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 :)
6. Chapter 6
Rating 4.5/5 Word Count 2928 Review this Chapter
Edward sat in his seat in Mr. Banner’s biology class with his eyes closed. He had unconsciously folded his arms across his chest, though he lifted his right hand and massaged the bridge of his nose between his thumb and index finger. It was a posture that he had developed while learning to deal with his gift; one that Emmett had dubbed ‘The Thinker.’ The fight that had ensued when Emmett asked if Edward needed to take off his clothes in order to think better had resulted in a month-long grounding for the both of them, without any allowance, in order to cover the costs of the family’s third coffee table that year.
‘Wonder what’s eating him now…he had better not start slacking off,’ Mr. Banner was thinking absentmindedly. It both relived and annoyed Edward to hear what his teacher was thinking. He was relieved because it was more proof that Edward wasn’t losing his mind reading gift. Though he had originally thought it to be a curse, Edward had learned to adapt to and depend on his new skill. He was annoyed however, because Mr. Banner seemed to think that it was only a matter of time before Edward became a problem child.
Edward dropped his hand and raised his head while narrowing his eyes at the back of his teacher’s head. He watched in frustrated silence as the odious man wrote the lecture notes for the following day’s lab on the whiteboard. It wouldn’t do to reassure his teacher that he wouldn’t become a problem. Carlisle’s sworn silence would be useless if Edward himself revealed his secret in a moment of careless frustration. So, in order to prove Mr. Banner wrong without becoming a lab rat, Edward pulled out his books and prepared for class while more students were starting to wander in from lunch. Almost everyone was seated waiting for the bell to ring when she walked in. Edward tried to read something, anything, from this mysteriously silent girl. His brow became creased, and he pressed his lips into a thin line as he closed his eyes and strained to hear her. He opened his eyes and huffed in frustration at her back. Edward was still no more successful at hearing her thoughts at this close proximity than he was across the cafeteria.
Bella hadn’t noticed any of the students eying her speculatively, as she had her back to the room while she waited for the absentminded teacher to notice her. He noticed her patiently waiting; took one look at the form she slid across the desk, and pushed the slip back at her with barely a scribble. He directed her with a wave to the only empty seat, right next to Edward.
“There’s just the one seat, next to Mr. Cullen. Please do your own notes,” the teacher said, shuffling papers around and preparing to start class.
“Thanks…” Bella said, confused at why Mr. Banner, according to his name plaque perched on his desk, would tell her to take her own notes. ‘Isn’t that standard procedure in school?’ she thought. Then, she turned on her heel and nearly tripped over her own feet as she moved towards the empty seat. Stumbling once more over a bag laying halfway in the aisle, Bella finally reached her chair and sat down gratefully before she could trip over anything else. Bella bent over her bag, pulled out a fresh notebook and pencil, and turned to face her new lab partner in order to introduce herself.
Bella was not prepared however, to turn around and come face to face with Edward, who looked as frustrated as one could while sitting in biology. His brow was creased, his eyes narrowed and his lips pursed into a straight line.
Bella raised an eyebrow and asked, “Are you ok? You look just like Johnny Carson would when he’d wear that turban and hold an envelope to his forehead…you know? I used to love it when my mom would let me stay up late and watch those when I was little…” Her eyes widened at the shocked look on Edward’s face, and she slapped a hand over her mouth. Bella could not believe she had said what she had to Edward’s face. She was never this talkative…never before had she compared anyone to a decades old comedy routine while sharing embarrassing childhood stories within five minutes of meeting them. For some inexplicable reason, Bella wanted to share everything with Edward; though she was now mortified at what that she had said. Her embarrassment was evident on her red face, but even in her discomfort, she felt like she could share the world with Edward.
Edward, however, was still reeling from Bella’s highly perceptive observation, however unknowing it may have been. Hadn’t Emmett made reference to the very same Johnny Carson skit once it was obvious to the family that Edward was hearing things that he shouldn’t? No one else had ever drawn that conclusion before; no one else had ever brought out these reactions in him. Edward had learned to school his responses, whether spoken or just a facial expression, in the year that he had spent at home with Esme. He had known that if this gift were going to be a secret, he had better not expose it himself by answering unspoken questions. Bella had apparently seen right through him. She had certainly come close to the mark with her comment, though it seemed to embarrass her.
“I’m sorry…I’m usually not so frighteningly blunt,” Bella explained, pink faced. Edward merely cleared his throat before barely uttering, “No problem.”
Bella’s face was crimson now. Edward watched her as she smiled sheepishly and turned back to her notebook, pulling her hair over her shoulder so as to block Edward’s penetrating gaze.
Edward was caught by surprise again; as his new lab partner gathered her hair and shielded her red cheeks with it, Edward caught a familiar scent. ‘Bella must use the same shampoo as Tanya did…I didn’t think I would ever enjoy smelling that strawberry scent again…wait…enjoy it? Esme must be right…I’ve thought about the accident or Tanya at least three times today, and I haven’t broken down at all,” he thought.
