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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 :)


8. Chapter 8

Rating 5/5   Word Count 4903   Review this Chapter

Bella was frustrated; very frustrated. It had been two weeks since she had inadvertently insulted Edward Cullen; two torturous weeks of awkwardly sharing lab equipment under Mr. Banner’s scrutinous supervision. Bella had started to wonder if their biology teacher was trying to test her knowledge independently from Edward before he allowed the class to work together again. He had assigned labs that were specifically designed to be performed alone. Every day, Bella and Edward had traded polite greetings while setting up their lab stations; then Mr. Banner would start class, and they would have to separate to work on their own.

Edward still sat with his siblings at lunch; Bella was too reserved to approach him while he was surrounded by his family. Jessica and Angela made sure to include Bella at their table in the cafeteria, and Mike trailed along to biology at Bella’s side every day. He talked to her about mundane topics, regardless as to whether or not she participated in the conversation. He would sit on the lab table and continue his prattle until Mr. Banner called the class to order. As soon as the bell had rung to dismiss sixth hour, Mike would jump to grab her attention and walk her to gym before Edward could even utter a word. Bella had even started to wonder if Mike thought she was helpless because of her obvious lack of coordination. He was starting to treat her like the hoverers in Phoenix did; as though convinced that she would collapse at a moment’s notice. Heaven forbid should Mike ever find out about her heart transplant; he would probably get a wheel chair to escort her in around school the very next day.

Just to add to her frustration, the ever-present rain had turned to snow the previous morning during school. Bella had only realized this when the omnipresent pitter-patter of rain drops over her head had ceased. The sudden hush had almost been unnerving.

All day yesterday, several students around school had been throwing soggy balls of slush; eyes aglow with the merriment that usually accompanied frozen wet stuff falling from the sky. But not Edward; he didn’t seem to like the snow, not that Bella could blame him. Bella herself made it a point to get inside when people started flinging cold wet things around. She didn’t even enjoy water balloons back in Phoenix; snowballs were definitely on her list of things to avoid.

At lunch, Edward’s larger brother had come in and had shaken his wet hair out all over his brothers before shoving a wet handful of snow down the back of Edward’s shirt. Edward let out a growl and jumped up to shake out his clothes. Jessica had noticed his actions and had started encouraging him to take off his shirt under her breath. Edward had looked over at their table and stopped shaking his shirt abruptly as though he could hear her. Bella had almost laughed at the scandalized look that momentarily crossed Edward’s face. Then Edward had met her eyes and took in the slightly amused expression on Bella’s face; instantly he gave her a small smile and dropped down into his seat before giving his dark-haired, smug-faced sister a frustrated look.

This morning, Charlie had caught her thinking about the lunch time exchange between Edward and his siblings; however, he was trying to tell her to take it easy while driving, and mistook her preoccupation for indifference. He admonished Bella to drive more cautiously on the icy roads.

I put some chains on your tires this morning, but you can’t use them as an excuse to drive like this is Phoenix. Think of the chains as a life vest; if your boat gets tipped, you might lose your tackle, but the vest will keep you from getting killed,”he had said.

Only Charlie could equate snow chains to fishing’ thought Bella. She smiled and shook her head ruefully at that thought before she grabbed her enormous coat and shrugged it on. When she walked out to her truck, she nearly slipped three times on the icy steps and path before she was safely buckled behind the wheel. The deafening engine roared to life more readily than Bella would have expected for how cold it was. After a few minutes of letting the engine warm, she slowly started on her way to school.

HSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHS

“Edward, you’ll do fine, I know it,” Alice said encouragingly. “Esme made sure Carlisle put snow chains on all our cars last night,” she continued, buoying Edward’s confidence with her encouragement. He knew better than to disagree with his sister. Only a fool would bet against Alice’s gut instincts; she called it her womanly intuition. Emmett simply called it ‘freaking foresight.’

Edward smiled at the thought of Emmett and Alice. They were more brother and sister to him than he could have imagined when he first met them. He didn’t like to think about that time, when he had rebelled from Carlisle and Esme.

