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Heart and Soul

Summary:
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!


Notes:
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 :)


11. Chapter 11

Rating 5/5   Word Count 3528   Review this Chapter

Bella watched Edward stiffen as he took in her ‘conditions.’ They held each other’s gaze for a moment that seemed to stretch into eternity. Her heart was pounding, though she didn’t think that it was from the run they had just done.

“Alright,” Edward agreed quietly. Bella’s arm tingled as Edward cupped her elbow in order to help her sit in the low vehicle. Bella smiled softly in thanks, and sat without another word in his car. She watched him walk back around the hood of his car; his face was a mask. She knew to look at his eyes though.

Edward was quiet as he got in and started the quiet engine; they drove in comfortable silence to the restaurant. As Edward parked across the street from the quaint Italian eatery, Bella noticed Angela and Jessica by the door talking.

Both of the girls turned at the sight of Edward’s car pulling in; their mouths dropped open in surprise when they realized that Edward Cullen had just pulled up with Bella in his car.

“Oh, boy…no one expects the Spanish Inquisition,” Bella muttered under her breath. Edward chuckled softly, but then frowned slightly at Jessica. Bella couldn’t find anything offensive about her, other than the fact that she was blatantly staring at Edward. She made a note to add ‘Why do you look at people like they’ve got a window on their foreheads?’ to her list of questions for Edward once they were alone again.

“Bella! We were so worried about you,” Angela said earnestly.

“Yeah, we waited like, twenty minutes before we ate, we were so worried!” Jessica agreed, though her eyes never left Edward. Bella noticed him shove his hands in his pockets again before he took extreme interest in the daily specials placard just next to them.

“Earth to Bella,” Angela said softly while Jessica giggled behind her hand. Bella blushed when she realized that she had been caught studying Edward rather intently.

So smitten,’ Jessica mouthed behind her hand. Angela smiled knowingly before she said, “So we were just leaving Bella-“

“I’ll make sure she gets home safe,” Edward interrupted in his velvet voice.

“Ok,” Jessica agreed. Bella thought she seemed slightly punch-drunk. Edward continued as though nothing was amiss. “Thank you, ladies, we’ll see you tomorrow.” Then he gestured Bella to move ahead of him. She looked up to his face to see him watching for her reaction. His eyes held a cautious optimism that caused Bella’s heart to soar and try to beat straight out of her chest. She smiled her acceptance, and he smiled his crooked grin before moving infinitesimally nearer to her side, as though pulled by a magnet. They were close enough as they walked side-by-side that she could feel the warmth radiating from his arm, and from his hand which briefly brushed against hers tantalizingly.

They paused at the hostess’ podium where a blonde college-aged girl sat looking bored. As soon as she caught sight of Edward, however, she straightened her posture, stuck her chest out, flipped her hair, and said in a breathy, low voice, “Would you like a table?”

Edward coughed, and requested a quiet table for two. When the hostess tried to sit them at a huge central table within viewing distance of her podium, Edward politely requested something smaller, to which the hostess huffed and led them further back into the restaurant after giving Bella a dirty look. Edward sighed, and said, “Sorry Bella, I just didn’t care for that location.”

Her window must not have any glass,’ Bella thought as they took their seats and she looked at the hostess take in Edward hungrily. Edward was squirming in his skin, and Bella cleared her throat. The hostess handed over their menus and hurried off to the kitchen. When Bella turned back to face Edward, he was looking at her once again with a look of intense concentration.

“Is my window frosted or something?” Bella asked.

“Pardon?” Edward asked confused. Bella blushed, but continued. “That hostess was practically undressing you in her head, and you were acting like you knew exactly what she was thinking; outside, with Jessica, she seemed no different than any other day, and you frowned and walked away like she had asked you to kiss her or something. Like everybody around you has a window on their forehead. Yet you look at me like you can’t see anything in my window.”

“Is this an additional condition to dinner?” Edward asked. Bella raised her eyebrow in silent confirmation to Edward’s question.

“You are remarkably perceptive, Bella,” Edward began. He paused when the waitress came to the table with two glasses of water. She had obviously been warned by the hostess. Her hair was freshly brushed, and her lips were drenched in fresh blood-red lipstick.

“What’ll it be?” she asked. She only addressed Edward.

“Bella? Ladies first?” Edward asked uncomfortably.

“Sure, uh…I’ll have the mushroom ravioli,” Bella said before handing the waitress her menu while Edward buried his face in his.

“I’ll have the chicken vesuvio,” Edward said as he finally handed the ogling waitress the menu, though he didn’t look at her.

