Truly Anonymous Twilight O/S PP Contest

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Title: Red eYe

Picture Prompt Number: 2

Pairing: Edward / Bella

Rating: T

Word Count (minus A/N and Header): 4334

Summary (250 characters or less, including spaces and punctuation): On her return flight to college from visiting her family, Bella's experience forces her to examine what she knows to be true threatening to change everything.

Warnings and Disclaimer: Stephanie Meyer owns the Twilight characters.

Floating.

That's how my body feels. Yet I sense a bed underneath me. Apparently awake, I climb out and slowly stumble my way to the bathroom in the dark room. I turn on the water. Cupping my hand underneath, I splash some onto my face.

Something doesn't seem right; I feel a presence nearby. Unwilling to turn on the lights, I rush back to bed. My body feels triggers of alarms going off, but I don't want to listen. It's only a dream, right?

Desire.

Light shines through the window signaling a brand new day, or so I think. The room's unfamiliar to me, but my actions are consistent. I get up, shower, and prepare my breakfast. I dress in my typical work clothes—black pants and a white blouse. Stepping outside I recognize the landscape isn't right, either—the tree normally to the right is missing and the sidewalk zigzags to the street but should be straight. A black limo sits in my driveway.

Is it waiting for me?

Only one way to find out.

With each slow step towards the vehicle, I proceed towards the unknown. Before I could reach it, the back window slowly lowers. A shadowy figure sits in the back observing, expecting me. Cautiously I approach, lowering slightly to look in as I rest my hands on the car.

"Bella, are you getting in? Our time has finally come to become one. We are going to be late."

"Edward?" I question, surprised to see him.

"Yes, silly. I am Edward and you are Bella. Come on. Get in. We have to hurry."

How come Edward is sitting there? What happened to Jacob? And why am I now in this white dress?

Confusion.

Before I can figure out anything further, my body is no longer next to the limo, but back in bed. It's like I time traveled, yet no time has passed at all. It's still a dream, right?

I wake feeling that presence again. It's as if someone is watching me... waiting for the moment to strike. The room now looks like mine back at my parents' house.

In the distance, someone knocks on the front door. I wonder briefly if my mom or dad will answer it. The sound of the doorbell tells me they must not be home. Jumping out of bed, I rush down the stairs. Jacob greets me with a warm smile.

"Today's the day, Bells. I know I'm not supposed to be here, but I wanted to give you this."

In his hands he holds a box wrapped in silver paper, offering it to me. Unsure of its contents or what he expected me to do with it, I flip the box around in my hand.

"You can open it. Well, at least I'd hoped you would."

Glancing into his eyes, he encourages me to see what's inside. Tearing away the paper reveals a tiny black box. Opening it I find a pair of diamond stud earrings.

The first thought which comes to mind is Jacob can't afford this on his mechanic's salary.

"I've been saving up. I had hoped you would wear them today. I am not sure if you already had earrings to go with your wedding dress, but if not, I thought you could wear these."

Does he even know me at all?

My ears are not pierced.

I look back up to him, but he is gone. There is no one in front of my house. The box no longer in my hands.

Turbulence.

My mind can hardly keep up with the change in scenery. But this time I'm walking from the college campus library. Why I chose this way at night is unknown to me. It's dark. The street lamp is not working. But it is a short cut to my dorm.

Having no one around causes me to pay deeper attention to the sounds around me. In addition to my steps, I hear someone else walking behind me. I pause as do they. I continue and they follow. I move faster yet they get closer.

Scared of what's behind me, I run. Fast. I can escape from their sight, right? But I'm processing too much information all at once and don't realize the ground is uneven. My foot catches on broken concrete and I tumble to the ground. Rolling to my back, I see the tall figure approach. Dressed in dark attire enveloped by a black full length robe resembling a cassock, a man slowly towers above me. His eyes glow blood red. His white canine teeth protrude over his lower lips. Fangs?