Tanya and her family had been forced to move back to Russia for a time while they waited for their visas and green cards to be renewed so that they could return and become naturalized citizens. Edward had been thirteen at the time, and had taken it hard. Shortly after Tanya had left Forks, there had been a house fire in town close by Edward’s school. Looking at the burned out shell for weeks on end had reminded him all too forcefully of his life and family before he was adopted by the Cullens.

He had had several vivid nightmares, pieced and patched together from the vague recollections and fuzzy memories of when his own home had burned down. Carlisle and Esme had always been very open with him about his parents. Whenever he asked, they had readily shared what little they knew of Edward and Elizabeth Masen. Curiosity aside, he had never really grieved the loss of his parents; five was just too young to fully understand what had happened. He remembered asking for his parents, and had cried for his mother in the first month, but he was happy and well cared for. Eventually, he stopped asking for his parents and his memories of them faded back into the recesses of his mind. At thirteen, though, Edward had felt tortured by his suddenly resurfaced memories. He had felt abandoned by his parents and alone because of Tanya’s absence. As such he decided to run away from it all; with his stash of allowance from Carlisle and Esme in his pocket, and his backpack slung over his shoulders, he hitch-hiked to Seattle.

He had lived off of his cash on his own on the streets for a few days until he had met up with the unlikely pair he now called brother and sister. Emmett, even at fourteen, was huge, and Alice was even tinier and pixie-like at thirteen. This hulking boy and this tiny waif of a girl had met on the streets and formed a bond. Emmett would protect Alice from the ever-present dangers of living on the street, and she would use her amazing ‘freaking foresight’ to guide them to the best picks on the bustling streets of Seattle; tourists too absorbed in their sight-seeing, or business men to absorbed in their hand-held devices to miss their wallet until hours later.

It wasn’t their favorite way to live, but neither Emmett or Alice had had a pleasant life in the foster system. The three teens banded together, and Emmett and Alice taught Edward how to pick pockets. They soon learned that Edward was the best and the fastest ‘pick’ of the unlikely trio. Emmett and Alice became the decoys and Edward would lift their income from the unsuspecting visitors and citizens of Seattle. They always made sure to pick the people who looked like they could afford a ‘donation’ as Emmett called it. Edward was insistent upon that; he didn’t want to be responsible for taking someone else’s meal.

As skilled as they were, six months after Edward had run away, the three of them had been caught by a dragnet of the Seattle Police department intent on ‘cleaning up the streets.’ Edward had been recognized by one of the arresting officers who closely followed the reports of missing children in the state. Edward’s unusually-colored hair had given him away; Carlisle and Esme were immediately notified, and plans were made to release Edward into their care. Because of their ages and situation, Emmett and Alice were simply remanded to the custody of their guardian; which in their case was the state of Washington. Edward knew though, that Emmett and Alice would be split up and lost once more to the foster system. Within a month, they would be right back on the street, and he would lose his brother and sister.

It hadn’t been hard to convince his adoptive parents to take in Edward’s new siblings of choice; Carlisle’s compassionate nature and Esme’s loving heart made it impossible to refuse their first son.

When they returned to Forks, Edward had learned that Esme’s sister and husband had died while he had been on his own; the Cullens were now also fostering her niece and nephew, Rosalie and Jasper Hale. Emmett and Alice had immediately fallen for their new housemates. Edward got along with Jasper fine; he was immediately another brother. Rosalie and Edward, however, blended together about as well as oil and water. She always denied it, but Edward felt that Rosalie had been jealous of Esme and Carlisle’s affection for him, and their relief at finding him well.

“Lost in thought much?” Alice asked, smirking. Edward blinked and looked at his sister before he gave her a smile.

“Just thinking of when I met you Pixie,” taunted Edward. He knew how much Alice disliked that nickname; Emmett had dubbed her with it mainly because of her size, but also because of their chosen profession on the streets. Alice’s eyes narrowed and her lips pursed. Then she looked smug when she thought, ‘Well, I guess those good vibes I was feeling weren’t for you after all.” Then, she turned on her heel and marched into the garage where their siblings were waiting by Edward’s Volvo.

