Heart and Soul
Edward is nearly broken when he loses a dear friend in an accident. When he meets Bella at Forks High, not only is his heart healed, but his soul as well. However, Bella has a secret that could make or break them. AU/AH Twilight meets Return to Me!
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended. I once said ‘what’s the point of an AH Twilight story? Wouldn’t it be better to change the names and make it original?’ Then I read a few that were pretty good. Then, I was bitten by this rabid plot bunny…it had sharp, pointy teeth! So, if you’ve ever seen Return to Me, you may recognize certain key story lines :) Read on, and let me know what you think! Rest assured; this is Edward/Bella :)
1. Chapter 1
Rating 5/5 Word Count 2941 Review this Chapter
Thirteen miles outside of Port Angeles, Edward Cullen sat in Granny’s Café, a side-of-the-road motel/restaurant just off of Highway 101. It was a popular place amongst the teens of Forks, as it had good, cheap food and the distinction of being outside of Forks but not quite so far as Port Angeles. He thought back over the course of the evening at the circumstances that had brought him to where he currently sat, pushing his barely-touched food around his plate.
His evening had started normally enough. He and his best friend Tanya had gone to Port Angeles in the late afternoon in search of a new CD that had recently been released. On their way home, Tanya had suggested that they stop for dinner. Edward readily agreed, seeing as he was hungry and they still had a couple of hours before they were required to be home.
Usually Esme and Carlisle, Edward’s adopted parents, only allowed him and Tanya to drive to Port Angeles with an adult or older sibling in tow. This was their first solo excursion since Edward had become a licensed driver three months before. Edward scoffed internally when he thought about how often Emmett had teased him about needing a chaperone on his “dates” with Tanya.
Edward had always told his adoptive brother to shove it, because he and Tanya were just friends. They weren’t dates, so no chaperone was needed; they just had to go with a more experienced driver on the highway. Looking back now, however, Edward wondered how he had missed Tanya’s hints in the last few months.
He had felt an unexpected, nervous, giddiness when they stopped at the Café. Going to the music store by themselves wasn’t unusual. Esme had dropped them off there to browse together while she did other errands dozens of times in the past. But this evening, when Edward had opened the door and offered Tanya a hand out of the car, he had suddenly felt like his earlier denials to Emmett were a bit of a lie. Tanya had smiled and stepped closer to him than she usually did, wrapping both hands at his elbow as though he were a courting Victorian gentleman. This had the feel of a date, and Edward found himself feeling very confused. Her declaration of “We should date…” over their dinner of roast beef had caught him even further by surprise. The bus boy had asked him if he needed the Heimlich.
“Edward, you are so stubborn!” He startled and looked up from his thoroughly mixed potatoes and gravy into Tanya’s patiently exasperated face. He shook his head to clear it. What exactly did he want?
“Tanya, I don’t want to ruin our friendship…” he began, uncertain why he was suddenly so nervous with a girl that he had been best friends with for years. He wondered if perhaps the thought of Mr. Duchovny, Tanya’s very protective father, had something to do with his sudden case of nerves.
“So you won’t even try?” she asked.
“We’re only 16,” he defended himself.
“You think too much,” Tanya laughed playfully, tapping the side of her head.
“We’ve been friends for a long time; what if it ends badly?” Edward asked.
“You say that like you know it will,” Tanya’s tone was slightly less playful, almost hurt.
“That’s not fair…”
“I love you, Edward, I have for a while. Age is irrelevant. My mother was married to my father at my age.” Her voice was thick with emotion, her beautiful Russian accent becoming more pronounced. Edward knew that Tanya and her sisters spoke Russian at home with their father, but never outside the house and never in front of him. He always wanted to hear it though. He realized that his mouth had fallen open at the word “married” and he promptly closed it.
“You’ve never said anything before now. I feel like I’m in shock. Usually, I feel like I know your every thought…but right now I don’t know what I think, let alone you…” Edward’s brow creased in his confusion.
“Just say, ‘Tanya, I love you too.’ What is so hard about that? Why can’t you see that we’d be good together?”
“Can I think about it? I just feel like we’re so young. How do you know love is what you’re feeling? I’m just so confused all of a sudden. Maybe next week you’ll love Mike Newton.” Tanya scoffed at the lost expression on Edward’s face.
“Easy, women are smarter than men when it comes to feelings. I’m definitely too smart to fall in love with Mike Newton,” Tanya smirked. Edward gave a half grin and lightly punched her upper arm like he always did when she teased him.
“Let’s get going. I promised my parents that I’d be home by nine and it’s still an hour drive,” Edward said.
“That’s the problem with Forks; all the good date scenes are in Port Angeles. Half the date is wasted on driving here.” Tanya said. Edward merely raised an eyebrow and fixed her with an incredulous look as they paid for their dinner and stood from their table.