Edward fought the urge to lean in and take a deep breath of Bella’s fragrant scent, or to reach out and touch the heavy mahogany curtain that she had spread between them. ‘It’s different somehow though, not just strawberries…something floral…it smells just like the freesia that Esme plants in the spring…that must be why it didn’t hurt to smell the shampoo. It’s combined with the freesia scent, so it’s almost something new, something purely Bella…’ Edward thought. Then, without any obvious cause, Bella snorted in quiet laughter and briefly clapped her hand over her mouth again. She lifted her head and stared straight into Edward’s eyes. He let his eyes roam over the contours of her face, taking in her deep brown eyes, her full lips, her heart shaped face and her magnificent mahogany hair.
‘Wait…did I just describe her hair as magnificent?’ thought Edward. He was nearly overcome once more by the desire to touch her hair, and bring it to his face, so that he could smell the delicious bouquet.
Edward gripped the edge of the desk until his knuckles were white with the strain, and he thought the wood under his hands would bear his hand prints. He knew instinctively that Bella would be beyond mortified if he gave into the strange urge to run his fingers through her hair, ten minutes after meeting her. He himself was mortified; he had never felt such strong feelings for a stranger before. It was as though his soul knew hers; she was familiar in a way that he couldn’t describe. Not since Tanya had he felt so comfortable around someone; he rarely initiated physical contact, especially not with someone other than his family, but he couldn’t deny that he had a strong desire to reach out and touch Bella Swan.
Mr. Banner droned endlessly about the notes he had filled the board with. Bella was confused; not about the course work, she had studied this before in Phoenix, but she could not explain the incredible pull she felt towards Edward. Her heart felt like it had truly come alive at this moment as she sat next to this beautiful bronze-haired boy who, according to Jessica, was snobbish and proud. Bella felt he was just very reserved; hurting from the terrible accident that Angela had told her about. She was reminded very forcefully of Mr. Darcy. ‘Indeed he has no improper pride. He is perfectly amiable.’ Bella couldn’t help the small chuckle that escaped her lips when she thought of the context of that quote. She clapped her hand over her mouth once more, looking embarrassedly at Edward beside her.
‘He has green eyes,’ Bella realized. Beautiful, green eyes that resembled finely polished jade stones. Not the bright, nearly-neon emerald-colored stones that Renee so often admired on the QVC before Bella could hide the credit cards and change the channel. Edward’s eyes were like the soft, olive-colored jade that looked as though marbled with smoke. Bella realized with chagrin that Edward was looking at her very curiously, questioningly. He had caught her unabashedly staring at him after snorting in sudden unexplained laughter.
‘Probably worried I won’t stop staring, or that I’m unbalanced, laughing the way I did,’ thought Bella. Inexplicably, Edward grasped the desk in a white-knuckled grip as his eyes followed the contours of her face and hair. Bella was once again speechless as she took in his observations, though her face broadcasted her embarrassment perfectly well.
“I’m sorry…I keep making a fool of myself…I was thinking of Mr. Darcy,” Bella said, her cheeks permanently stained now.
Edward was still taking in her beauty when he realized that she was speaking.
“I’m sorry…I keep making a fool of myself…I was thinking of Mr. Darcy.”
“What?” he asked confused.
“Mr. Darcy…Pride and Prejudice? It’s one of my favorites…”she trailed off, then she cleared her throat and smiled. “You remind me of him…” she finished softly.
“How? Am I a ‘proud, unpleasant sort of man’ or perhaps I have a ‘forbidding, disagreeable countenance?’” Edward said very seriously, though on the inside he was laughing. He was sure that Bella would not have expected him to quote the book to her.
“What?! No! That’s not what I meant…” Bella felt that her face would never lose the color that currently imbued her skin. She bit her lip and tried to think of an explanation that didn’t make her look pathetic. ‘If only the ground could swallow me whole…how do I explain what I meant without sounding completely infatuated with him?’ she thought.
“I…I…” she began.
“Mr. Cullen?” Edward realized that Mr. Banner was looking to catch them off guard, since they hadn’t really been paying attention.
‘Come on, I know you weren’t paying attention…Krebs Cycle…’
“The Krebs Cycle,” said Edward confidently.
‘How did he do that!’ thought Mr. Banner. Edward knew his teacher was exasperated by his apparent ability to ‘daydream and flirt with his pretty new lab partner’ and still manage to answer the question correctly.
‘Was I flirting with her?’ Edward asked himself. ‘I think I was…’ This time, it was Edward’s turn to laugh unexpectedly. He turned to Bella to share a smile with her, only to find that her mahogany hair was once again curtained between them.
“Class, you have twenty minutes left; use your time wisely and copy down the rest of these notes that I’ve put on the board. You will need to study them for our next lab,” droned Mr. Banner.
Edward cringed at the realization that his sarcasm was taken at face value, thanks to Mr. Banner’s timely interruption. Edward sighed as he added one more thing to his list of reasons to dislike his biology teacher before leaning over his paper and starting to write. He and Bella worked quietly side by side copying down the notes that Mr. Banner had on the board.