“What? What do you mean by that? Alice, you can’t just drop cryptic little hints like that and then start humming the chicken dance song in your head! You know I hate that song! It never ends!” Edward groaned.

Emmett and Rosalie started laughing at Edward’s plight. Jasper seemed less than amused; he was such an empathetic person, he was already singing the chicken song in his head in unwilling sympathy, even though he couldn’t even hear his girlfriend taunting Edward with it. Now Edward heard the annoying and repetitive song in surround sound, though since Alice and Jasper couldn’t hear each other, they were annoyingly out of synch. Edward growled in his frustration and looked over the top of the car at his larger brother.

“No sitting in the middle today; this is going to be a stressful enough drive without you blocking my mirror and making faces at me,” Edward said.

“Sure, little brother; I wouldn’t dream of making things difficult for you. Come on Rosie, you can sit in the middle and glare at Edward the whole way,” Emmett said with a smirk before starting his own mental rendition of the chicken song. Edward shook his head at him. Emmett may be the best brother he could hope for, but he certainly knew how to push all the right buttons.

“Loosen up, Edward; we’re just trying to help you relax. You can do this,” Alice said. Edward let out a deep breath as he sat down in the driver’s seat and listened for the clicks of everyone’s seatbelts.

“Here we go; back in the saddle, nothing to it,” Edward muttered; and then he pulled cautiously out of the garage and onto the icy roads.

HSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHS

Bella pulled into the school parking lot early; she hadn’t wanted to get to school quite so soon, but it seemed that her ancient truck handled the icy conditions better than Bella herself did. As she drove slowly down the aisle of already parked cars in the student lot, she caught a glimpse of silver behind her.

Edward Cullen was pulling into a space four cars down from her truck. She had been lucky and caught a closer space at the end of the row hidden by the badly parked suburban next to her. She looked back over her shoulder and through the windows of the other cars to watch the Cullens park. The look on Edward’s face was one of intense concentration; both of his hands were visible through his windshield, tightly gripping his steering wheel at the ten and two o’clock positions.

Bella smiled as she watched Edward’s adoptive siblings walk slowly towards the school. The short, dark-haired girl that Bella remembered was named Alice turned around and gave a thumbs-up to her brother as he climbed slowly out of his car and shut the door. As though steeling himself for something, Edward turned towards Bella’s rusty truck and walked towards her. Bella rushed to get unbuckled so that she could meet Edward at the tail-end of her truck. She struggled with the retro-fitted seatbelt for a moment as the shoulder strap got tangled around her left arm as it retracted.

Once free of the belt, Bella hopped out of the truck eagerly, only to grab the side of the truck and hang on while her feet attempted to find purchase beneath her. She slid hand-over-hand along the bed of her truck towards Edward, who waited patiently though he seemed to Bella to be fighting a smile.

“Do you need some help?” he asked in his smooth voice; his shining eyes gave him away though. He was fighting to keep a straight face.

“No, no! I’m fine; I’ve got to get used to this sometime, though I’m sure my coccyx will be happier when that happens,” Bella said, and then she turned a brilliant shade of red at the crooked answering smile that Edward gave her. She closed her eyes waiting for the heat to recede from her face.

“Did I really just use the word ‘coccyx’ in casual conversation?” she asked Edward, clearly mortified that it had in fact happened.

“Why should that embarrass you? It’s just a tailbone. My father is a surgeon, you know; those sorts of words get used casually at our dinner table,” Edward explained. “You shouldn’t hide your intelligence, Bella,” Edward said.

“Easy for you to say,” Bella muttered.

“I’m sorry? I didn’t catch that.”

“Nothing,” she said quickly before letting out a big breath and continuing, “You’re right, I shouldn’t hide it. It’s just that it tends to make others uncomfortable. Of course, it could have been much more awkward; I could have been wearing a shower cap or something,” Bella said hurriedly; then she blushed again.

“A shower cap? Why would you think about wearing a shower cap during a conversation about coccyxes?” Edward smiled his crooked grin.

