(A/N): Hey everyone! My new story is finally here! This one is really close to my heart since I've been dying to write it for years so I really hope that you like it as much as I do.
Big Thanks to my beta RandomatGedz!
A Second Chance
They say your life flashes before your eyes right before you die. No one ever says that it also does when someone else dies; someone you were supposed to spend a lifetime with; someone you never expected would be taken away from you so damn soon. I contemplate all of this as I sit next to my father and mother; Charlie and Renee, at my husband's wake.
Riley had been laid to rest early this morning, while our family and friends mourned the death of a man who was too young to lose his life.
We were now at our house, Riley and I's. The wake was held in our living room. His parents sit on my other side. Riley's mother, Elizabeth, was in hysterics, while her husband, Edward, tried his best to comfort her. Mr. Cullen was the strongest man I ever knew, but even he looked about ready to fall apart.
Riley was always closest to his mother. She adored him; sometimes it even seemed that she preferred him to her older son, Edward.
As soon as his name enters my mind, I glance to where he's standing, speaking to one of the guests, and our eyes meet.
He's staring right at me.
I turn away quickly, my face flaming. Edward always had an intense look on his face whenever he happened to glance my way, which wasn't very often.
My brother-in-law despised me. During the four years I'd been married to Riley, Edward barely spoke four words to me. He avoided making eye contact with me and whenever he called to speak to Riley he would always say a curt 'Hello' before asking for his brother, effectively ignoring me.
While Riley and I never moved away from Forks, Edward lived in New York. He'd built a corporate empire there, as far as I've heard. He never came home for Christmas or Thanksgiving, to his parents' consternation, but I guess it's understandable seeing as he lives so far away. It still feels like he's escaping, though. I just didn't know from what, or who.
Mrs. Cope, our next door neighbor, comes over to me to pay her condolences, for the third time. I try to keep the tears at bay, but a few tears escape whenever someone comes near me. I thought I was done with the waterworks after crying myself to sleep last night.
I just miss him so much.
A fresh wave of pain enters my chest and it takes all of my will power not to break down right then and there.
Riley and I met in High School. He was the star Quarterback while I was the science nerd. That was why everyone, including me, was surprised when he asked me out the first time. I remained hesitant and distant for a while, sure that it would all turn out to have been some sort of bet, but Riley eventually won me over with his unfailing kindness and charm. Riley was so damn charming and charismatic he could have had anyone under his spell in a matter of seconds. He was so sweet and very romantic. He knew exactly how to sweep an unsuspecting girl off her feet. So naturally, I didn't have a chance. I fell for him hard and fast and I didn't even hesitate when he asked me to marry him right after our High School graduation.
Our parents were a different story. Charlie, as well as Riley's mother, were livid. Elizabeth thought that this marriage would destroy her son's future and stop him from pursuing a career in medicine while Charlie thought I was throwing my life away, when I could obviously do better than marry right out of school. On the other hand, Renee was ecstatic for me, she was too happy that her daughter was blissful and in love to worry about the consequences. Riley's dad, also, was not opposed to the wedding, but it was mainly due to the fact that he was a firm believer in letting his children make their own mistakes and learn from them. I was never sure if that was a good or a bad thing when it came to Riley and me.
Eventually, Renee and Edward Sr. were able to overpower Elizabeth and Charlie. However, that didn't stop Elizabeth from showing her disapproval every single chance she got.
Riley and I had a beautiful huge wedding, where our entire class was invited. My best friend Alice planned the whole thing since I was completely hopeless when it came to any sort of event planning, not to mention a large wedding.
Edward had deigned to attend the wedding. He's six years older than us so he was already an entrepreneur by then, so it was a miracle that he had found time, despite his busy schedule, to attend his own brother's wedding.
I look up to where I last saw Edward, but he's not there. He must've made his escape already.
If Riley were here, he'd make a joke about how his brother can't sit still for two seconds without getting claustrophobic.
God, Riley, I wish you were here.