“Ok, everyone…you’re free to pack up, the bell is going to ring in one minute boys and girls,” Mr. Banner said with enthusiasm.
As soon as the bell rang, Edward walked out of the biology classroom after Bella. He wanted to explain to her that he wasn’t being serious before, but Mike Newton had already claimed her attention, asking if he could walk with her to the gym. As he turned on his heel and headed quickly to his Spanish class, he didn’t see Bella glance sadly over her shoulder in time to watch him round the corner.
“Hey Bella, what did you do to Cullen huh? Did you ask him to the dance or something? He doesn’t date you know…doesn’t really talk much either,” Mike said, desperate to convince her that Edward wasn’t worth the trouble.
“What? No, I didn’t…I think I insulted him though…I compared him to Mr. Darcy,” Bella said, cringing as she remembered the serious look on Edward’s face when he actually quoted Pride and Prejudice to her, and not in a romantic way.
“Mr. Who?” Mike asked, confused.
“Mr.- Never mind,” Bella said, giving up trying to explain the situation and turning to walk towards the large building that could be nothing other than the gym.
“So…you have gym now? I have gym, too. Do you like gym?” Mike asked, trying to make small talk.
“Uh, I do, but I don’t really care for it; too much of a klutz,” Bella said honestly.
“Oh…here’s the gym.” Mike wasn’t sure what else to say.
“I’ll just go get dressed then,” Bella said, turning and walking quickly to the girl’s locker room before the situation with Mike could deteriorate into anything more awkward, or he used the word ‘gym’ again.
“Ok, Bella,” said Mike; he was clueless.
Bella made it to the locker that was assigned to her and dumped her things into it before moving out to sit in the bleachers. The PE teacher didn’t make Bella dress down, and Bella was grateful for any opportunity to avoid changing in front of others and risk someone catching a glimpse of her scar. Any aspirations she had of keeping her heart transplant a secret would certainly be crushed if Jessica noticed she had a ten inch scar running down the middle of her chest.
Thankfully, Bella’s secret was safe for at least one more day; she merely had to endure Mike Newton’s attempts to impress her with his ‘skills.’ He truly reminded Bella of a dog, eager to please and be praised. Once the bell rang to signal the end of the day, Bella rushed out of the gym before Mike could stop her. She hurried over to the office to turn in her signed slips; she pulled open the door just in time to avoid a collision with Edward Cullen. He fixed her again with a frustrated look and said, “Listen, about earlier…”
“Don’t worry about it,” Bella interrupted as a blush stained her cheeks once more. She looked down at her feet and pushed past him into the office as her heart pounded again. He smiled a half smile and left the office in a hurry. ‘Probably can’t wait to get away from the crazy girl,’ she thought as she watched him sprint for the parking lot.
As Bella walked forward to give Ms. Cope her paper, she thought she heard the older woman muttering, “Too young, too young, too young,” as she studiously looked over the papers that Edward had given her. Confused, frustrated, and thoroughly ready to go home, Bella didn’t stop to question the woman’s strange behavior. She followed Edward’s example and made for her truck as quickly as her clumsy feet would allow.
Edward ran for his car as quickly as he could; Bella was still embarrassed over his gaffe earlier in biology. He knew that he needed to properly apologize to her, but he was too unnerved to wait in the office any longer after he had to deal with Ms. Cope’s disturbing thoughts. Before he got to his car, he smashed down the button on the keyless remote when he heard his siblings impatient thoughts about being locked out. As such, they were all waiting for him when he dove behind the wheel of his silver Volvo and started the engine.
“Ms. Cope getting a little too fresh again Eddie?” Emmett said with glee as he made a face at him in the mirror. Edward merely glared at him in said mirror and growled, along with everyone else in the car, “Don’t call me Eddie.” Emmett sniggered at Edward and continued his steady stream of odd expressions. Edward’s hulk of a brother often insisted on sitting in the middle of the back seat for the sole purpose of blocking the mirror making faces at Edward while he drove. He would usually accompany each look with colorful thoughts that often had Edward blushing. His coupled siblings frequently accused him of being a prude straight out of the Victorian era.
“How was Biology today, Edward?” Alice asked innocently. ‘I know that you flirted with Bella, Edward…even if flirting for you involved quoting centenarian literature,’ she continued in her head, which caused Edward to glare questioningly at her.‘Angela is in my seventh hour class, and you know how persuasive I can be when I want to know something,’ she thought. Alice laughed her bell-like laugh and thought, ‘Better luck next time, brother.’
“No more silent conversations, Bro,” Emmett said from the back seat. “What kind of delicious mental tidbits did you get from ‘Bella’ when you ‘flirted’ with her Edward?”
Emmett’s words may as well have been a wrench tossed carelessly in an engine, as effectively as they interrupted Edward’s pleasant daydreams of having a real conversation with Bella that didn’t include Mr. Banner. His brow furrowed as he reluctantly admitted, “I can’t hear her thoughts.”
Stunned silence prevailed the rest of the way home.
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