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Shes putting you back together, Edward. We can all see it happening right in front of us. Shes like the stitches closing up your wounds.”-Esme Bella isn't the first girl to fall head-over-heels for Edward, nor is she the first to believe that Edward loves her too. Dillon Saunders once believed that she and Edward would be together forever, but he broke her heart. Now all she has to get her through is the theater and a series of self destructive relationships. Both she and Edward need recovery, and that is exactly what they find, in the places that they least expected it. stitches banner


1. Chapter 1: Tin Man

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Chapter 1: Tin Man

I can remember with perfect clarity the look on his face as my vision began to fail me. My world was entirely black before I even hit the floor. I awoke, not surprisingly, to the perfect vision of him leaning over me, a look of sheer terror in his eyes. It took only a few seconds for the tears to begin. They rolled down my cheeks in rivers. He pulled me into his lap and I took in a deep breath of his erotic scent. “Listen, love, its going to be okay,” he whispered in that strangely musical voice of his. “We're going to get past this. Its all going to be okay.” He rubbed circles in my back with his hands. My whole body began to shake with the force of my sobs, in spite of his efforts to calm me down.

I tried to relax, but it was to no avail. Every inch of me seemed to scream out as if in pain. I was in pain. Yes, the pain of it all was undeniable, and I knew very well it's source. He was leaving. No, it was even worse than that, I decided. He was leaving and not taking me with him. My mind was covered in haze as I tried to understand the knowledge he had imparted to me. The final words he had spoken before I fell still rang in my ears, yet I could not understand them. To me they seemed like the words of a judge, repeating my death sentence over and over again. The gavel had come down on my reasonably happy existence.

Edward continued to stroke my hair, and my sobs subsided quicker than I had hoped they would. I was in full control of my mind, and already I was beginning to form new plans. I was thinking of a million different ways to make things work. I knew that I would go with him, but the question was how. No ideas seemed to come to me except for ones that involved breaking my mother's heart. That I could never do, even if Edward had allowed it. The cancer had left my mother too fragile to survive an escape like the ones that were popping into my head every few seconds.

“Slow down, love,” Edward whispered into my hair. “There's no way you're going to come with us.” I could never understand how he always knew my thoughts right as they came to me. He pulled me tighter to him, like he was afraid of letting go. I was afraid he actually would let go of me. As I curled closer to him, his icy skin sent shivers through me. He started to push me away, but I put my arms around his neck and held on tight. His laugh sounded like music, and for the first time since I had met him, I resented it.

“He can laugh,” I thought, “I'm sitting here crying like a baby, and he can still laugh.”

“I'm sorry, darling. I know I shouldn't laugh, but your face,” he explained with a smile. I tried to return it, but the tears just flowed harder. He wiped them away from my face with a loving caress.

I wanted to scream, to yell a million different things at him. I wanted to understand why he was leaving, but I never got the question formed in my head. All I could understand was that he was leaving; it did not matter to me what the explanation for that was. For some reason, I felt vindicated. All my fears and insecurities from the past four months had been confirmed. I had always known, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he was far to good for me. In no way was I the kind of girl who deserved to have such perfection. I was not beautiful enough for him, and I knew it. Every time I looked into his strange amber eyes I was reminded of my horrible inadequacies.

It then came back to me the reasons he had given for his sudden departure. His father had taken a new job in Tallahassee. The research facility there was offering Carlisle twice the salary he got at the hospital here in Maine. Although, God knows they did not need the money. The Cullens were richer than kings, but apparently that was not enough for Carlisle and Esme. They still wanted more. I immediately chastised myself for the unforgiving thoughts. Carlisle had shown nothing but kindness to my mother and I, and Esme had treated me like one of her children. I had hoped that one day I really would be one of her children. All of that, all those private hopes, had been washed away by Carlisle's decision to relocate this family. Once again, I had to fight the overwhelming urge to scream.

Eventually, I cried myself to sleep, and the last thing I felt was his breath in my ear as he whispered, “I love you, Dillon, and you know I always will.”

