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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


2. Chapter 2: First Sight

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Chapter 2: First Sight

I let the car idle for a minute before I shut it off. I could not stand the thought of going back into that horrible school for one more day. The thoughts of the humans surrounded and threatened to overwhelm me with incessant trivialities and gossip. The idea of suffering through it voluntarily seemed like madness to me, but it was just another price we had to pay for immortality. For the second time that morning, I wished that we had never left Denali. The cold of the Alaska wilderness would be welcome to me after two years in the ever-rainy Forks, Washington.

A sharp tapping on my window alerted me to Alice's impatience. “Come on, Edward,” she practically screamed at me with her thoughts, “no more of your moping.”

“I wasn't moping,” I muttered to myself. “I was... reminiscing.”

She was bouncing on the sidewalk while I grabbed my book bag from the backseat and emerged from the safety and silence of my Volvo. My mind was suddenly flooded with the infuriating noise of her thoughts reciting Romeo and Juliet. In German. A groan escaped my lips, and she grinned at me and continued on in her task. When she finished her recitation in German, she moved on to Russian. I shuddered with impatience and tried to expel her thoughts from my head. For three days she had done nothing pester me. First, she counted to a million in Arabic and then did the same in Hebrew. She had then proceeded to recite all of Shakespeare's works in alphabetical order, and in five different languages, including English, French, and Chinese. I was beginning to hope that whatever vision she had seen of the future would just happen already and she would stop blocking me from her head. Romeo and Juliet was hard enough for me to endure in English, let alone in Russian.

I slid my bag over my shoulder and glared at the buildings in front of me. High school was too much for me. I had not been ready to come back, but Carlisle had insisted that getting back into things was exactly what I needed. I remember his laugh when he said that I may make some new friends. We both knew how very unlikely that was. All humans avoided us like the plague. All the smart ones at least. “Not Dillon,” I thought with a certain fondness. “She was always so stupid when it came to me. Or maybe she was just shockingly brave.”

No, what I needed right now was to hunt, I realized with sudden urgency. Maybe I would skip today, just run off into the woods and come back sometime early tomorrow. That sounded like heaven to me, but instead I stalked off to my first class of the day. Carlisle would not be happy with me if I cut class, even though I had passed high school almost to many times to count. College, too, for that matter. Thankfully, my first class was English, and required precious little of my attention. I let my thoughts idly drift away from the lesson.

I knew, of course, the real reason for my disdain of Forks High. Everything in this place reminded me of her. Every hallway, every classroom, every teacher, and every student reminded me of Dillon. I knew now that what I felt for her was not love like I had thought it was; I had been intrigued by her. Jasper had made that very clear to me from the beginning of my relationship with her, and I should have known to trust him when it came to feelings. Now, I felt only a growing guilt for leaving her like I did and worry for how she had survived. She had not been like the other girls in our school in Littleton, Maine. She thought differently than the rest of them, and that was what made me notice her when we first arrived. No, I never loved her, not in the way I should have. As much as I wished that I could belong to her and only her, I saw the impossibility of that path. Vampires did not fall in love with humans. Vampires did not marry humans. Dillon and I would not be the exception to the rule.

Eventually, Jasper had convinced me of the validity of his arguments. We left with barely a word, and I never looked back to see what happened to her. Something told me that she had not kept her promise. She had loved me deeper than she had any right to. The depth of her emotions had frightened me at times. Emmett and Jasper were the ones who put the final nail in the coffin. They argued that she was a threat to our family. She was getting suspicious of us, and soon would demand to know our secret. I felt remorse for leaving, not knowing what it would do to her, but it did not hurt me in the same way that it hurt her. The anguish in her thoughts and voice was as bright as day. It cut me to the core knowing that I was the cause.

I can see clearly her furious protests the morning after I told her I was leaving. She tried everything to get me to stay with her, even at one point proposing to me. I laughed inwardly at the memory. Of course, I told her that was out of the question. Finally, I promised her that I would come back and go to college with her. She had already been accepted to Bates College in Lewiston, in spite of the fact that she was not even a senior yet. She was brilliant, but after the cancer almost killed her mother, she knew she could not leave. So all her grand schemes for New York City and Los Angeles had been dashed to pieces. Much like what I had done to her other hopes and dreams.

I wanted to slap myself for my melancholy, and I spent all morning trying to shake the gloom from my mind. Alice's teasing had gotten the best of me and I could not seem to shake the feeling that something was about to change for my family. Her infuriating behavior throughout the day seemed to confirm my suspicions that something was up. By lunch, she had almost finished with Shakespeare and was planning to move to translating every song the Beatles ever wrote into Ancient Greek. I rolled my eyes at her insane efforts to keep me from focusing on what was really going on in that crazy head of hers.

When I entered the lunchroom, however, I could no longer focus on her thoughts alone. The musings of every student in the school hit me like a wall. Apparently, the new girl had arrived today, and virtually every male in the student body was thinking of what he would like to do to her, and where, and in exactly what position. I shook my head in disgust. Only in the male head would such crudity exist. The thoughts of the girls were slightly more appropriate; they mostly revolved around what they would give for her perfect hair or big, brown eyes. I quickly turned down the volume until it was only a dull roar.