He cackles as he exclaims, "Bella, you can run from your demons, but you can't hide. I will find you."

A familiar voice, but the similarities end there. All I can do is hope to calm him from his wicked desires.

"James? Is that you?"

"You think you know what you want. You're only kidding yourself." His voice becomes more sinister.

But I always know what I want. Don't I?

He smirks as he scoops me up into his arms taking me into the deepest recesses of my mind.

Comparison.

With a flash of light, I am walking on a deserted dirt road. I see a crossroad up ahead. My options are limited; I can go left or right. Decisions, decisions, but I am concerned about making the right one. Where will the paths lead me? Can I turn around if I realize I made the wrong choice?

Just when I think I've made up my mind, visions of Edward appear when I turn to the left and Jacob appears to the right.

What I once thought I wanted goes up in smoke with a chance meeting of a certain green-eyed boy. Rather than tackle the dilemma head on, I start walking backwards as I compare the two.

Jacob is my childhood friend and we became high school sweethearts. Edward has been in my life for just a few months.

Jacob is loved by my family. Edward has never met them.

Jacob wants me to move back after college. Edward wants to enjoy all of life's offerings.

Jacob said goodbye but not before suggesting we marry within the year. Edward has made no indication that he even likes me more than just friends.

So, why is there such a great decision to be made?

A presence behind me causes the hairs on my skin to stand on end. I'm afraid to turn around. The sound of the snarl instinctively makes my head glance behind me. James is crouched in the attack position. Deep red eyes staring at my jugular. Fear forces me to run straight down a path I never expected. He forces me to act out immediately based strictly on my gut feeling. Just as I turn the corner, James grabs me. His grip is tight as he brings my neck to his mouth. As his teeth graze my skin, I scream for safety, I scream for him, "Edward!"

Awakened.

Coming out of the dream, I'm screaming his name in reality.

"Miss... Miss, are you alright?" A female voice calmly speaks to me. Her hand is on my shoulder from nudging me awake.

I glance around finding myself sitting on a plane. The flight attendant stands over me repeating her question, "Are you OK?"

"Ye- yes." Disoriented, I remember my last thoughts. "I'm sorry. I just had an unbelievable dream."

"You were screaming."

Embarrassed to have caused quite a raucous with those sitting near me, I thank her for waking me. She leaves to get me a drink of water. As I wait for her return, I glance out of the window. Pitch black. I'm reminded of the red eye flight I am on to return to college after the long winter holiday.

A tear threatens to fall as I think about the dream, well, dreams, I just had. So bizarre. But the more I think about it, the more I try to interpret them and the more I see a problem.

I left for college two and a half years ago travelling to Phoenix, Arizona. Jacob, my boyfriend, said he was OK with my choice in college. But ever since I got there, I felt claustrophobic with his phone calls, emails, and texts. He claimed he was checking on my safety. I thought it had more to do with him not wanting me to experience college, meeting new people—boys—without him. He made constant contact with me.

Going home for Christmas that year, we had a discussion. A lengthy discussion. We expressed our fears, wishes and desires. Things improved after that.

Looking back, though, it's hard to make a relationship work when you both want different things out of life. I want to live, to experience everything in life. Jacob enjoys the quiet life back home. I never really saw how different our lives really are until now.

The dreams open my mind to a lot of things.

Does Edward really have feelings for me? More importantly, do I have feelings for him?

I've never thought about it until now. No, that's a lie. When we first met I thought he was gorgeous and wondered what my life would be like with him. But being in a committed relationship, it was a fleeting thought.

Our meeting was unexpected. While conducting research for my Economics class, I came to a stopping point and needed a break. Deciding to peruse another area of the library, I proceeded to the fiction area, looking for nothing in particular. After standing in the middle of an aisle for a few moments, I felt a presence nearby. Someone was in the same row as me. I paid him no attention because I was focused on having a mental reprieve.