“Ok, I admit, it’s not a date unless both participants are aware of it beforehand,” Tanya said sheepishly. Edward just shook his head and grinned at her. He helped Tanya with her coat before putting on his own. A cold front had just come in, the temperature was near freezing, and only dropped further when the sun dipped below the horizon. Esme was always worried that he would get into an accident driving at night, being such a new driver. Their parents had only agreed to let them come out tonight on the promise that they would drive carefully and obey all the speed limits. That and Tanya’s innocent, wide pleading eyes, which melted Esme every time.
“Maybe we can do something over the weekend. I think I would fare better if I wasn’t coerced to come in the first place.” Edward hip-checked Tanya as they walked out the door of the restaurant to his car so she would know that he was teasing her. They had been best friends since they were seven. Edward had moved into Forks around the same time as Tanya; her family had just emigrated from Russia and the newly-formed, Cullen family of three had just moved in from Chicago. They were both very reserved by nature, and had come together as the common outsiders in their school class. The other kids their age had all been born in Forks; as such, they tended to leave the strange Russian girl and the weird adopted kid alone.
Edward had been adopted after his birth parents had died in a fire that burned their house in Chicago to the ground. His father had been trapped inside by the collapsing roof after he helped his wife and son to climb out of the second story window in Edward’s room. His mother had died soon after; she had been too overwhelmed by grief after watching the house collapse on her husband and by trying to dig through the still burning rubble to find him.
Elizabeth had tried to protect Edward, taking him across the street to the gathered neighbors before she turned around and walked purposely back to the burning pile of debris. In her futile attempt to save her husband, she had neglected herself. Elizabeth suffered too many burns and severe smoke inhalation, and died alongside her beloved husband.
Carlisle had been the doctor to evaluate Edward at the hospital. He had felt a connection with the newly orphaned five year old boy. Since he and his wife Esme were unable to have children, it was easy for Carlisle to convince his wife that they ought to take in the sad, sooty boy with expressive green eyes. Carlisle joked that Esme was at the hospital, a bag of clothes with the tags still attached in hand, before the phone line had fully disconnected.
“What are you thinking?” Tanya’s soft, barely-there accent pulled Edward from his memories. He was surprised to find that they had reached the car. He had been so absorbed in his memories that he had simply stopped beside Tanya, toying with the set of keys in his hand.
“I was just remembering,” Edward said softly, meeting Tanya’s eyes apologetically.
“Happy memories? I think not, if your face is to be the judge.” Tanya looked at him knowingly.
“Meeting you, my parents, the usual,” Edward said with a reserved smile that didn’t reach his eyes. There was an unspoken understanding between them that it wasn’t Carlisle and Esme that he was speaking of. Tanya was one of the few who knew that Edward was still haunted by what happened in Chicago.
“Do not think of the past tonight; think of the future, of how happy things could be,” Tanya said.
“I’ll try. You know? You don’t act like you’re barely 16; you have the wisdom of a millennium,” Edward said with respect.
“Are you saying I’m ancient?” Tanya said with a twinkle in her eye. She was an expert at pulling him out of his somber moods; her teasing was usually the quickest way to make him think of happier things.
“No!” Edward said, backtracking. “You’re just so intelligent; and not just academically. You always know what to say to me to make me stop moping,” Edward finished with a grateful smile. Tanya smiled back.
Mrs. Duchovny and Tanya’s younger brother had been killed in the cross-fire of a shoot-out between police and an infamous crime-czar before her family had come to the States. It was another thing that had brought them together and bonded them as young children. Edward had found that few children his age could sympathize with the death of one or both parents, especially not in such traumatic circumstances. Tanya had singled Edward out her first day at Forks Elementary and had surprised him by opening the conversation with, “My mommy died too…”
“Let’s get home before my father or your mother calls,” Tanya said. Losing his wife had left Mr. Duchovny very protective of his three daughters. Esme was a notorious worrier; she was usually the one of Edward’s parents to call if he was late coming home.
Edward unlocked his car; it was really his father’s Mercedes, but Carlisle had promised that if he avoided any tickets for the first year he had his license, he would help Edward pay for the sporty silver Volvo that he had been wanting since he saw it in one of Rosalie’s Car and Driver magazines.
Tanya sat in her seat sideways leaning against the door, her left leg tucked under her, and her right resting on the floorboard.
“Buckle up, Tanya; you know I’m not going to start this car without it,” Edward said with a playful glare. Tanya made a show of buckling her belt, but she tucked the shoulder strap under her arm.
“It’s so uncomfortable; you are a safe driver, I trust you,” Tanya said.
“Thank you, but I want to make sure you’re safe; you are very important to me,” Edward said, suddenly much more serious.
