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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 :)


15. Chapter 15

Rating 5/5   Word Count 4060   Review this Chapter

Edward drove around Forks and the surrounding area aimlessly for hours, unsure of how to handle the information thrust into his face this afternoon. His phone had vibrated several times; every time he saw the‘Home’ flash across the screen, he felt guilty for worrying Esme. Finally, he texted Alice with a simple, ‘I’m fine.’

Without realizing it, Edward found himself on the highway, driving towards Port Angeles. The white marker standing to the side of the road seemed to call to him. Edward pulled his car onto the shoulder and got out to go to the marker. It was close to dawn, but he left his headlights on in order to see where he was going. The flowers that he had left the last time were long gone, washed away by the wind and rain. He knelt down and ran his fingers over the letters spelling Tanya’s name vertically down the marker. Dust and mud had splattered it, partially obscuring the bottom two letters.

With the mud cleared, Edward sat on the ground and thought about his friend. He remembered what he had told Bella only that morning. ‘Tanya had been my best friend, the person that I told everything…

The sky was starting to lighten, and Edward got up to turn off his headlights. As he straightened up out of the passenger side door after turning off his lights, the first rays of sunlight began to shine. He looked back at the marker; it was glowing in the bright light of dawn. Edward remembered the time he and Bella drove past the spot where the marker memorialized Tanya. He recalled the way Bella’s face glowed and the way she had clutched at her chest…right over her heart.

Edward shook his head in amazement. Acting on a whim, Edward decided to walk down the hill to the tree that he had hit in the accident. After slipping on the steep wet slope a few times, Edward finally made it to the bottom. He studied the trees in front of him, trying to find the right one, but he found that he couldn’t anymore. The first few times he had visited the marker to leave flowers, he could look down from the road and easily pick out the scarred and moss-less trunk from all the other green-coated trees surrounding it. At the time, he felt it was fitting that he was like the tree; scarred and separate from everyone else. Now, the scarred tree was healed, and surrounded by others.

Edward shook his head and looked up, smiling, towards the heavens. “Is this your last piece of wisdom?” he shouted. He almost expected to feel her slug him in the arm, just like she always had. Then he thought about the reason he was so much better than he had been, and he recalled the words he had spoken to Bella.

Truly, you have become my life; my reason for living instead of just existing, Bella.”

Edward turned and ran as fast as he could towards his car, slipping and sliding on the wet ground as he clambered up the hill. He finally got in his car and sped towards Forks, knowing what he had to do. His mind was racing as he pulled up to Bella’s home, conscious of the fact that it was barely an hour past dawn. He grabbed the crumpled letters sitting on the passenger seat as he pulled to a stop and jumped out of his car.

“Bella? Bella! It’s me, Edward! Chief Swan?!” Edward cried while he pounded on the door of the simple two story home with his fist. His other hand clutched the Xeroxed copy of the sweet, genuine, loving and beautiful letter of thanks that could have been written by none other than his angel, Bella.

Her rusted hulk of a truck sat imposing and unmoving in the driveway, taunting Edward with its closeness, while its driver was so far from him. Charlie’s cruiser was missing; that wasn’t altogether unusual, he was the chief of police, but Edward was hoping to find someone at the Swan residence after Bella had so suddenly left Sunset Lanes after Charlie had read the letter aloud.

“Please, I need to see you; I need to talk to you,” Edward whispered the last, and pressed his forehead to the door in front of him. He squeezed his eyes shut in concentration; he couldn’t hear Bella’s father’s thoughts in the house, though he admittedly didn’t always catch everything that the Chief thought. His mind was nearly as quiet as his daughter’s. He closed his eyes and started to expand his mental focus, hoping to find Charlie in the vicinity. He was so focused that he didn’t hear the sound of an engine coming to a stop on the driveway behind him.

“She’s not here,” came the gruff voice of the man that Edward was so desperately trying to listen for. Edward spun around on the porch to see Bella’s father standing next to his police cruiser with his hands deep in his pockets. He was looking at the ground, his shoulders hunched as though he was very sad.

I sure am gonna miss her…’ broke through the intermittent silence from Chief Swan’s mind, causing Edward to flinch.

