Okay guys here is a story that just won't get out of my head until I start writing again. I am overjoyed by the response of Rock Star. I love you guys for all the reviews and the patience to stand by while my life righted itself again. As for this story I have no idea where it is going. I do know it will be a HEA only because that's what I right. Stick with me here guys. I'm trying to better my writing skills and I am starting that process with a new Beta, Christy, who is amazing already. She has become a friend in a short time.
As always I own nothing but my simple mind that never ceases to amaze me with ideas.
Enjoy and please leave me some love!
I Can't Take My Eyes Off You
Chapter 1- Introductions are Made
It was a cold and snowy night in Charleston, South Carolina andI was driving to my friend Alice's house for a welcoming home party for her brother Edward. He'd been in the military for 10 years and had only been home twice in those years. But according to everyone he was done for good. And they all couldn't be happier.
As I'm driving I think of the love they have for one another and reflecting on my own family. My name is Isabella Marie Swan, Bella for short. I am 26 years old and have no children or a man in my life. My father, if you called him that, was a drunk who loved to bring women home all the time and treat me as his slave. My mother, god bless her soul, died when I was 4. I had no idea love could exist in a family because I'd never known it, or in my mother's case, remembered it.
I graduated with honors in Literacy and got my teaching degree for elementary school for the 2ndgrade. I loved kids and wanted to teach them that books can come to life with only the way your mouth speaks.
Thinking back to Edward, the family adopted him at the age of three when his parents died a tragic death in an accident. Of course, you would never know that he wasn't biologically theirs. I should know that blood doesn't make a family for they have adopted me into theirs in a matter of speaking because of the closeness Alice and I share.
As I pulled up the long driveway with the house coming into view I couldn't help but marvel at such a beauty it was. No matter how many times I've driven this driveway it never ceases to amaze me. Coming to a stop beside Alice's yellow Audi I smiled. Only she would drive a yellowy sports car and make it look cool.
Her husband Jasper is a lawyer and makes damn good money and as much as Alice loves to shop and spend, he needs it. I couldn't help but smile as I got out and looked on the other side of my car. Emmett's huge ass hummer was parked. He was the big goofy brother I'd always wished I had to protect me. And he does. I love him dearly. His wife Rosalie was in college with me at Northwestern. I introduced them when I asked her to join me for thanksgiving one year since her family was out of town. Once eyes were upon each other it was a lost cause and I'm happy for them. Especially since they are expecting their first baby, due in May.
I walked up the walkway and before my hand could turn the knob the door was thrown open and I was almost tackled to the ground by a small pixie and a pregnant woman. I laughed. "Hello my favorite girls" A throat cleared and I looked up to see Esme. "You're my favorite too Mama Es." She smiled and came to kiss my cheek.
"Come in child. It's cold." We all walked in and before I knew it I was literally thrown in the air. I couldn't help but laugh. This was Emmett's way of saying hello. It didn't matter where we were. Sometimes people gave use strange looks because Rose would be there and to anyone who didn't know us it would look pretty strange.
"Emmett put me down or you won't get any cake" I was back on my feet in two seconds flat. And he had this stupid ass pout on his face. I smiled and kissed his cheek. "Thank you."
"No Belly, thank you for making me a happier man." I laughed. "No one can beat your baking skills." Esme cocked her eyebrow. "Except my mommy" Then he leaned down to whisper. "Not even her but don't tell her that." I giggled.
"Emmett Matthew Cullen! I heard that." He visibly paled and I was leaning on Rose laughing.
We all made sure everything was ready to go when he got here. I was kicking Jasper's ass on the Xbox when we all heard the door open. "Hello anybody home!" Esme and Alice started sobbing. Emmett had tears in his eyes. Rose was sniffling and Jasper stood off to the side smiling. I was getting teary eyed watching Esme cling to her son thanking God he was home safe and Edward crying telling his mother he was finally home.
After all the family greeted him Emmett and Alice introduced them to their significant others. Watching Edward touch Rose's baby bump was one of the cutest things. Esme came and wrapped her arms around me and led me over to him. "Edward I'd like for you to meet Bella. Bella this is my son Edward." He looked up at me and I swear the earth shifted. He smiled at me and held his hand out which I did not hesitate to give him mine.
"It's nice to meet you Bella. I've heard nothing but great things about you in everyone's letters." I blushed and shot Alice a dirty look.
"It's a pleasure to finally meet you. I feel like I have known you for a long time with all the stories I've heard." I smiled at him.
"Whatever Emmett told you was a lie. It was always him" I threw my head back and laughed as Emmett yelled out "Hey!"
"I figured as much." Throughout all of this he never let my hand go nor did I. Realizing this we slowly let each other go. I couldn't describe the feeling I felt when it happened.
"Come let's sit down dinner is almost ready. Bella my lovely kitchen helper will you come?" I rolled my eyes in a non-rude kind of way and nodded.
Getting everything set up Esme finally let loose on what she wanted to talk to me about. "So, that was interesting." I pretended like I didn't know what she was talking about. "It
seemed like you and Edward had a moment."
"Mama Es. Do not start your matchmaking woman. I love you dearly. And I mean no disrespect in this but there is no way in hell would he ever think of being with me and that's okay. Let's just enjoy the fact he is home." I hugged her.
