As the rain spatters on my umbrella, I stare down into the deep brown eyes that I have been searching so many years for. I can't believe that she is sitting here in front of me. After all of my searching, I have finally found Isabella. She is sitting before me in ragged clothes that look awfully familiar. I pray that they aren't the same ones that she was wearing the last time I spotted her. I promised myself back in high school that I would make up for being a douchebag to her. No one should go through losing a mother and being treated so poorly, by not only me but her father as well.
I know her whole story, and from birth till now she sits before me like an open book. A tattered and broken bound book, nonetheless. She has been through so much, and I can hopefully help her get back onto her feet and functioning as a normal citizen should.
Isabella stares at me like a deer caught in headlights. She has no clue how guilty I feel and how much pity I bestow her. She's thinner than the last time I saw her, and when we arrive back at my home I feel satisfaction knowing that I can finally shut this chapter of my life by helping her.
Isabella has become a fixture in my life that has taken up far too much time and effort. Yet, here I stand making her a meal and praying I can help her. I resent her, but none of it is her fault. She is a burden, because I caused her pain. She hurts, because I was a monumental asshole. She is homeless in Seattle, because of me.
Perhaps I'll be able to move on and live my life once I get her out of my hair. I've locked everyone out of my life, in pursuit of her happiness. Isabella is the reason my shutters are drawn closed, and I focus all of my time on finding her, work, and family. I haven't had a relationship since high school, and I don't allow people into my home. They will see my motivation and investigation on Isabella and mistake it for something it is not. Stalking? An obsession? No, you have to have feelings for the target then. My only goal is to get her onto her feet.
When I see a flash out of the corner of my eye, I know she is going to run. I can't let that happen, I won't let her get away from me again. My arms encase her frail body and I lose all rationality. Isabella's body melts into mine, and I momentarily lose control. She feels far too good and smells delicious. It is a complete transformation from the feeble, homeless girl I picked up a few hours ago.
It takes a moment for me to pull away, and when I do she lets out a laugh that sends me reeling. How can she laugh when her world is crumbling at her feet? Maybe she hasn't been as unhappy as I had imagined. Have I wasted the past six years on this girl? I want her gone, and out of my life. For fuck's sake why am I so emotionally invested in this?
Irritated, I state the first thing that comes to mind. I resort back to hurting the girl that I have already crushed. I mention that I thought she was stealing from me, and then I do the one thing that I know will get her out of my life…I repeat the very words that I said in high school. "I don't know, isn't that what people like you do?"
The look on her face makes me know that I made a mistake. She has drained of color, and even though she is still strikingly beautiful it does not suit her. I'm positive she is going to run like the last time, when she shocks me yet again.
"How dare you? Do you not understand why I ended up on the streets? You don't know me!" Isabella screams. By the time she is finished she is up in my face and her hands are flailing about.
"On the contrary, Isabella, I know you quite well. We were born in the same hospital, we grew up right down the street from each other, and…" I'm interrupted by her chuckle.
"Those are just the basics, Edward. You don't know me for real. If you did, you never would have offered me help. If you knew me, you would know that I have always fucking hated you. Since the first day your mom brought you into preschool and coddled you, to the last day I saw you with your perfect life. You had everything handed to you on a platter, so excuse me while I laugh in your face. Edward Cullen, you have no clue what it is like to suffer and know there are jackasses like you getting everything handed to them. To be at your lowest low, is not easy. However, let's get one thing straight; I have never stolen, not from you and certainly not from anyone else." She huffs and reaches back to slap me, but I dodge her attack and grip her upper arm.
"Are you finished, because I have something to show you." My question is rhetorical, because I know full well that she is not. I don't think Isabella will ever be finished arguing with me, and after seeing her so passionate about something I'm not so sure I ever want her to be. In fact the fire in her eyes makes me want to push her further.
She is cautious, waiting for my next move. I guide her to my study, but before letting her in I pause in front of the doors. "Why do you hate me so much?" My voice is weak and vulnerable. I'm not sure I want the answer to this question, but my curiosity has piqued. It can't possibly be because my parents are wealthy and have treated me as such.
"You have everything. Keep in mind when I say that I don't mean the materialistic things. I mean your mom, and not only that but a loving father. I've always envied you, and when we were younger maybe that was all that it was. Nevertheless, the older we got you turned into a total asshole." Isabella takes a short breath before continuing. "For example, I am still totally clueless why I am standing here except for the fact that I am starving! People do drastic things for food, you know? Oh wait, you wouldn't know."
"You're right, I wouldn't know. And I'm not sure why I was an asshole to you, but perhaps I can help you understand why you are here. Trust me." I beg, but her eyes are making me believe she is ready to flee. I grasp her wrist just in case, before opening the doors.
I walk Isabella to my desk and sit her in the chair. I take her long brown hair and pull it over her shoulder to rest on her back, before sitting on the corner of the desk to gauge her reaction.
Isabella's eyes widen as she eyes the two journals sitting before her. I nudge her arm with my knee and motion for her to open the newer one sitting on top.
She fingers through the pages for a moment, stopping to read a few entries. "Why did you write this? Have you been stalking me?" She demands with a gulp before backing away from the desk.
"No, not at all Isabella. Once my mom told me your story after you ran out of the classroom in high school, I have always wanted to apologize. I felt so guilty about the way I treated you, and more importantly the fact that you lost your mom. This is selfish, but I thought that if I could find you and help you in any way that I would feel better." When I finish, I can see the tears begin to brim in her beautiful brown eyes. I hate to see her cry, but she needs to know the truth. What she finds out next will be so much worse.
"So I am your charity case," Isabella huffs.