“Where is she?” Edward asked as he stepped off the porch and came to a stop in front of Charlie. “I need to talk to her,” he continued.

“Well…she thought a little space would be best, considering…” Charlie trailed off, finally looking up to meet Edward’s worried eyes.

“Space? What does that mean? Where did she go? I need to see her!” Edward was not hysterical, but he was close.

“I told her she was being silly…” Charlie took off his hat and turned it over and over in his hands. “She didn’t want to ‘hurt you anymore’” Charlie said using air quotes around his hat. “She just boarded a flight in SeaTac Airport about oh…” Charlie glanced at his watch, “Thirty minutes ago. She wouldn’t let me wait with her.”

Edward’s mind was reeling; Bella had left the state. ‘She left me…for…me. Silly, absurd, selfless Bella,’ he thought.

“Chief Swan…I know that we haven’t always seen eye to eye; I know that you don’t like me very much, and that you’re afraid that I’ll run away at the first sign of trouble. I know that you don’t think that I’m good enough for your daughter,” Edward let out a mirthless laugh, and then continued, “I know I’m not good enough for her… but she makes me feel alive again. You know that my accident left me a changed person, and that I was not in a very good place for a long time; but Bella made me live again. I may have loved Tanya, but the fact is, she is gone, and my heart aches for Bella, not Tanya. Please, tell me; where did she go?” Edward looked at Charlie with pleading eyes, desperate for him to ease his heartache. Charlie looked at Edward for a few seconds in torturous silence, his eyes never leaving Edward’s.

“Phoenix…She went home to Phoenix,” he said quietly. “Her mother is going to take a flight from Jacksonville and meet her there tomorrow.”

“Phoenix?” Edward said, his mind already running full speed. “Is it a non-stop flight?” he asked Charlie.

Charlie looked confused for a moment, then his eyes widened in understanding. “Uh, no…she has a layover in Denver.” Charlie smiled for the first time since he had dropped Bella off in Seattle.

“I think if you fly non-stop to Phoenix, you should be able to just beat her there…” Charlie said. Edward smiled at Charlie and nearly laughed in relief at his understanding.

“Thank you Chief Swan. I’m going after her, and I’m going to do my best to bring her home,” Edward promised.

“You’re welcome, Edward. I guess you’re not half bad,” Charlie said sheepishly. Edward however, could hear what he was thinking, ‘Bring my baby girl home and you deserve her.’

“I won’t let you down,” Edward said, grabbing Chief Swan in an unexpected ‘man hug’ complete with a couple of slaps on the back. Edward stepped away, shrugging unrepentantly at Charlie’s flabbergasted face, and ran without a second look to his Volvo. He pulled out his cell phone and dialed his house while he drove. After two rings, Carlisle picked up with, “Edward?”

“It’s me. Dad, I need a plane ticket to Phoenix, the first flight available. I’m driving to Seattle right now,” Edward said without preamble.

“What?! What do you mean you need a ticket to Phoenix? What about asking for permission? What are you planning on telling your mother? You need to come home; your mother deserves an apology. She’s been in tears all night worrying about where you were. She was afraid that you had run away again, and you want me to tell her you’re headed to Seat…” Carlisle was interrupted by a popping sound on the line; someone had picked up an extension.

“Who else is on now?” Edward asked, not wanting to say something offensive to his mother, or make her think that he was running away again.

“It’s me,” trilled the bell like tones of Alice’s voice. “Don’t worry Edward, come home first, I’ve got a flight booked for you and Carlisle and it takes off in three and a half hours. Dad, you had better get moving, if you’re going to go with Edward,” Alice said with a matter-of-fact tone.

“Alice, I can’t just leave, I’ve not given the hospital any warning, I…” Carlisle argued before Alice interrupted him.

“Dad, relax, I had a feeling Bella was going to Phoenix, so I’ve already worked everything out; you’re taking a ‘much needed time out with your son’ and Mom is packing both your bags as we speak,” Alice had pulled out her trump card; Carlisle wouldn’t question the plan if Esme was involved.

“Well…I guess that’s settled then. Edward, I’ll meet you here at the house,” Carlisle said before he hung up his extension.