Our final two weeks passed much faster than they should have. Every moment that he was not busy helping his family pack up their house, Edward spent with me. He did not dare ask me to come visit during that time; he knew what it would do to me to see all their possessions being put away into boxes. He took me to the house after it was emptied of everything. As I walked through the bare hallways and rooms, I was strongly reminded of a crypt. It had the feeling of a tomb without the furniture and pictures that made it a home.

Edward pulled me behind him as he walked through the house. His eyes wore a veiled, distant look, and I could tell that he was thinking about everything that had happened in this house, especially everything that had happened between us. Like our first kiss in the hall outside his sister's room, when Rosalie and Emmett had interrupted us, or when he showed me his father's collection of strange antique paintings. The paintings were gone now, too; nothing remained in the house, save for the tattered remnants of my heart. That I would leave in the house that had become a tomb. What use had I for a heart when it was not fit to love another? It had been made for Edward; it beat for Edward. Now that Edward was leaving, I would leave it behind in this place. “What a fitting place for a heart that is no longer beating,” I thought to myself. “A house that is no longer living.” I felt like the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz. My heart had been cut out and I could think of no way to replace it. Maybe I would be better off without a heart. If I had no heart, then it could not cause me any more pain.

Edward shifted his gaze from where it had settled at the far end of the room to look in my eyes. Something in his expression seemed to tell me that he had heard my thoughts, but I knew it was not possible. My face was probably just showing more of my hurt than I wanted it to. I carefully tried to readjust my features into a suitable mixture of sadness and stoic acceptance. His eyes began to twinkle and he pulled me close to him. I rested my head on his chest and breathed in the scent I could have pinpointed anywhere. “You're going to be a wonderful actress,” he said with a small laugh. “No one will ever know what you're going through.” I could easily detect the sarcasm in his voice, but I let it pass without comment for once.

Our time was running out; I knew by the way his body tensed beneath me. He lifted his arm to look at his watch. I wanted more than anything to keep my hold on him and swear never to let go. Instead I dropped my hands to my sides and stared at him. I tried to memorize every detail of his face so that I would never forget. If I could not have him, then I wanted the perfect memories that he left behind. I closed my eyes and fought back the tears that threatened to surface. Since the first night, I had managed to keep my emotions in check, for my sake as well as Edward's. Now the bottled feelings threatened to bubble to the surface. I turned my back to him and walked out the front door without waiting for him to follow me. He could finish his goodbyes with out me; I was sick of the house and its tainted memories.

I stood on the porch and crossed my arms over my chest. The breeze lifted my hair and threatened to undo all the work I had put into straightening it. It was a cold day. “A good day for goodbyes,” I thought. Suddenly, Edward was behind me, his arms wrapped around me in a loving embrace. I let myself sink into him. I wished we could stay like this forever; two lovers waiting for the separation that threatened to consume them. Edward came around and stood in front of me. He lifted my chin so that I was forced to look into his eyes. Again, I was struck by their strange color.

“Promise me that you will be okay,” he said. I raised my eyebrows in disbelief. He knew I would not be okay. “Just promise me that you will move on. You can't wait for me forever.” I nodded briefly. He seemed to believe that I would try to survive instead of willingly letting myself fall into despair. Apparently that was enough to convince him that I would continue to live in his absence. He pulled my lifted face to his and kissed me with a fervor that I found strangely disturbing. I knew it was his way of saying goodbye to me, so I returned the kiss with everything I had in me. Our lips explored each other in ways they never had before. Just when I was about to pass out from my lack of air, he pushed me gently away. “Try to move on,” he whispered. I closed my eyes and savored the sound of his voice. “Try to forget.”

When I opened my eyes, he was already in the Triumph. I stayed on my feet as he started the car and sped away, but the moment he rounded the corner, I sank to my knees. The sobs that I had kept inside for weeks now ripped from my chest in the most anguished cry I had ever uttered. I suddenly knew that I would never move on. It was all over for me