I couldn't celebrate my birthday when it came around, and I refused to think about Edward.
It was just my luck that the best teaching job I could find to apply for after graduation was in Seattle. I thought getting it was a long shot, but sometimes fate likes to fuck with me, and I was hired. I had mixed feelings about going back to Seattle, but I took the job and built a life. I knew what to expect. I made sure my life was comfortable and predictable because I didn't like surprises. I thought I was happy; at least, I told myself I was.
I tried to find someone who made me feel the way Edward did, but didn't. I tried to love someone the way I loved Edward, but couldn't. Thinking about him was still unbelievably painful. In those rare moments I allowed those damn green eyes into my mind, I had to admit to myself I would never completely let go of Edward. I knew there would always be a soft whisper of need and want and love flowing through me for him.
As the years went by, I was able to think about him again without that familiar overwhelming pain piercing my heart. I realized I had many regrets. I regretted letting go of his family so callously without explanation. I was sorry I shut Edward out so completely, that I was so unforgiving and didn't give him a chance. Edward was a good person. He was a young guy who got caught up in some shit and got in way over his head. He made a mistake that hurt me deeply, but he deserved for me to at least listen to him. I thought maybe we could have gotten through it if I had, but I wasn't sure.
Somewhere along the line, I forgave him. I knew he would hate himself for what he did, but I hoped he was happy and able to put it all behind him. I came to terms with the regrets I had. I went on with my safe life and hoped I would find someone who touched me the way Edward did - someone I could love, someone who would help me believe in fate, love and magical moments again.
I put the picture back in my drawer along with all the memories of that time. My mister will be home soon, hungry as shit, and I needed to get ready.
He walks through the door an hour later.
My husband of six months still takes my breath away.
He looks at me and smiles.
"I missed you, baby."
And I run into his arms and say his name just to remind myself that this is real, that he is real, and that fate, love and magical moments really do exist.
Thank you for reading! xoxoxo