“Don’t worry Edward; you’ll find her, and you’ll sweep her off her feet and bring her home,” Alice said before she too hung up, breaking the connection. Edward closed his phone and smiled.

Home…I’m bringing her home,’ he thought.

HSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHS

Bella sat on the plane, nervously fidgeting with her seat belt while she waited during her layover. She didn’t mind flying, but she wished that the man sitting next to her would have gotten off here in Denver. He looked as though he was suffering from a mid-life crisis, and it wasn’t going so well. He had been droning on and on since Seattle about the ‘turn around’ his life had taken, and how well he thought he was going to like Phoenix.

“…transplant! The doc said I could run, and hike, and swim…anything with it! ” he said enthusiastically.

Bella had zoned back onto his voice when she heard the word ‘transplant.’ She felt slightly guilty for not having been listening to this poor man who was moving for a fresh start, much as she had with her own transplant experience. Bella idly wondered what he had suffered from that required a transplant, and unconsciously put a hand to her chest to make sure her own transplant scar was not evident.

“Here, give a tug!” Bella’s seat partner said, leaning his head in towards her. Bella cringed back instinctively as she realized that he hadn’t suffered anything other than male pattern baldness, and he was offering his head so that she could ‘give a tug’ to his newly acquired hair.

“Oh, I don’t want to hurt you,” Bella tried to be nice as she refused to touch his hair.

“You won’t hurt me! Come on, give a tug!” The man said as he offered his head again, his eyes trained on his own lap as he leaned into Bella’s personal space.

He’s worse than Mike Newton!” Bella thought, and her heart ached at the reminder of her home in Forks, even a reminder as annoying as Mike Newton.

“Come on!” said the insistent man. Bella was getting frustrated now; he wasn’t taking no for an answer. Charlie had always told her to make sure a man knows what she means when she says no; a mischievous grin worthy of Alice stole across her lips before she grimaced at both the second reminder of Edward in as many minutes, and at the man’s greasy head. Bella grabbed a tuft on his head and yanked, quickly and hard.

“OOUUCCHH!” the annoying man said, cringing back with a hand to his head as he winced and gingerly touched the top of his head.

“I guess it was a little tender still…” he trailed of as Bella apologized. “I think I need to use the restroom; excuse me,” he said as he left his seat and ran to the tiny restroom on the plane with his hand to his head. Bella smirked and turned to the window next to her.

“Is this seat taken?” an older gentleman said with a thick Italian accent. Bella turned around, startled. “Oh, no, I guess not anymore,” she admitted as she glanced forward and saw the hair-man settling in next to his next unfortunate seat partner several rows ahead of her.

“Grazie, giovane signora,” the elderly man said as he eased himself down into his seat. “I am Antonio Mastroianni, but you may call me Anthony,” he said warmly, his hazel eyes twinkling as he looked at Bella, inviting her to introduce herself with his warm expression.

“Hello, Anthony,” Bella began, though she tried to keep her eyes from tearing up. ‘Anthony is Edward’s middle name…’ thought Bella. She shook her head to clear her thoughts and gave Anthony a small smile. “I am Isabella Swan, but you may call me Bella,” she said as she mimicked Anthony’s formal speech.

“Ha, ha! She is as funny as she is beautiful,” Anthony said. “One as beautiful as you deserves the name ‘Bella.’

“Such flattery! Have you always been such a charmer?” Bella said, her crimson face betraying her embarrassment.

“Not always; as I’m sure you were not always so sad. Tell me what troubles your heart,” he asked sincerely.

Bella let out a big breath and said, “It’s a long story…”

“Well, how fortunate that we are sitting down…it will make your heart lighter,” he said softly.

Bella let out a deep sigh, and started, “It began when I was 13, and I was put on the list for a heart transplant…” and so Bella told Anthony her story.

HSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHS

“Dad…Dad…Carlisle!” Edward took his father’s shoulder and shook him awake.

“Are we there? Did we land?” Carlisle asked groggily, straightening in his seat and blinking the sleep from his eyes.