“Let me know if you’d like anything else…we have a wide selection of wines…” the waitress trailed off, though she still looked at Edward hopefully. Edward merely looked dumbfounded.

“We’re seventeen!” Bella said in exasperation.

“How about bottled water then? It’s better than the tap, and it’s imported. I got sick from the Swiss water once, I recommend French, no bubbles, cold, no ice, no glass, just the bottle and a straw.”

Edward gave Bella a desperate look. ‘This waitress couldn’t come off any stronger if she sat in his lap and fed him his dinner! If the hostess had no glass in her window, this girl has a double door propped open,’ Bella thought. Then she took pity on Edward and cleared her throat.

Once the waitress took her leave, Bella looked pointedly at Edward. “Continue…”

Edward let out a deep breath and began, “I take it you’ve heard that I was in a car accident a while back?”

Bella blushed, remembering her interrogation of Charlie. “Yes, I’ve seen the marker too,” she confirmed.

Edward took another deep breath and started rearranging the sugar packets in the dish on the table. He was silent for a few minutes while he fiddled with the different items in front of him. His eyes seemed to darken with his mood; Bella could see the turmoil in the crease of his brow, in the set of his shoulders.

They were momentarily distracted by the arrival of their dinner. Bella started to pick at hers, still a little hungry, but she was almost too enthralled by Edward’s behavior to eat. After another minute of silence, Edward began.

“I was hurt pretty badly…I don’t remember much…I know they had to use a defibrillator on me, and I remember a floating feeling…” Edward’s eyes were unfocused. Bella realized that she was holding her breath. She had heard that Edward had been hurt in the accident, but she had no idea that he had nearly died.

“I was always fairly good at reading people before the accident. I could just guess what people were thinking like it was written on their face…Carlisle thinks that when I was resuscitated, something just woke up in my brain,” Edward laughed nervously.

“What about with me? You always seem so frustrated,” Bella asked in a near whisper.

“You are the only person that I’ve come across who remains completely silent to me. Though you keep surprising me with your perceptiveness; no one outside my family has ever guessed my secret,” Edward fell silent once more.

“But, why just me; am I broken or something? Do I have a screw loose in my head? Are my wires crossed?” Bella said it all in a rush. She was aware that she had always been different from everyone else around her, but she had never realized that it was because there was something wrong with her.

Edward’s sudden laughter broke her from her frantic assumptions. “What?” she asked him indignantly. Here she was concerned for her physical well-being, and he was laughing.

“Bella, only you would presume to have a defect when someone tells you that none of the voices in their head sound like you,” Edward said. Bella looked directly into his eyes and they both laughed at the ridiculousness of the situation.

“How did you find me tonight?” Bella asked. Edward turned serious once again.

“My gift has a fairly wide range, and I was a couple blocks away at a music store when I picked up on those low-life scumbags. I really panicked though, when I focused on them, and I saw you in their heads,” Edward admitted.

“Wait, saw me? You get pictures too? Not just words? High school must be hell on earth for you,” Bella said in amazement.

“You have no idea,” Edward muttered.

“You don’t peep into the locker rooms do you?” Bella said, clutching at her shirt front, hoping that he had never seen her scar.

“What?! NO! I am not Mike Newton!” Edward said, horrified.

“Mike Newton peeps in the locker rooms?!” Bella asked ashen faced. ‘Is that why he is such a hoverer? Did he see my scar somehow?’ Bella thought disgustedly.

“No, not really…let’s just say Mike has a vivid imagination, and leave it at that,” Edward said with a shudder. Bella shivered herself before she locked gazes with Edward again, which caused them to start laughing anew. Bella and Edward felt more lighthearted after that, and began to eat their food more earnestly. Bella was nearly finished with her plate, her mind occupied with what Edward had told her, when she noticed he was concentrating on her.

“Tell me what you’re thinking,” he whispered without breaking his gaze. Bella blushed, almost afraid to admit what she had been thinking.

“Please?” he insisted.

“I was wondering if I should look over my shoulder and keep an eye out for Mulder and Scully…” Bella’s blush deepened to include her neck and ears. Edward looked confused. Bella sighed in embarrassment as she realized that she would have to explain.

“Um, my mom, she’s a bit of a free spirit, and she went through a phase a few years ago, before she remarried, where she was rather obsessed with the paranormal… and David Duchovny…” Bella laughed, though she saw Edward freeze when she said the name ‘Duchovny.’

“I’m sorry, that was really rude of me, to mock you like that,” Bella said awkwardly.