She went to speak and I shook my head no. I wasn't going to even start hoping that man wanted me. He's been home all of 20 minutes. No doubt I could feel something but it wasn't what she wanted, at least not now.
Apparently she wasn't the only one who was trying. It just so happened that Edward was sat right across from me at the dinner table. I could feel his eyes on me quite a bit but I shrugged it off as being I'm a new person to him. And I'm with his family as if I was one of their own.
"So since you seem to have stories of myself, Bella, tell me how you came to be a part of this crazy clan." I smiled and looked at Alice. Who in turn gave me a small sad smile, the mood shifting to one of melancholy.
I put my fork down and wiped my mouth. "It's-"
"Bella you don-" Alice tried to interrupt me but I shook my head at her. And gave her a look saying it was okay. She nodded. Edward noticing the way everyone was looking. He opened his mouth to tell me I didn't have to I'm sure.
"It's okay everyone. Yes it's a hard story to tell but he is a part of you guys and therefore special to me. He deserves to know." Everyone gave me proud smiles. "Alice, Rose and I went to Northwestern together. We were dorm mates. Seemed like fate had a hand in letting me have at least one of them in all my classes it seemed, but one, mypsychology class." Everyone shuddered. "About a third way into the semester my freshman year I started getting these notes. They would show up in places that were unsettling. Like my bedside table, my car, even my shower bag. At first I thought it was a prank but then pictures started to come with the notes on the back of them. Showing normal things like grocery shopping, walking to class, laughing with the girls. Some were not so normal." I could feel the tears building in my eyes and took a deep breath. "Pictures of me changing, or in the shower were what showed me I had a serious problem with a stalker. We went to the police and showed them everything. They checked for finger prints but nothing came back and they said they would up campus police but that was all they could do." The tears I was trying to hold back started to slowly fall. The girls wrapped their arms around me sniffling into my shoulders. "I started noticing things around me just to be safe. When I did that I started noticing my psych professor seemed to be everywhere I was. The looks he gave me rubbed me the wrong way. It was like he was trying to see through my clothes. Sometimes they held secrets almost. In the classroom he was brush by me and intentionally touch me, on my arm, on my shoulder, or on my hand. After weeks of this I couldn't take it. I was having nightmares. I dropped the class and asked to be switched to another class or if I could take it online." I was almost to the hard part. "After I dropped the class things started happening. The pictures turned worse. They would have X's over Alice and Rose's faces or any of the other friends I talked to. I had this one guy friend who is gay and he was like a girlfriend. There was a picture of his arm around my shoulders and us laughing and over his face was written 'kill.' I'd had enough and went back to the police. They finally understood something wasn't right. So they had an undercover agent pose as a student and have him outside my dorm hidden. That's when things took a turn for the worst." I had to catch my breath.
Carlisle tried to stop me. "Bella, take deep breaths angel, it's okay. You're doing so good." I gave him what I hoped was a smile. I looked up at Edward and gasped. He had tears in his eyes. But it was the look of his eyes that made me gasp. They were so much darker and held so much anger and pain.
"James broke into the dorm one night. Rose and Alice were out at a night class. And I was studying for my English exam. I was scared out of my mind. He hurt me in ways I can't bare repeating. The bruises on the outside faded with time. It was the bruises on the inside that still haunt me to this day. He took something from me, something that wasn't his. I don't know what happened after that. I was in a coma for almost a month. When I woke up I found out the guard was hit in the head but woke up and killed James. When I knew he couldn't possibly hurt me I made the decision to fix myself. I wasn't going to let what he did rule my life. I took the rest of the year off and when I went back to school and decided I wanted to teach English to kids. I also go to group sessions for battered women and tell my story for them to know they can overcome it. Because I did"
I smiled and took my dishes with me. I needed a moment to collect myself. I could still hear sniffling and crying. From the girls and I knew Jasper and Emmett were angry. I could feel it almost. I walked outside on the back patio after finishing my dishes and looked up at the stars. They were so beautiful.
I was taken out of my thoughts when I felt a throw being thrown over my shoulders. I looked up and smiled at Edward. "Bella….I um…I have no words. I'm so incredibly sorry that happened to you. The marine in me knows it's against law to kill a man. But the man in me who was raised with manners by the most loving parents wants to do nothing but bring that evil son of a bitch back to life and torture him." He sighed. "I am in awe of you Bella. You're so strong. And I can see why my family loves you so much. I could see my sister in pain over what you went through, along with Rose. My brother who is a teddy bear brought to tears because he felt like he should have protected you. Jasper because he is close to you as well as my mother and father because you're their daughter in their eyes and when one of us is hurt, we all hurt. I'm almost jealous of you Bella. The last 10 years have been amazing but hell for me. I would have given anything to have been able to call up my family just to calm myself and them down. I feel like I have to know them all over again when you know them so well. But I'm forever glad you had them in your time." He seemed like he wanted to say something.
"Edward?" I looked at him curiously.
"Bella, I hope it's not to forward of me but may I give you a hug? I don't know who I would be trying to comfort. You or myself. Hell maybe both." He looked so nervous. I smiled and nodded my head.
Nothing in this world felt anything like being wrapped in his arms. I know that sounds cliché but it's the God's honest truth. I could feel myself relaxing for the first time in a long time.
He pulled back and smiled a sweet crooked smile. "Come on. It's cold and I don't want you to get sick."
After rejoining the family the night progressed with laughter and smiles.