“I will be; you’re important to me too,” Tanya murmured, grasping Edward’s hand that was resting on the console between the seats. Edward gave her one of his crooked grins before he started the car and pulled away from Granny’s Café, grasping the wheel with both hands. He drove slowly through the parking lot and to the highway onramp. He picked up speed as he got onto the 101, though he was still driving slower than usual. The rain that had been falling all day had still not stopped and was showing signs of turning to snow as the sun and the temperature dropped. Edward had limited experience driving in snow, since he had only gotten his license during the summer just after his birthday.
“You’re so tense, Edward; I’ll put on some music. Don’t worry so much, this is a safe car,” Tanya said dismissively as she pulled out Edward’s zippered case of CD’s and put on a collection of classical music. Debussy filtered into the car from the speakers. Tanya kept the conversation going, as Edward was too tense to join in more than an occasional, ‘yeah,’ or ‘mhmm.’
They were about five miles outside of Forks when Edward saw a pair of headlights coming around the curve ahead. The small SUV’s high beams were on, blinding Edward as they crossed his field of vision. Although he was a fairly inexperienced driver, he knew the oncoming car was coming too fast for the road conditions. Edward remembered that there was an overpass between the approaching SUV and his father’s Mercedes, spanning an old forest service road tucked into a shallow valley. This was always the first area of the highway between Forks and Port Angeles that iced over. Many times Carlisle had told Edward to be careful driving through here, as his father had seen too many seriously injured accident victims in his ER after driving carelessly through this area in icy weather.
Edward let off the accelerator, hoping to time his overpass crossing after the oncoming vehicle had gotten across. The other driver was coming too fast though; they came onto the 50-foot stretch of concrete at the same moment as the Mercedes. Instantly, Edward’s heart thundered as he watched the other car start to slide on the inevitable ice that covered the overpass. He let off the accelerator, not sure how to deal with an out-of-control car heading in his direction while he was caught on a shoulder-less road bordered on both sides by guardrails preventing a twenty foot drop.
“Edward,” Tanya said nervously, her accent becoming more pronounced in her anxiety.
“I know, I…” Edward started. Suddenly, the other driver had lost any semblance of control over his vehicle and was barreling towards Edward and Tanya much too fast. Everything seemed to move in slow motion and yet too fast at the same time. Edward was hoping to avoid the oncoming collision, but he panicked as the driver’s side of the SUV slammed into the Mercedes.
Both airbags deployed, though it was a slightly older model lacking side-curtain airbags. The windshield had splintered on impact, and was making an ominous groaning sound as the car was struck again by the SUV and thrown into a spin on the ice.
Edward was momentarily dazed after his airbag deployed. His head cleared as Tanya screamed his name repeatedly, followed by a steady stream of Russian. She had slipped out of her haphazardly fastened seat belt and was pinned under the dash on the floorboard. Edward tried to turn the wheel and brake at the same time; anything to stop the terrifying slide. The steering wheel was useless; the suspension had broken on impact with the larger vehicle. He had no way to direct the vehicle; they were at the mercy of the ice.
Slamming on the brakes in panic however, was a bad idea. Edward let off the brakes just as the passenger side slammed into the guardrail and slid several feet along the length of it. The metal-screeching-on-metal sound threatened to deafen them. Edward still gripped the useless steering wheel in a white-knuckled panic, unable to release it. Edward closed his eyes in terror as he heard Tanya speaking in Russian; just earlier this evening he would have begged to hear her speak in her native tongue. Now, he wished he had never heard her speaking it, not like this.
A sudden shift in direction caused his eyes to fly open; he looked out the cracked windshield and his heart froze. The Mercedes had slid to the end of the guard rail and was starting to pivot around the end. The car was caught in a tormented game of teeter-totter before it lost the fight with gravity and rolled down the embankment. The damaged windshield buckled under the pressure, sending glass flying in every direction as the car turned over and over. Edward could feel the stinging sensations in his face and arms and hands as every window in the Mercedes exploded, adding to the glass shower.
Edward gasped in pain as something struck him in the abdomen. A fire fifty-times worse than the stinging in his skin was lit in his gut. The burning feeling increased every time the car turned over again. Edward feared that the Mercedes would never stop. He was dizzy and nauseated and in excruciating pain.
Finally the car was jarred to a sudden halt, resting on its roof against an ancient moss covered pine. The pain in his gut intensified more than Edward thought was possible, until it was almost impossible to breathe. Black spots danced over his vision, and his ears would not stop ringing. Edward realized that he was hanging in his seat, suspended by his seatbelt, as his knuckles brushed the broken glass littering the roof interior that was now below him. He couldn’t hear Tanya anymore; he only momentarily acknowledged the fact that the Mercedes had stopped moving before he closed his eyes and slid into black oblivion.
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- 13 Jan 09
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