“Is this a custom from Phoenix that I’m not privy to? I didn’t think it rained very much there,” Edward teased. Bella smiled regardless of the light blush that still stained her cheeks.

“Well, it was the most embarrassing thing I could think of…” Bella trailed off when she heard it. It was easily the most terrifying sound she had heard in her short life. The screeching wail of locked brakes and skidding tires reached her ears, causing her heart to speed up until it felt as though it had moved to her throat. Adrenaline coursed through her system. From the corner of her eye, she could see a large blue van sliding across the pavement, directly towards her truck. She and Edward would be crushed between the two steel tanks right there in the parking lot of Forks High School.

Irony is painful’ flashed through Bella’s mind as she stood frozen for what seemed like an eternity, though in reality hadn’t even been two seconds. She was contemplating the odds of surviving a heart transplant only to be crushed by a van. Therefore, Bella was completely shocked when Edward Cullen threw himself at her and tackled her to the ground, turning in the air so that his larger, heavier body wouldn’t crush hers when they landed. Bella heard a solid thud when Edward’s head made contact with the pavement. He lay there dazed, but conscious; his hands no longer cradled her tightly. Bella still lay panicking atop his lanky frame when she registered that the van had T-boned the rear of her truck at a slight angle, but it hadn’t stopped. The big blue van was closing on her truck as though the two vehicles were a pair of scissors, and she and Edward were still trapped between them.

Bella glanced over her shoulder at the van coming towards them as though it were in slow motion; the adrenaline coursing through her bloodstream was making her brain work impossibly fast. The screeching metal-on-metal sound still filled her ears as the van rotated terrifyingly on the ice that had caused Bella to clutch to the side of her truck. It would be impossible for the van to come to a halt before it crushed them beneath its tires. She knew that Edward’s impromptu tackle had taken them out of the point of first impact, but they weren’t out of danger yet. Praying that adrenaline was all it was cracked up to be, Bella grasped the front of Edward’s coat and threw her weight to the side as hard as she could, rolling Edward with her to the space under her truck just as the side of the van impacted with the rusted Chevy.

“EDWARD!!” Bella could hear Edward’s siblings yelling for him.

“BELLA!!” Angela, Jessica, Mike and a few others called for her. Edward groaned, and tried to move, but he was stuck. That Bella had managed to get the both of them under the truck, when now they could hardly move, was miraculous.

“I guess adrenaline really is strong stuff,” Bella muttered.

“What?” Edward asked. He was obviously still somewhat dazed, and had clamped his hands over his ears like they were ringing.

“Heavy…too heavy…” Bella managed to croak out, though it used all the air in her lungs to force the words out.

“Huh? OH! Sorry,” Edward said and rested his weight on his elbows again, though he also succeeded in smacking the tender area on the back of his head against the chassis of the truck. Edward grunted and dropped his head onto Bella’s shoulder.

“Sorry, I think I’ve got the drive train up against my back; I think we’re wedged in,” said Edward, though his voice was muffled. As often as she had wanted to talk to Edward Cullen, this was the last way Bella would have thought to break the ice with him. Realizing the irony of what she had just thought, she let out a disbelieving snort, her body shaking in sudden silent laughter.

“I’ll just, uh…are you crying?” Edward asked tentatively.

“No, I just was pondering the irony of this situation; I thought that this was not the best way to break the ice with you…” Bella trailed off and started laughing again, though Edward joined her now.

“We’ve got to stop laughing, Bella, I think I’ve got a bolt or two knocking on my kidneys…” Edward said while he tried to stifle his laughter. Bella quieted down, though her face froze when she heard the sirens.

“Oh, no! Charlie! He’s going to hit the roof…” Bella said, closing her eyes in frustration.

“You are utterly absurd, Bella. You’re worried about your father’s potential over-reaction? We were, not five minutes ago, nearly crushed to death, twice! Now we’re trapped here under your truck…” Edward trailed off suddenly, his eyes growing wide and unfocused. Bella was momentarily confused; then she remembered what had happened to Edward less than two years previous. A tragic accident which resulted in the death of two people, and left another two scarred. As the adrenaline left his system, his brain processed what exactly had just happened while he was teasing Bella about it. His breathing became erratic; his heart pounded even harder against Bella’s chest and his muscles trembled from the cold and the quickly retreating adrenaline.