I was seated with my family before most of the students had even received their food. The tray in front of me held a revolting sandwich, and I wondered again how humans ate things like that. I was forced to remind myself that I had once been one of them. It was doubtless sure that I had eaten things similar to that, once upon a time. Alice's fidgeted in the seat across from me, distracting me from my very important musings on the oddities of a human diet. I lifted one eyebrow at her, but she did not fall for my nonchalant charade. She knew very well that not knowing what went on in her head killed me. Frustration radiated off of me in waves and Jasper growled his disapproval.

“Would you please unwind a little, Edward?” he groaned. “I don't think I can take any more of your self-loathing. Its making me feel like shit.” I growled softly in my chest but did not turn to face him. Jasper could not seem to understand why being in this school had such a negative effect on me. Of course, he knew what it made me feel, but he would never understand why.

“So Edward,” Alice finally spoke up. “What do you think of the new girl?” I looked at her warily. Was this what she had been so excited about for the past few days? A new student at school? I shook my head and reminded to thank her later for her stunning rendition of Othello.

“What about her?” I asked nonchalantly. All I wanted to do was to hunt. I didn't give a damn about the new girl or her big brown eyes. She would undoubtedly be no different from every other girl in Forks High. I could hear the thoughts of every student in the cafeteria, and I searched for the mind of the new girl. Every person's thoughts were different, distinct, much in the same way the everyone has a different voice. I shifted through the thoughts surrounding me in an effort to find hers. Surprisingly, I didn't find hers anywhere.

“Have fun in Biology, Edward,” Alice told me with a wink. She jumped from the table and skipped from the room, pausing only to dump her untouched food in the trash can near the door.

“Who are they?” The words echoed loud and cold in my ears. My siblings and I glanced at each other and smiled. The new girl had obviously noticed the gorgeous kids sitting all alone.

Jessica Stanley's thoughts hit me like a tidal wave from across the room. “Of course she notices the Cullens,” she thought. “Mike Newton hasn't stopped staring at her for the entire lunch period, and she notices the Cullens.” I could hear the jealous ring in her mind as she thought about Mike. I looked at Mike to see if he was still enraptured with the new girl. His eyes and thoughts were fixed at the other end of the table where Jessica sat with her new friend. I looked at Jessica and then at the new girl before dropping my eyes to my tray.

There was nothing remarkable about her from what I could see. I again wondered why Alice was so jumpy about her. She had dark hair, deep brown eyes, and fair skin. She really was nothing too outstanding. She was pretty, definitely, but not pretty enough to tempt me. I heard one of the girls giggle, Jessica maybe.

“Thats Emmett and Edward Cullen, and Rosalie and Jasper Hale. The one who left was Alice Cullen; they all live together with Dr. Cullen and his wife."

“So what do you think of her Edward?” Rosalie asked me in a strangely icy tone. I tried to read her thoughts, but she kept me out by picturing truly scarring images of her and Emmett.

“Shes tolerable.” I picked at the sandwich in front of me.

"They are… very nice-looking,” we heard the new girl say.

Rosalie raised an eyebrow in disapproval. “Is that the best she can do? Shes not very articulate.”

"Yes!" Jessica agreed with another giggle. "They're all together though — Emmett and Rosalie, and Jasper and Alice, I mean. And they live together." Of course our living arrangements seemed scandalous to the people around us. If they knew how old we all really were and that both couples had been married for decades, they probably wouldn't think anything of it.

"Which ones are the Cullens?" she asked. "They don't look related…"

"Oh, they're not. Dr. Cullen is really young, in his twenties or early thirties. They're all adopted. The Hales are brother and sister, twins — the blondes — and they're foster children,” Jessica replied, happy to provide her friend with all the gossip about the mysterious Cullen family.

"They look a little old for foster children,” she said. Again Rosalie raised one eyebrow at me.

“Stop looking at me like you know something, Rose,” I commanded in a harsh whisper that would not have been heard by human ears.

"They are now,” Jessica said, “Jasper and Rosalie are both eighteen, but they've been with Mrs. Cullen since they were eight. She's their aunt or something like that."

"That's really kind of nice — for them to take care of all those kids like that, when they're so young and everything."

"I guess so," Jessica replied reluctantly. "I think that Mrs. Cullen can't have any kids, though.”

I rolled my eyes. As if being unable to have children would make Esme less of a good person. Listening to Jessica's thoughts, I could understand that she was driven more by jealousy than outright hatred of our family. She had felt compelled to compete with my sisters in beauty and popularity when we first arrived.

"Have they always lived in Forks?" the new girl asked.

"No, they just moved down two years ago from somewhere in Alaska."

“Whats the new girl thinking about us, Ed?” Emmett leaned across the table towards me like a conspirator. I searched through the crowd to pick hers out. It should have been an easy task, but I came up empty.

“I don't know.” I looked up and caught her eye. Her brown eyes seemed to capture me, to pull me into her. Try as I might, I could not look away. Something about her captivated me. I tried to convince myself that it was no more than plain curiosity at that fact that I couldn't hear her thoughts, but I knew it was something more than that.

