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The Dreams of the Boy In the Nighttime

Summary:
Bella Swan has had a tragic and abusive childhood; everyone knew it. But not everyone knew of the bronze-haired boy who visited her in her dreams. He was the only one who knew the true Bella. But Edward wasn't real, was he? Banner made by Anne Cullen :)


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 authors. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended. Twilighted Supervisory Beta: qjmom Twilighted Validation Beta: Twilightzoner


1. Early Years

Rating 5/5   Word Count 3264   Review this Chapter

Two newly born babies were lying together in the middle of a great expanse of grass. The feeling of early morning hung in the air; the light was dimmed and a heavy mist had settled over the pasture, the grass coated with a thin sheen of dew collected over the nighttime.

At the bottom of the meadows hill, there was a vast lake. The water was so motionless that it didn't even look like water at all. It looked more like a mirror, reflecting back the blue-gray color of the sky, as well as the trees that surrounded it, slowly closing in on its watery depths. Not even a single ripple betrayed its identity.

The two children made eye contact and held it for a few minutes, or maybe it was hours; it could have been through all eternity. Anyway, it was far longer than what would usually be comfortable in normal adult society, to be sure. But the girl and the boy just continued to gaze into each other's eyes, voicing a million thoughts through their connection, as they were unable to communicate by any other means.

Edward lifted his chubby arm and moved to clasp Bella's hand in his own, curious to feel the new thing in front of him. But, to his displeasure, she withdrew her hand from his, not wishing for the same contact as he did, her brow crumpling in confusion as she did so. She didn't understand Edward's need for touch.

Sensing the rejection, Edward's eyes glazed over, and his trembling lower lip jutted out in a pout.

Bella realized her new friend's sudden saddness and reached out with her hand to touch Edward's arm in reassurance of their new friendship. But, even as she did so, it was too late, and the wailing screams of Edward began to shake though the meadows carefully controlled serenity, its domino effect calling forth Bella's cries. A flock of white geese flew up into the sky in that moment, and the tranquility of new life was disturbed.

####

Bella Swan awoke in a briny puddle of her own tears pulling her mother, Renée, from her yearned for and short-lived sleep. She dragged herself out of her warm and comfortable bed and away from her husband, still encompassed in a deep and uninterrupted sleep, and to the pale pink cot at the foot of her bed.

She sighed and shook her head as she tried to erase the feeling of fatigue from her bleary mind. It hung behind her eyes, so that when she moved her head they blurred and it would take a moment for her eyes to adjust to the movement.

She reached for the bottle of lukewarm milk at her bedstead and proceeded to feed her baby girl, Bella. She smiled as she thought her name. Bella. She had already nicknamed her; she'd never really likened to the name Isabella, chosen by her husband, but Bella seemed to fit somehow.

She put the bottle back in its holder and rubbed her eye with the side of her hand, a wide yawn escaping from her mouth. She settled Bella in her crib once more, watching as she fell asleep. This baby was going to be the death of her, she was sure of it.

####

"Where the fuck is she?" The frantic voice of Charlie Swan shouted at rather than to the receptionist behind the front desk at the Arizona State Hospital.

The second hand was speeding passed the digits of the clock, and, as it made its quickened journey, he could feel cooled sweat roll slowly down his face. The woman to whom he was trying to speak to typed leisurely into the computer as if she had all the time in the world, before turning her tired gaze towards him.

"There's no need to swear, Sir. I'm sure I can find whoever you're looking for perfectly well without being sworn at," she finished bitterly.

So she was a smartass was she?

"Don't you fucking tell me what to do!" Charlie yelled at the woman, causing several heads to turn their way.

"Who are you looking for?" she asked in a bored tone, eyes flitting toward the illuminated screen.

"Swan," he replied shortly. He was getting impatient with this woman. "Isabella Swan." He accentuated each syllable of her name.

A small smile appeared on the receptionist's face as she turned back around to the computer. Charlie was starting to think that she held an unhealthy attachment to that electronic device. She propped her left elbow against the desktop and leant her head atop, so her face was only a few inches from the screen, as she slowly typed in the letters to Bella's name with one long acrylic nail.