Bella had seen Renee have enough panic attacks to know one when she saw it. She knew that she needed to calm him down, to keep him from going into shock, though all around them people were yelling, crying, calling their names, and adding to the sudden feeling of panic that had enveloped him. Bella pulled her hands from between them and grabbed either side of his face and made him look into her eyes.

The electric tingle that she felt as she cradled his face in her hands almost distracted her completely, but she gathered herself and began, “Ok, listen to me Edward, we’re just fine…you can hear the sirens, they know we're here, they’ll get us out. Breathe, don’t hyperventilate, that will only make things worse."

Bella pulled his head once more onto her shoulder and ran her hands through his messy hair. She started talking about Renee and Charlie, and how the rain kept her up at night; nothing truly important, she just wanted him to concentrate on her voice. Soon enough, he had calmed down, though he didn’t move his head.

“Thank you…” he murmured without looking at her. Bella simply gave a squeeze in acknowledgement; she didn’t trust her voice to remain steady.

“OK! On three! ONE, TWO, THREE!” a strange man’s voice ordered, and suddenly, the van was being moved away from the truck enough to allow someone to peek their head down and look for them.

“Bella? Edward? How are you doing? Are either of you hurt?” asked the man; he was wearing a firefighter’s uniform, though without the helmet.

“I’m fine, but Edward hit his head, and we’re stuck under here,” Bella explained. She was able to turn her head and look at the EMT, though Edward still lay with his head on her shoulder, looking in the opposite direction. He murmured his agreement into her hair. The EMT grunted his acknowledgement and disappeared; then the van was moved further away, and he returned.

“OK, well, we’re going to get some jacks and lift the truck up a bit; do you think you could crawl out?”

“Yeah, I think so,” murmured both Bella and Edward.

“Well, here we go!” the fireman said before his head disappeared again and two more pairs of feet returned a moment later with two large jacks. They placed a jack under each axle on the driver’s side, and started to lift the truck.

HSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHS

Edward could feel the truck lift centimeter by centimeter until he could move to the side and off of Bella. He rolled again, moving out from under the truck. An EMT was waiting for him there with a backboard and a neck brace. When Edward saw them, he groaned.

“Sorry, bud, but the lady said you hit your head. Dr. Cullen wants to see you down at the hospital,” the firefighter explained sheepishly.

Edward noticed Bella come out, sliding on her belly, and standing tentatively. Edward scowled at her from the ground for ratting on him, but she just shrugged her shoulders and gave him a small grin. Edward rolled once more so that he was on the backboard and glared up at the somewhat familiar face of the man speaking to him.

“Eddie! We’ve got to stop meeting this way,” the man teased.

“Don’t call me Eddie,” Edward growled; the EMT’s around him just finished strapping him onto the board and laughed.

“You know? That’s exactly what you said last time!” the EMT said. Edward merely growled his frustration at being in this situation again, where all of Forks High School could witness it.

Edward felt the vaguely familiar feeling of having left his stomach on the ground when the EMT’s picked up the backboard in a smooth quick movement. It was almost like riding a roller coaster, but in reverse.

“Bella!! What’s going on?! Are you alright?”

Edward could hear Chief Swan rush over to his daughter and pepper her with questions. She continually reassured him, and refused any treatment from the firefighters on scene. “Edward saved me, he didn’t let anything hit me,” she had reassured everyone, though Edward wondered if she was saying it for his benefit as well. Charlie promised the EMT’s that he would take her in to the hospital himself, which she was still protesting, even as Charlie thought, ‘She’ll go get checked out if I have to arrest her to do it!’

Hearing Charlie’s thoughts made Edward smile; then he heard the worried thoughts of his family.

“My brothers and sisters are over there,” Edward waved a hand in their direction, “Could you please let them know I’m fine?” he said as he glared up at the familiar EMT who was now strapping Edward onto the gurney before loading him into the ambulance.