“No, you didn’t offend me…trust me, Emmett has said worse. My friend, Tanya, I’m sure by now you’ve heard she died in the accident…her name was Duchovny,” Edward said softly, gathering his napkin from his lap, and leaving it crumpled on top of his plate. Bella understood his unspoken declaration, and waved the waitress over.

“Check, please,” Bella said after the waitress attempted to walk seductively to their table, trying in vain to catch Edward’s eye. He ignored her blatant passes. Edward insisted that he would cover dinner and the tip. Bella started to protest, but he assured her that he was still working on her conditions, therefore he was paying.

“I wasn’t being serious, I can pay for mine,” Bella grumbled under her breath. She huffed when Edward shook his head at her with a crooked smirk, then turned and addressed the waitress; fully meeting her eyes for the first time.

“Please charge the whole bill to this card,” he said politely. Bella rolled her eyes when the waitress took his card and practically stumbled in her haste to get to the cash register.

“She’s probably hyperventilating right now,” Bella chided Edward. At his confused expression, she said, “Surely, you can’t be as dense as Mike; he at least he has the excuse that he can’t read girl’s minds. What’s your excuse?”

Edward smiled at Bella. “I’ve heard the things she was thinking in too many shallow heads; as embarrassing as it may be, I guess it’s just become meaningless to me,” he responded.

Bella blushed, and Edward was distracted by the waitress returning his card. He stood and smiled as he and Bella left the restaurant. The evening had cooled considerably while they had dinner; Bella shivered in the breeze outside and Edward immediately unzipped his hoodie and draped it around her shoulders before she could protest.

“I’ve got long sleeves,” he explained.

“Thanks, my jacket is in Jessica’s car,” Bella explained as she pushed her arms through the sleeves. Bella zipped the sweatshirt up as high as it would go and nuzzled into it under the pretense of warming her face. In reality, though, she wanted to smell the delicious scent that permeated the fabric.

“I know you’ve had guys chasing you from the moment you came to Forks, and this may sound rather juvenile, but…can I hold your hand?” Edward asked with earnest expression.

Bella smiled and grasped his hand in hers, thrilled by the electric tingle coursing between them, and allowed him to guide her out onto the sidewalk.

She could sense that Edward wasn’t ready to drive; she pulled on his hand gently, leading him through the sparse tourists that were window shopping along the street. Bella spotted a bench set between two stores and pulled Edward onto it.

“Have you ever talked to anyone else about the accident? You really shouldn’t keep things like that inside,” Bella said, feeling like the pot that called the kettle black, considering the secret she was keeping.

“Just my family, really; I sort of isolated myself for a long while afterwards. I had a hard time not giving away my new-found ability in the beginning, and I really couldn’t handle a lot of people for a while. I thought that I would go crazy before I figured out how to focus. Carlisle was great with helping me.” Edward stared at his hands in his lap.

“What about Tanya’s family?” Bella asked.

“Tanya’s mother died a long time ago. After the accident, Tanya was taken to the bigger hospital in Seattle; and her father and sisters followed her there. When Tanya died, they never came back.”

“And the other people involved? What about them?” Bella asked sadly.

“Victoria Laurent, she was the passenger in the other car… she sometimes makes a scene when we cross paths in town…she’s never really recovered from losing her husband that night; she was always a little crazy though.”

“Makes a scene?” Bella asked.

“She usually glares at me, or my family. If she’s drunk, she’ll yell. She tried to blame me for the accident, but it was her husband that caused it, and the police said she had no case. She tried to sue me and my parents for wrongful death, but the case was thrown out before it even started.”

“Was Tanya your girlfriend?” Bella blushed at her forwardness, though she had a burning desire to know who Tanya was.

“No, though she wanted to be… that’s why we were in Port Angeles that night…I told her I’d think about it…she was my best friend…we had to get home…I was driving…it was icy…” Edward paused and took in a shaky breath. “I told her to put on her seatbelt…” he broke off again.

“Edward…” Bella could see the strain on his face; the pain in his eyes before he covered his face with his hands and leaned over to rest his elbows on his knees without moving his hands from his face. She wanted to hold him and press her hands to his face like she had done beneath her truck. Bella settled for rubbing circles on his back.

“I can’t believe I’m telling you this…” Edward trailed off, his eyes unfocused as he straightened suddenly. He turned to look at Bella, and she froze as his eyes focused on hers.

“I don’t know about you, but I feel incredibly close to you; your touch is like nothing I’ve ever felt. I feel drawn to you like I’ve never been drawn to another person,” Bella said, awestruck at the look of recognition in Edward’s eyes. The two of them sat in silence, just holding hands and looking into one another’s eyes. Then, Edward’s cell phone rang, breaking them from their reverie.