My hand reached up to pull out an interesting looking book—Vampires: A Look At Their Origin. He happened to do the same. Our fingers grazed one another causing us to jerk our hands back, followed by a moment of laughter.

"So, you're interested in Vampires?" He casually spoke to me.

"Uhm, well, no, but yes, really I am just wasting time before I go back to writing a research paper." I couldn't speak clearly. Looking up to him I felt my cheeks blush. I've never reacted this way to anyone, not even Jacob.

"Oh, well that's too bad. We could spend hours discussing how they began and the way society views them."

I felt awkward standing next to him. With just a few short minutes, I could tell there was a lot to him, and I didn't even know his name.

After a few moments of casual chit-chat, I politely excused myself to return to my research paper. Walking away from him didn't seem right, but I figured if I didn't get back to my stuff soon, Jacob would instinctively sense I was flirting with someone and start hounding me with texts. After we had the talk nearly a year before, he greatly improved. But there were times he went through spells of jealousy.

Luckily that didn't happen.

After another hour of working on the paper, I decided to head back to my dorm. Closing up the books, I took them back to the return cart. As I reached the exit, I felt that same presence from earlier. Glancing over my shoulder, I saw him rushing to catch up.

Holding the door open for me he said, "So, I didn't get a chance to ask your name."

"Well, are you going to ask?"

"Uhm, OK, My name is Edward, what's yours?"

"Bella."

He was nice and walked me all the way to my dorm. That's the moment when I wondered what my life would be like without Jacob, and possibly with him.

That night I cried myself to sleep. I woke up with a refreshed sense of commitment to Jacob, the man I knew as my high school sweetheart, and with a new friend in my life, Edward.

Over time, I got to know more about Edward. We started hanging out more after learning we both had the same major. I never saw him with a girlfriend, and he never spoke of one. With time, though, he became my best friend.

The flight attendant returns with my drink pulling me from my thoughts. Glancing out the window, the skyline begins to turn a warm gray. I know we are getting close. For some reason, with each passing second, I have a nervous yet excited feeling. It almost feels as though I am approaching a new beginning—one I don't realize I need. I take a sip from my water as I reminisce about the past few weeks.

I spent the Christmas holiday with my family. Jacob lives nearby so he was at the house almost constantly. I barely had a free moment with my parents. They didn't mind; they encouraged it saying since he was my boyfriend they felt they had to share time with him.

Being home at first made me happy, but by the end of the trip I felt claustrophobic. The three of them were always with me. I looked forward to getting back to school.

After saying goodbye to my parents at their house, I climbed into Jacob's beat up Rabbit for the journey to Seattle. Conversation consisted of us arguing over music. We never had this issue, but every song I liked, he switched. Every song I didn't want to hear, he claimed it was his favorite. Then he told me about a new Thai restaurant opening in Port Angeles that he couldn't wait to take me to this summer. I hate Thai food. The trip certainly was interesting.

At the airport, he helped me take my luggage to get checked in, but he didn't come inside. We were hours early, so I had plenty of time to pass. Jacob, however, wanted to get back home to watch some football with my dad. Standing on the curb we said our goodbyes. He gave me a chaste kiss on the cheek. But it was his parting words that really sent me into a tizzy as I walked towards my plane. I didn't know how to respond to his unspoken question, so all he said was, "Just think about it. It would make me the happiest man if it happened within the next year."

Who did he think I was? I am in school. And it's not like I live right around the corner. That type of event takes a lot of planning. I only have the short winter break and the summer break free.

Hearing a sound alerts me to the fact the pilot has a message to share. He advises us we are ahead of schedule by about ten minutes and to buckle up in preparation of landing.

It makes me wonder if Edward will be there to pick me up or if I will have to wait. Thinking of him makes me question again why he was in my dream. We are best friends, right?