I try to remind myself that I am lucky that I will always have a piece of my husband right here with me, as I caress my slight baby bump.
Yes, I am three months pregnant.
Riley was so damn happy when we found out. He immediately started planning converting the guest room into a nursery. I smile as I remember his enthusiasm. He had so much energy it was infectious. You couldn't help but be happy when you're around him.
But then I remember that Riley will never see his son or daughter. He'll never get to know them and he or she will never get to know him.
This time I am unable to stop the tears as they sneak up on me unawares. I sob quietly, trying not to attract any attention. The last thing I need now is people hovering, I can't handle it.
Someone takes a seat next to me, where my parents were sitting a few minutes ago. I guess I was too caught up in my own misery that I didn't even notice them getting up.
"Here," The person next to me mutters as he hands me a tissue.
I look up to find none other than my brother-in law and his intense green eyes sitting there.
"Thank you." I whisper, I lost my voice yesterday after sobbing my heart out in bed, clutching Riley's shirt close to me.
"No problem." He says.
That is it. That is all he said to me for the next hour. Sitting next to Edward made me realize how tiny I am next to his strong build. He is over six feet tall, well built, all muscle, but not in a body builder sort of way, but like someone who works out regularly
He simply sits there for an entire hour, which was the longest time he's sat so close to me, and never speaks another word. He simply continues to run his fingers through his bronze coloured hair every few minutes. It almost seems like he was…nervous?
We remain sitting in the exact same position until my parents come back and he gets up to let them sit in his place.
I miss his presence right away.
That was strange, but the amount of time he sat next to me, I felt almost at peace. More at peace than I've felt since Riley's…accident three days ago.
I suppose it was because, next to the baby, he was the closest person to Riley at this gathering.
Riley had worshiped Edward, but Edward's relationship with his parents was filled with tension since even before I met Riley. I never really knew why and always figured it wasn't my place to ask. All Riley ever told me was that Edward was practically raised by his aunt Esme and Uncle Carlisle. Esme was Elizabeth's sister but they weren't very close, so when things got rough between Edward and his parents, he moved in with his aunt and uncle and somehow they were able to convince his parents to allow him to stay.
Riley always regretted not being closer to his older brother. That was something that made me dislike Edward even more, how could he abandon his family like that? What could they have possibly done to deserve it?
"Are you alright, baby?" My mother's voice snaps me out of my thoughts.
"Uhm, yes, I'm fine." I lie. I don't think I'll ever be fine again. But I know that I'll have to try, if not for me then for me baby.
My mother studies my expression thoroughly before she nods and finally looks away. She either believed my lies or decided that I'm not in the mood to talk right now.
"I'm thirsty," I announce all of a sudden. "I'm going to get something to drink." I get up and head for the kitchen. I need an escape from the constant scrutiny, if only for a little bit before I'm called back to talk to some of our very sympathetic neighbors or friends.
Alice has tried to work as a buffer before but Jasper, her husband, has forced her to go home a few hours ago so that she can rest for a while. Alice is nine months pregnant. If circumstances were different she would've been so psyched that we were both having our babies so close to each other.
I pour myself a glass of water and stand staring out the kitchen window while I sip slowly. I enjoy the peace and quiet.
But it only lasted for a minute.
I'd recognize his voice anywhere, even though I could count on one hand the number of times I actually heard it.
I turn around slowly to face Edward. He's leaning against the door jamb with one hand in his pocket, looking completely relaxed. Anyone who looks at him might think that he doesn't give a crap that his brother just passed away, but his eyes were filled with masked sadness. I don't know why he was trying to hide his grief, but it seems like the way he deals with anything remotely uncomfortable.
"Do you need anything?" I ask quietly, wondering maybe if he wanted something to drink too.
"I was just checking to see if you were okay." He replied simply.
"I'm fine, thank you." I replied shortly.
Edward looks like he's about to protest but he is interrupted when his mother walks in. Well, she wasn't exactly walking, Elizabeth Cullen doesn't walk, she struts.