“Hello? Mom…sorry, I didn’t realize it was so late…no, I left the music store a while ago…I ate dinner here. Uh…no…with Bella Swan…ok, I promise…love you too, bye.” Edward was sheepish when he turned back to Bella.

“That was Esme…” he said.

“Time to go home?” Bella asked.

“Time to go home,” Edward confirmed. The two of them stood and made their way to Edward’s car. Edward held Bella’s hand all the way there, only letting go when he had to shut her door.

HSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHS

Edward couldn’t believe the way the evening had gone. He hadn’t been sleeping well for the past week, his head had been sore for a few days after the incident in the parking lot, and he’d been in a melancholy funk.

Rescuing Bella from the thugs and their subsequent conversation over dinner and on the bench had really lifted his spirits; she was his other half that he didn’t realize was missing. Now, as he drove towards home, with her hand clasped in his, he felt more alive than he ever had.

Great, now I sound like a giant cliché,’ he thought. Their comfortable silence lasted for a couple of miles; then, Bella said, “You know, you didn’t answer all my questions…”

Edward stiffened. “What else do you want to know?” he asked.

“How did you get those guys wallets? And for that matter, what on Earth possessed you to take on four guys?!” Bella asked, suddenly sounding like the tough girl that she had tried to portray in the alley.

Edward scoffed at her mock display of indignation. “What all have you heard about me? Around town or at school, I mean…” he started.

“Uh…not much…mostly stuff about the accident, you know…and Tanya,” Bella said.

“That’s all?” Edward asked surprised.

“Um, Charlie might have mentioned a spot of rebelliousness?” Bella said it like a question, though it wasn’t a question at all.

“Spot of rebelliousness?” Edward laughed. “What is this 1918?”

Bella bit her lip and waited in silence. Edward sobered almost immediately.

“I was thirteen…I was upset, and had a typical bout of teenage angst. Tanya was my best and only friend for a long time, and she had to move away for a time…I ran away.” Edward admitted. Bella gasped.

“I lived on the streets in Seattle by myself for a couple weeks. I was being harassed by a couple of older boys. I was tall, even then, and they wanted me to join with them. They knew that I had a wad of cash, and they were looking to score something…”

Edward looked over to Bella to gauge her reaction, but she sat, and waited for him to continue.

“I didn’t want to get into drugs…Carlisle being a doctor had really scared me against them, and so I was trying to get away from the guys. They had me cornered in a dead end; they threatened to just take my money. All of a sudden, this huge guy and this tiny girl came bursting out of a cardboard lean-to. They came and stood next to me, and the guys harassing me ran off. That’s when I met my brother and my sister…” Edward trailed of, a small smile on his face.

“Was it Emmett and Alice?” Bella asked.

“Yes, they taught me how to lift wallets…it’s not something I’m proud of, but it’s how we lived. Emmett taught me how to take care of myself on the streets, and together, we protected Alice. You think she’s small now, you should have seen her then,” Edward grinned sardonically. “We got caught about six months after I ran away, right before I turned fourteen. Esme and Carlisle amazingly forgave me for all the worry I had caused them, and they agreed not to separate us. They adopted both of them,” Edward said with clear admiration.

“That’s how you knew how to fight those guys?”

“Yeah. They were drunk, which makes it easier. Meth heads are harder,” Edward said matter-of-factly.

“I’m sorry you had to do that…” Bella said sadly.

“Don’t,” Edward said decisively. “I don’t want or need pity…I did it to myself…it was my choice to run away, and I gained the best brother and sister I could have asked for.”

Bella was silent for a time. “Why did you run away?”

Edward didn’t respond right away, and his grip on the steering wheel tightened. “That’s a conversation for another time,” he said softly.

His eyes automatically searched out and found the white marker on the side of the road; the atmosphere in the car thickened as they drove past it. Edward heard Bella gasp and clutch at her shirt directly over her chest. He looked at her questioningly, only to see a radiant look on her face. She looked amazingly peaceful, yet supremely happy at the same time.

“I’ll hold you to that,” she said with a grin. Edward smiled softly in response, and turned on the CD in the stereo. Clair De Lune began to filter sweetly through the car, and Edward was astonished when Bella earnestly said, “I love this.”

Edward knew that she was speaking about the music, but he could almost feel the ‘I love you’ behind her meaning. His heart soared at that thought, and the smile on his face remained in place until he pulled up to Bella’s house. Both he and Bella froze when they noticed Charlie sitting on the front porch with his arms crossed.