The plane comes to a stop and along with the rest of the passengers we head towards baggage claim. Feeling slightly nauseous I step into the bathroom for a moment. I can't understand why my stomach twists in knots. After composing myself I make my way towards my luggage sensing Edward will be there to pick me up. It amazes me he volunteered to pick me up... at the crack of dawn. What college guy does that for a friend?

Stepping onto the escalator, I brace myself for what is to come. What if he doesn't show up? What if he is late? As I stepped off, I try to locate him over the throngs of people.

He isn't near the luggage belt which had yet to start moving. Scanning the room, I notice him off in the distance watching me. So many people surround him waiting for their loved ones.

As I walk towards him, he shifts slightly stepping further away from the people. I notice him holding a small bouquet of flowers. Standing in front of him, I look into his eyes, then at the flowers. Up close, they are beautiful. Three roses—blue, white, and light pink—accented with baby's breath.

"Hey, you," he says as he hands me the flowers.

"Hey. Thank you."

He pulls me towards him and embraces me with a hug. He whispers, "I missed you."

I can't pull away from him. I don't want to. But with those three simple words, it all crashes into me. Jacob's parting suggestion. Edward waiting for me. Ultimate confusion. Maybe he does care for me... more than as best friends. Maybe I've been blind. Just maybe my heart and mind are at war with each other.

"Hey, Bella, what's the matter?"

Tears well up as I manage a simple, "Nothing."

But then I start crying harder. I didn't get much sleep because I chose to take a red eye flight when I should have been sleeping. On top of all that, I had that crazy dream which made little sense, yet makes me question so much in my life.

"Hey, shhh." He holds me tighter.

After a few minutes, he lets go of me. "Bella, let's get your luggage, then we will go some place we can talk."

Wiping the tears from my eyes, I nod.

He takes my luggage off the belt and carries it as we make our way towards his car. The ride is silent; we are both lost in our own thoughts. I haven't seen him in two weeks and the first thing to happen is I cry from him telling me he missed me.

He pulls into Starbucks. As I step out, he rushes to my side. Taking my hand in his, he leads me to the counter. We order and sit on the sofa in the far corner with our drinks.

"So, tell me. What happened?" He picks up his cup in one hand while the other rests on my knee.

"Really nothing." But before I know it, words are tumbling out of my mouth without me thinking. "Jacob was nice, but wouldn't leave me alone... at all. Always with me and my parents, who by the way, didn't even get much alone time with me. I felt bad for them. But since he's my boyfriend, I felt bad for telling him to give me some space. And then when he hugged me goodbye at the airport, he suggested we get married within the year. I mean, who does that? Was that his proposal? Because I didn't know how to respond. And maybe that's my problem—that I didn't know how to respond. He just told me to think about it then left to go back to my parents' to watch football. Football! I had time to kill waiting to board the plane and he just left me. And then on the way here I had this dream. It's crazy really. But Jacob was in it. James made an appearance, but that didn't even make any sense. Oh, and you were too. It left me questioning a lot of information. And then you being here, don't get me wrong, I wanted you here, but you said something Jacob has never said to me. I just... I just..."

I notice his mood fluctuate throughout all my rambling from concern, to anger to absolute confusion. He even removes his hand halfway through my rambling.

"You just need to breathe. Take a moment. Now, let's back up a second."

I calmly take a sip of my drink looking up at him over the cup.

"So... he asked you to marry him?" His hands clench tightly.

"Uhm, yes? I don't know. He didn't have a ring or anything. And didn't get on one knee. It was more a suggestion."

Now I feel awkward telling him this. His reaction is not what I expect. I really had no expectations. But then a thought continues to return. Could he?

"Well, what did you say?" He won't look at me.

"I didn't say yes, if that's what you were wondering."

He lets out a breath.

Thankfully, he changes the direction of the discussion. "OK. So, you had a dream?"

"Yeah. It was bizarre, but really made me realize Jacob doesn't know me at all. He got me earrings. And look. My ears aren't even pierced." I move my hair to show him my ear to prove my point.