“We’re in Phoenix; we just landed at Sky Harbor. We’ve got to run across the airport. We’re taxiing over to terminal two at the moment, but Bella came in on a different airline. Her flight lands in terminal four, which is on the complete opposite side of the airport,” Edward rushed to get everything out in one breath. Once he finished, he took a deep breath and looked at Carlisle’s surprised expression.

“How do you know all that?” Carlisle asked, bewildered.

“When we were delayed by the hail storm in Seattle, Alice spoke to Charlie and got all Bella’s flight information and looked up a map of the airport online and then she texted all the details to me. I got a dozen different messages from her once I turned on my phone; Bella’s flight information, Bella’s mother’s address in Scottsdale in case we miss her, and even the name of a ballet studio near Bella’s home for a familiar landmark, should we need to take a cab. I’ll bet Alice’s thumbs are likely to fall off,” Edward said ruefully.

“Don’t tell Emmett, he’s likely to take that bet,” Carlisle chuckled. They felt the plane roll to a stop and the whine of the engines gradually died out allowing their ears to pop and recover from the constant noise. Edward however, could not believe the mental noise here. He had not traveled to a city larger than Port Angeles since before the accident. Seattle had been difficult, but Phoenix was nearly traumatic for the number of minds within his range of mental reception. Edward pinched his nose in concentration, prompting Carlisle to ask, “Are you handling this ok?” Edward merely grunted in the affirmative.

Welcome to Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, Arizona. Don’t forget your carry on items, and please exit in an orderly manner. For those passengers who boarded in Washington, don’t forget the sunscreen,” the pilot said with a chuckle over the intercom.

“Let’s go,” Edward said as he stood up and grabbed his bag from overhead. He handed Carlisle’s bag to him and strode quickly towards the exit as his father followed close behind.

HSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHS

“Mamma mia,” Anthony uttered in disbelief.

“Si” Bella agreed quietly.

“Mamma mia,” Anthony repeated.

“Si” Bella agreed again, as tears streamed unheeded from her eyes, and her chest ached.

HSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHS

“Do you see her?” Edward asked desperately.

“No, Edward, you have to remember, this is spring break for most colleges; this is also a huge airport. Her flight landed 20 minutes ago. She probably didn’t check luggage, she left in a rush just like us. Most likely, she went straight to the curb and hailed a cab,” Carlisle surmised logically.

“Bella!” Edward yelled, hoping that Bella was somehow here, out of sight.

“Bella? Do you by chance mean Isabella? Il vostro amore? Are you her Edward?” asked a kind looking elderly man with a thick Italian accent. Edward grasped the man’s shoulders eagerly, “You know her? Have you seen her? Where is she?” Edward was relieved to see a mental image of Bella surface to the front of the elderly man’s thoughts, but he quickly became agitated and even more anxious to find her when the man remembered Bella’s tears.

“Pace! calmi giù! Peace! Calm down, young man! She said she was going home, to her mama. You are a good man to come after her. Treat her well, and don’t let her go,” he said as he smiled and patted Edward’s cheek and walked away.

“We’ve got to get a cab,” Edward said as he ran out the doors, and grabbed a hideous lime green cab just as the previous passenger climbed out and rushed into the airport. Carlisle slid in right behind Edward and shut the door.

“Where to?” asked the driver as he leaned over the seat to look at his new fares.

“I’ve got the address right here in my phone…”Edward said as he opened his phone, only to realize that the battery was gone; completely dead. Edward growled in frustration, “It’s in Scottsdale, near a dance studio,” Edward said and rattled off the name of the studio as soon as he remembered it.

“You’re in luck! I know that place; I took a fare there just last week!” said the driver. He continued to talk, glancing every so often at Edward and Carlisle in the rearview mirror.

“Call Alice on your phone, we’ll get the address from her again,” said Edward. He fidgeted the whole ride, unable to focus on anything except getting to Bella.

“Here’s your dance studio, any luck on the address?” asked the cab driver.

“Dad? Did you get a hold of Alice?” Edward said, focusing once more on Carlisle’s chagrined face.

“Sorry, just voicemail; No answer at Chief Swan’s either,” said Carlisle.