“I’ll go let them know what’s going on,” reassured the female EMT.

“Still a fighter, I see,” she said with a grin. Then, Alice rushed over, unable to stay away any longer.

‘You’ll do fine Edward. Though I think Carlisle may send you home, and Esme may be tempted to wrap you in bubble wrap,’ she thought while leaning over his head and climbing into the back of the ambulance with him. Edward smiled and tried to look at her, but he was strapped too firmly. He instead resorted to sifting through his siblings thoughts to take in the scene around him.

Such a shame this has to happen to such a handsome boy and twice in two years too!’ Edward recognized this new mental voice as the female partner of the EMT who kept laughing every time he called Edward ‘Eddie.’ He let out a groan, one which his siblings were familiar with.

I’ll make her back off, Edward.’ He was surprised to hear Rose think that, rather than Alice. His being strapped to a gurney must have softened his foster sister’s attitude. ‘One more ride in an ambulance and she might stop arguing with me every day,’ thought Edward ruefully.

Emmett, Jasper and Rosalie immediately followed Edward and Alice into the ambulance, giving the female paramedic a glare when she protested.

“There’s plenty of room, you only need one of you back here,” Rosalie said; Edward could see the frowning EMT in Rose’s thoughts, and he was grateful for his sister’s insistence.

“I’ll just ride up front then Joe,” the EMT said to her partner.

“Ok Megan, I’ve got a handle on Eddie here, don’t worry. You can make pretty eyes at him and his dad at the hospital,” he said. Edward saw Megan glare at Joe in all of their thoughts, and all of their smirking faces in Megan’s mind. Suddenly he felt overwhelmed from all the thoughts and the stress of the morning. He let out a big breath, closed his eyes, and started counting backwards from 1000 to close his mind to everything else.

HSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHSHS

Bella reassured the EMT’s once more that she hadn’t been hurt. Then, she turned to see her father; he stood with his hands on his hips, and both eyebrows rose as he took in Bella’s muddy, grease-stained clothes and haystack hair.

“I want you to get checked out, Bells. This was a serious accident! Did you see them load the Cullen boy up? He had a neck brace! Sometimes you can’t tell you’re hurt till it’s too late. I’ll take you to the hospital myself,” said Charlie, and then he guided Bella by the shoulder to his cruiser.

Bella opened the passenger side door and got in before Charlie could help her and make her feel like she was under arrest. “I’m fine, Ch-Dad,” she said. Charlie just grunted and pulled onto the highway after the ambulance.

“Really Dad, Edward saved our lives; I’m fine, not a scratch,” Bella said.

“I still want you to talk to your doctor at least. I was terrified, Bells,” Charlie said. It was this admission that made Bella agree; Charlie rarely ever admitted things like that. It just wasn’t in his nature.

“Fine; as long as you keep Mom out of this,” Bella attempted to bargain.

“Well, you see, Bella…”

“You called her already, didn’t you?” Bella moaned. She knew Renee was probably already on the phone with the airline, trying to book the next flight.

“You were stuck under your truck, and she called me first! What else was I supposed to say?” Charlie said.

Bella couldn’t argue with him. Renee was amazingly perceptive; she could tell a lie before it was even fully out of Bella’s mouth.

“You can call her back then, and tell her I’m fine, nothing happened. Don’t mention Edward though; she might ask for a full biography including physical description, up to and including birthmarks and scars,” Bella muttered.

“Uh…”

“You didn’t! You told her?” Bella squeaked.

“Well, I kinda had to; she wouldn’t let it rest until she had the whole situation. She’s waiting for you to call her back…”

Bella put her head into her hands and sighed. “Fine, I’ll call her, but not until I know how Edward is doing.”

“Fair enough…maybe you could ask Dr. Cullen to draw you a diagram of any birthmarks and scars while you’re at it. Save you the trouble of asking once you’re on the phone,” Charlie said as he pulled to a stop in front of the hospital. Bella could tell he was struggling to hold back his smirk, but he wasn't succeeding. Bella groaned and hopped out of the cruiser, stalking towards the hospital before she could be embarrassed any further.