"Which one is the boy with the reddish brown hair?" she asked. I could feel Rosalie, Jasper, and Emmett's eyes drilling into me, but I did not look back at them. She still held me under her spell, and it aggravated me that anyone could have such an effect on me after Dillon. I turned quickly away, only to find the accusing stares of my brothers and sister.

"That's Edward. He's gorgeous, of course, but don't waste your time. He doesn't date. Apparently none of the girls here are good-looking enough for him,” Jessica's voice sounded confident and nonchalant, but she was replaying the times I had turned her down over in her head. I bit back a smile.

We only waited a few minutes before leaving the cafeteria. There was really little need to keep up the human charade when people barely even noticed us anymore. It was just a precaution now. Emmett and Rosalie excused themselves and Jasper left to find Alice before their next class, leaving me to wander the campus by myself. I shoved my hands deep in my pockets and started to pace between buildings. It worried me that I couldn't read her thoughts. I wondered briefly if I was losing my gift. That seemed to be a definite possibility given the absolute silence I had found when searching for her mind.

It wasn't long before students began emerging from the cafeteria. I once more shouldered my bag and trudged to my next class. Mr. Banner's Biology class was strictly uninteresting, and rarely held my attention for more than a few minutes. I set my bag on the floor next to my chair and heaved a sigh. Today we would be taking notes on cellular anatomy, perhaps one of the most boring subjects biology had to offer. I settled in for a long afternoon when Alice's final words at lunch came back to me.

“Have fun in Biology, Edward.” I groaned. The mysterious new girl was probably in my class. I looked around the room and saw that the only empty space was at the table next to me. The door opened and again I was assaulted by the thoughts of every male in the vicinity. I didn't turn to look at her, but was strongly aware of the sound her feet made as she walked down the aisle toward Mr. Banner's desk.

As she passed me, her scent hit me like a hurricane coming into the coast. It overwhelmed me and almost destroyed me in just a single second. She was... indescribable. Her smell brought venom to my mouth the very instant I inhaled it. Every muscle in my body tightened, ready to spring on her. It took every bit of willpower I had to keep myself from jumping up from my seat and attacking her in a classroom full of unsuspecting innocents.

I had never felt anything like it in my entire non-life. I felt like her blood was calling to me, singing to me in a melody sweeter than the songs of a thousand angels. And I wanted her. I wanted her more than words could say. I could picture her blood, flowing out of her veins into my open mouth. I wondered what she would look like dead. Would her fine eyes be lessened when the life and light were no longer in them?

I stiffened visibly as she sat next to me. I knew that I could not give in to my daydreams. Carlisle would never forgive me, and I could not let myself be my family's downfall. The hour flew by, yet at the same time, I was acutely aware of everything around me. I barely breathed for an hour as I waited for the bell to release me from my mortal struggle. Every moment I was surrounded by her intoxicating scent. I felt like I was drowning in it.

The bell rang, and I ran from the room faster than any human could have. I didn't pause to look at anyone one my way to the car. As I approached, I saw Alice sitting on the hood, waiting with surprising patience. She jumped to greet me, but I was to quick for her.

“Did you see this?” I asked.

“Look, Edward, its complicated. I-”

“Did you see this?”

“Not exactly,” she replied sheepishly.

“Whats that supposed to mean?” I was yelling at her now, but I didn't care.

“Look, Edward, I didn't see everything,” she tried to explain to me. I started pacing in front of the car. “I saw you fall in love with her; I didn't see you trying to kill her!” I stopped my pacing and stared.

“In love with her?” I was shocked.

“Yes, Edward. In love with her.”

“Is that all you saw?” I asked pointedly.

“Not exactly,” she replied nervously.

“Well what then?”

“I saw her becoming one of us.”

I felt the sudden urge to sit down. This was the very thing I had run away from. We had left Maine because we did not want to subject Dillon to the horrors that awaited her if we were to remain together. Alice patted me on the arm and told me she was going to class. I barely even registered the thought.

I knew without a doubt what I had to do; I had to keep away from her. She was dangerous to me and to my family. I would switch Biology classes, I decided. It was simple enough to execute, and I would not have to face her every day. It crossed my mind that perhaps it would be better if I just went ahead and killed her, but the very thought of it made me sick for some reason. Hurting her was not an option for me. I had to keep her safe. I could still feel the pull of her blood, calling to me though I knew not where she was.

I stood beside my car, unmoving, for the entire hour. The moment the bell rang, I headed to see the receptionist. She held a certain fondness for, as most females did, and I hoped it would be an easy task to get her to switch me to a different class. As I explained to her my situation, the door opened behind me. A small breeze came through the open door and engulfed me in an intoxicating scent. Her scent I realized. I turned slowly and found myself face to face with the girl of my dreams... and my nightmares.

"Never mind, then," I said to the receptionist. "I can see that it's impossible. Thank you so much for your help." Without a glance back at her, I strode out the door.

This girl, I was certain, was going to be the death of me.