"And this was in your dream?"

"Yes, don't you see? He doesn't know who I am. He got earrings for someone whose ears aren't even pierced."

I start feeling delusional—questioning why I am basing these new found opinions about Jacob on a dream.

"Alright, let's look at another angle of your dream. You said I was in the dream?"

This is the moment when my word vomit from earlier got me in trouble. I'm not prepared to tell him about his staring role in my mind. How will he react? Will he laugh at me? Will this damage our friendship?

"Yes." There. Maybe he will just drop it if I admit the truth.

"Care to enlighten me?"

"Not really."

"No?"

I look away from him. "Well, it is kind of embarrassing."

"Bella, I think I can handle it." He smirks as if he knows where this might lead.

I feel my cheeks warm as they blush. "Well, let me pose it as a question, then."

"Alright."

"How do you feel about me?"

This time, he looks away. Why can't I just tell him? What makes it so hard to admit that he waited for me in a limo and while standing there in my everyday work clothes they automatically changed to a wedding dress?

I begin to think I am mistaken in my thought that he might like me. But suddenly his eyes snap to mine, his gaze intense. I don't know how long he sits there, unmoving. Finally, he opens his mouth as if to say something, but then shuts it without a word.

Nothing is said. He leans forward slightly as if contemplating his action. My brows furrow as I await his response. He closes his eyes. When they open, that's when I see it. It isn't a look of just a friend, but but one filled with lust. He closes the distance between us and presses his lips to mine.

"Edward."

"I know I shouldn't have done that. I don't know if there is any chance for an us, but you asked and I wanted you to know how I feel."

"Edward. I have a boyfriend."

"I know that. But what does your heart say?"

That's when I realize my heart and my mind are truly at war with one another. I care deeply for Jacob, but do I still love him? And Edward, only knowing him for a few short months I feel I've known him for years. James being in my dream helped force me to see how the relationships in my life have changed. But him being a vampire was rather interesting considering how I know him.

"Look, I can tell you are at war between what your heart desires and your mind thinks it knows. I'm not gonna lie, Bella. Ever since I met you, I've been attracted to you."

"Don't, Edward." I don't want him to say something he will regret later.

"Don't what? Don't tell you how I felt since that day in the library?"

Looking down at my fingers, I quietly say, "Don't ruin our friendship."

He takes my hands into his. "But what if I want more?"

I don't know what to say.

"Bella. I didn't mean to add to your dilemma. But if there is a chance... a chance at all for us, I want you to know where I stand. I know you are in a relationship. But I am not about to pass up this opportunity to let you know how I really feel. I want you. And I want there to be an us. Take some time to think about what I've said. You will always be in my life—as my friend, but hopefully as more. I'm not going anywhere. I care about you too much to let you walk out of my life."

"I care about you, too."

He has given me plenty more to think about than what I had originally expected as I stepped off my flight. Knowing I need time to process the information, he tells me about his winter holiday. I feel a little jealous knowing he was off enjoying the slopes in Jackson Hole with his family.

I know what I need to do. And soon. Planning a wedding is not going to happen, at least not with Jacob.

We gather our stuff and begin to leave.

"Oh, Bella, who is James?"

"What?" I try to play ignorant, but know Edward won't stop asking until I tell him.

"In your dream, you said three names. Mine, Jacob's, and James'. I understand why Jacob and I were in it, but who is James? I just want to know all my competition."

"James is from Forks and is harmless. He most certainly is not competition."

He's more like a father figure than anything. But now that I think about it, his words to me in the past make me realize why he may have made an appearance in the dream. People tend to think too much about a choice they must make when the answer is right in front of them... if they would just listen to their instinct. By chasing me, he made me realize faster what has been in front of me all along—a failing relationship and the start of new one.

"I think I should be the judge about that," he exclaimed.

Edward will certainly think I am a freak, now.

"James... is my priest."