"Are you happy now?" She hisses at me. I had expected her to blow up ever since we heard of Riley's accident, I just never expected her to blow up in my face.
"W-what?" My mouth opens and closes like a damn fish.
"This is all your fault! My son wouldn't have died if it hadn't been for you!"
I stare at her in complete shock, unable to move or speak.
"Mother!" Edward grabs his mother's arm tried to halt her tirade but it only gets worse.
"If you think I'm letting a trollop like you raise my own grandchild then you better think again." She continues and my heart stops beating "As soon as the baby's born, I'm filing a petition for sole custody."
My hands immediately cover my baby bump as though trying to protect my baby from her maliciousness. She can't take my baby away, ever. I won't let her.
"Mother, that's enough!" Edward snaps at his mother. He looks like he's lost his patience with her as well. He's finally able to drag her outside the kitchen while I stand there staring blankly after them.
What just happened?
Did my mother in law really just threaten to take my son or daughter away from me?
I knew that she disliked me ever since Riley and I started dating but apparently I had no idea of the true depth of her hate.
I swallow loudly and feel faint all of a sudden. I quickly grab onto the nearby counter to prevent myself from toppling over. A pair of strong arms quickly grab onto my waist and lead me to the nearest chair.
"Hey, are you alright? Do you need me to get you anything?" Edward asks worriedly.
"No, I'm fine. I just need to sit for a while and I'll be okay." I reply.
"Stop saying you're fine Bella. You and I know that you're not." He looks frustrated at me.
"Since when do you care?" I snap at him and immediately regret it.
"I care, Bella." He replies softly. My head snaps in his direction but he immediately looks away.
"Is it alright if I visit you tomorrow? I'd like to talk to you about something important." He changes the subject before I can speculate at his previous words.
"Talk about what?" I ask. What could he possibly need to talk to me about? Besides, I am surprised that he's actually staying over in Forks for the night. I expected him to flee Seattle all together as soon as the funeral's over.
"I think I may have a solution for your problem. It's a…proposal of sorts." He says, cryptically. I'm in no mood to decipher his words right now so I simply nod silently.
He nods back and then reluctantly moves away.
"I'll see you tomorrow, Bella." The way his voice caresses my name almost sends shivers down my spine.
He turns around and walks out and I finally release the breath I didn't know I was holding.
What the hell is the matter with me?
Less than a minute later, my sanctuary is invaded again when my mother walks in. She says Edward sent her over on his way out. He said that I wasn't feeling well and might need help.
I just don't understand him.
I find myself so busy trying to figure out the reason behind Edward's sudden change of attitude towards me that the entire day passes me by without me noticing.
All our friends and neighbors are almost gone, thank God.
When all of them leave for the night, it's just me and my parents left. I hadn't seen Elizabeth since our confrontation. I guess Edward that made her leave altogether.
"Are you sure you don't want us to stay sweetheart?" Renee asks for the hundredth time as she and my dad get ready to leave that night.
"Yes, mom. I'm sure." I reply again.
"Make sure you lock your doors." Charlie advises, bless his ever practical soul.
"I will, don't worry." I assure him.
They finally leave and as I lock the door behind them and get ready to face my empty house, I realize that this is the first time I've ever been truly alone.
It's too quiet.
I move around the house almost robotically as I get ready for bed.
I get under the covers on my side of the bed, refusing to encroach on Riley's. I sleep facing his side wishing more than anything that he was there with me right now.
I wonder what he would've said about his brother's erratic behavior.
My eyes finally start drooping as the emotional exhaustion catches up with me and I succumb to sleep.
That was the first night I dreamt of Edward Cullen.
(A/N): So? Tell me what you think! I can't wait to hear from you all. Feel free to ask anything you like. I will answer any question as long as the answer won't have a spoiler :D
Any predictions as to what's going to happen next? What do you think Edward wants to talk about?
Until Next Time…Ciao! :)