"No! In fact in my own selfish way I hated you too. That was until I found you today. I wanted you out of my mind until I saw your face and how beautiful and strong you are." The honesty pours from my lips before I can stop myself. That was far more than I wanted to reveal.
I tilt her chin up to look into her eyes. "I'm sorry."
"I don't need your pity," she fires back.
"Okay, but there is more that you should know." I say before taking the top journal away and opening the cover to the second. This journal is tattered and torn, but will be very precious to Isabella. She gasps as one hand goes to her heart and the other falls to the words on the pages.
My Dearest Isabella,
I am 33 weeks pregnant with you with a ways to go, yet I'm so anxious to see your beautiful face. I hope you have Charlie's deep brown eyes. I can stare into his for days. As I write this, my love is preparing a warm bath for me. Your father is amazing and has worshiped me since the day we met. I don't know what I would do without him, and he constantly tells me the same. I pray you find a love as strong as your father and mine, for there is nothing greater in this world. We are counting down the days and writing until we meet you, and I hope to share this with you when you are old enough to understand how powerful love really is. For without love, there wouldn't be you. I love you my little Bella bean.
The tears are now streaming from both Isabella and my face. A very weak "How?" escapes her lips.
"My mom volunteered at the shelter in Forks when I was little. Your father brought down several of Renee's things to donate and this was in the box of books. She found it and was going to return it, but she thought it was better if she held on to it. Charlie struggled so much to raise you when you were a baby, and she was afraid that when she gave him the journal it would send him deeper into depression and make him mourn his wife all over again."
I wipe the tears from my cheeks with my sleeve before I can admit the rest. "That day in high school when you ran out, my mom saw how horrible I was to you. She explained our birth, and how we were bound for life. My mom gave me the journal to hold on to, until I could find you and apologize. I'm pretty sure she meant it as a punishment. Nobody knew you would run away and…"
"Become homeless," Isabella finished for me. "But we aren't bound to each other Edward. There is nothing between us. You don't need to feel guilty, I forgive you." She sniffled as she stood up and lifted the journals to her chest. "Goodbye, Edward."
"Isabella, wait!" I holler as she quickly walks away from me. "You can't leave, you haven't even eaten yet!"
She halts and turns to look at me with confusion. I have no clue why I want her to stay so badly. I have told her the truth; we are both free from each other. "Fine, I'll eat and then be on my way. Thank you," she whispers.
After supper, I convince her to have a glass of wine before she leaves. After the first glass, I persuade her that going out in the rain will make her sick. The drinks continue to flow in front of the stone fireplace, and before I know it she is sound asleep on the couch beside me.
She is beautiful. I have spent so much time trying to find this mesmerizing woman to get her out of my mind, and now that I have confessed I'm terrified to lose her.
I close my eyes, and when I wake up she isn't there. I blink rapidly and begin to rise when I notice her sitting close the fireplace, reading the journal. I expect it to be her mother's, but instead it is mine.
"I woke up in your arms. I wouldn't have thought anything of it, until I read your journal and you mentioned holding me when we were younger. I forgot about that." She sits the journal down and rises from the floor. Isabella makes her way over to the closed drapes and pulls them open. She struggles, but eventually opens the abandoned window before her. Isabella lifts the lock on the shutter, and pushes the creaky doors open. For the first time, daylight streams into my home. I stop breathing as she makes her way over to me and wraps her arms around my torso and into a hug. I am reluctant to return the embrace, but eventually my hands find solace on the small of her back.
"The more I read, the more I realized how wrong I was. You have suffered, and you do know me, the real me. I am scared of living, and I gave up. I don't know why, and I am so sorry that you have grieved for so long for me." She hugs me tight, and we stand like that for a questionable time.
I pull back and wipe the tears from her cheeks. Isabella has shocked me at every turn; however what I do next shocks both of us. I don't hesitate before I grab her by the nape of the neck and pull her in for a kiss. Isabella doesn't return my caress at first, so I pull back and say "We're bound together Isabella, isn't this what people like us are supposed to do?"
She smiles before her lips attack mine. Immediately our tongues meet and my world explodes. For once, I am not worried about the future. I know as long as Isabella is in my life that is all I need. I relish in the moment as our bodies melt against one another. I push Isabella into the nearest wall and she lifts her legs around my backside. She feels amazing, and I can't help myself. I can't get enough of her. My teeth tug at her lip as she releases a throaty moan. I release and make my way down her throat and to the top of the white beater she is wearing. My lips dance across her breasts as my fingers dig into her ass. Her head tilts back and rests against the wall as my mission continues. Her shirt is off a matter of seconds before I set her feet to the floor and then fall to my knees. I leisurely kiss her stomach, making my way to each side. I gently suck on the sensitive skin next to both of her hip bones, and I feel her body lean into my mouth.
Isabella is so confident and stunning at this moment, I wish she could see herself the way I see her. My fingers hook her sweatpants, and though I try I can no longer take my time. Her scent feels the room, and I am on my feet and pulling myself free of my slacks. I plunge into Isabella without another thought, and she cries out. Our eyes lock, and after a moment we both begin to move. My gaze never leaves hers while our pace quickens. She is amazingly tight and warm, I will never be able to let her go again, and so I tell her.
"Please," I beg as I continue my assault on her body. Her nails dig into my back and her embrace tightens. We both cry out as we fall over the edge into bliss. I am still holding onto her body with all that I have before I notice that I am repeating myself. "Please, please Isabella."
"Please what Edward?" She asks before she pulls herself forward to look into my eyes.
"Please never run away again. You're home, Isabella, and we are bound. This is where you are supposed to be," I plead. A tear escapes her, and before I know it her mouth is on mine again.
She is my world, and I don't know what I would do without her. I whisper in her ear a phrase that has been running in my mind for years
"For without love, there wouldn't be you."