“We’ll get out here. We can wait here for someone to answer, this is supposed to be walking distance to Bella’s house,” Edward said with confidence.

“Ok, Edward,” Carlisle agreed as he handed some cash over to the driver as he slid out the door after Edward.

HSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHS

Bella hadn’t been at Renee’s house for very long before she couldn’t handle the quiet any longer. Renee wasn’t due to come until tomorrow, and Bella could attest that curling into a ball and crying would not pass the time any faster. She decided to go for a walk to get out of the silent house. She locked the door behind her and started down the street, with no real destination in mind. After five minutes, she remembered why she didn’t walk around in Phoenix as much as she had in Forks. It was April, and it was 85 degrees. She wouldn’t have balked at that temperature last April, but considering she had just come from cold, rainy Forks, she wasn’t prepared for the heat in Phoenix anymore.

I need a drink of water,’ she thought, just as she caught the familiar shape of her old ballet studio looming in front of her. Bella remembered the water cooler that was in the front lobby of the dance studio, and decided to step in for a paper cone of water before she turned back to Renee’s house.

As soon as Bella got in the front doors, her heart began to pound. ‘Why am I so nervous? It’s not like I’m breaking the law here,’ she thought. A class was just getting out; a dozen teenage girls carrying huge duffel bags swarmed around her before she could surrender her position next to the water.

Why do dancers need to carry bags of such ridiculous dimensions? Do they have enormous tutus and elephants to wear them? Alice could put half her closet in one of these bags!’ Bella thought as she was jostled by at least three girls not paying attention to where their hulking bags were going as they turned. She raised her arms up next to her face to push her way through the crowd when she heard him.

“Can I use your phone?” he asked in his polite, velvet voice.

“Edward?” Bella whispered as she turned towards the sound of his voice.

“Bella?” he asked in relieved wonderment.

Edward Cullen stood not ten feet away, leaning against the counter, oblivious to the receptionist who numbly held the phone out to him with a dazzled expression on her face. Carlisle stood next to him, a huge smile on his face as he pushed the phone back to the receptionist and murmured, “We won’t need that anymore, thanks.”

Edward rushed as quickly as he could across the offending space between them and swept Bella up into his arms, crushing her to his chest in obvious relief. The studio and all the gawking dancers melted away as Edward leaned down and claimed Bella’s lips in a kiss. They both poured themselves into the kiss; it was a hundred goodbyes, and a thousand hellos. Edward pulled back to look into her stunned face, his eyebrows pulling together in a now familiar expression of frustration.

“Please, Bella, tell me what you are thinking,” Edward said in a near whisper.

“You came all the way to Phoenix for me,” Bella whispered back, tears of joyful relief pooling in her eyes. “More than four million people live in the Phoenix Metro area; you must be going crazy. Or you’re going to need a big shot of morphine for the migraine you’re going to have,” Bella teased.

“When the plane landed I honestly thought I would go crazy from the chaos. But what made it even worse was the thought that I wouldn’t make it to you. I would listen to a million people every day if it meant I could be with you, Bella. I told Charlie that while I may have loved Tanya, my heart aches for you. Now that you’re here in front of me, my heart, my soul, sings for you Bella. You are my life now. Please come home with me. I cannot live without you,” Edward said earnestly.

“Yes. Please, take me home. I didn’t want to cause you any more pain. I thought you wouldn’t want to be reminded of her every time you saw me. I thought that I could handle it; but it hurt, more than I thought that it ever would. Tanya’s heart may have given me life, but I didn’t truly live until I fell in love with you. I love you, Edward,” Bella said as tears streamed down her face. Edward smiled and brushed her tears away with his thumbs as he cradled her face between his hands.

“I love you, too, Bella,” Edward whispered again before he claimed her lips once more, the both of them still unaware of the audience they had in tears around them. Carlisle cleared his throat, getting their attention once the receptionist started passing a box of tissues around. Carlisle gave Edward a meaningful look and thought,‘We really ought to go to Bella’s house and organize our flight home.’

Edward blinked slowly to show his father he had heard and gently pulled Bella towards the door. “Let’s go home,” he said. Bella smiled, and lead the way to Renee’s house, so that they could indeed go home.