"Ah yes, we have an Isabella Swan." Finally, Charlie thought; his anxiety was reaching boiling point. "Are you family?" she asked timidly, finally catching on to the murderous expression in Charlie's eyes. By the terrified look on her face it would seem that she would not deny him entrance even if he said "no".

"Yes. Yes, I am family," he said, trying to calm his erratic breathing by venting his frustration into his fingers, which were tapping against the desk irritably. "I'm her father."

"Ward 8B." She nervously raised her arm to point toward the elevator across the room.

Charlie didn't pause to thank the woman. He immediately turned and walked with determination, worry and fear fueling him, though he hadn't slept in thirty-two hours.

There were only two things on his mind at that moment; the safety of his daughter, and the safety of his ex-wife - the ex-wife he'd never truly stopped loving. He climbed into the elevator and pressed the button for the eighth floor.

"Wait up!" A voice called out, and he heard footsteps running toward the elevator. He begrudgingly put his hand out to stop the doors. A large girl with almost white blond hair who looked about seven years old ran into the small room.

"Thank you. My name's Rose," she said, out of breath, smiling up at Charlie. He gestured with his hand to the buttons next to him.

"6A," she said, and Charlie pressed the button accordingly. His temper was rising faster and faster, and he almost wanted to kill the girl for delaying him. When he finally arrived on the eighth floor, he followed the arrow down the hallway to the right that lead to Ward B.

Reaching his destination, Charlie was led to a room off the side of the main ward. Through the small glass window, he could see the body of a small girl, a body which he automatically recognized as his daughter, though he hadn't seen her in four long years.

She'd grown so much.

Many plastic tubes were attached around her mouth and to her skin, and there were casts covering nearly all of her.

"Where's Renée?" he asked the nurse standing by his side. His eyes didn't stray from his daughter as he asked.

"Renée Dwyer didn't survive the crash. I'm sorry, Sir."

At those words, it seemed as if the blackness that had been surrounding him ever since their divorce consumed him wholly. She had never been gone before. Not really. She would have come back.

She would have come back.

####

"It's going to be okay, Bella," Edward said, smiling reassuringly at her from where he was sitting, his legs crossed under him. She was lying beside him amongst the green grass of the meadow.

Bella could see the worry in Edward's eyes, but she pretended not to notice. Instead, she clasped his hand in hers, which, strangely, wasn't covered in a cast as she remembered. As her eyes skimmed along her body, she realized none of her was covered in cast, and the tubes that had been attached to her skin had disappeared.

People could say she was delusional as much as they wanted, but these special moments with Edward in her dreams were pure bliss compared to the other world.

"How do you know that, Edward?" she asked, worriedly biting her lip to stop herself from bursting into tears.

Edward shifted so that he was on his side and facing her, brow crumpled and head propped up on his bent arm.

"Because I know you, and I know you're going to get better for me, kay?"

"Kay," she responded dreamily. The morphine had made her drowsy - even in this place - and she could feel her eyelids trying to close and her mouth stretch out in a wide yawn.

"Sleep, Bella." His words ran circles around her head as she drifted into the space between her dreams with Edward and painful reality.

####

When she opened her eyes again, it was to a bright white light. Bella quickly realized that she was once again lying in a white hospital bed instead of the magical green meadow she loved.

"Oh, Bella, you're awake!" a voice which seemed vaguely familiar shouted out from beside her. Charlie had large black bags underneath his eyes, and stubble had grown around his jaw from going several days without shaving.

"Dad?" she asked groggily, not entirely sure if he was her father.

"Yes, it's me. It's going to be okay, Bella," he said. She couldn't help but think of a much different voice saying the same words only moments ago. The words pulled her back into unconsciousness, and hopefully closer to the voice she yearned to hear.

####

Even though she was only seven years old, Bella Swan could see changes in her father from the memories she had of him from when she was younger. She had only been three years the last time she'd seen him in person, but she could always remember the sound of rough laughter and the smell of hops that hung on his clothes.

In her new home in Forks, when he wasn't at work, he was moping around the house, a bottle of whiskey either grabbed roughly in his hands or held protectively to his side. Either way, he was never in his right mind. For six months, no housework was even breached in their home.

The laundry was left in large piles on the landing, and the dishes were piled up in the sink so high that she couldn't even reach the top dish when she stood on tippy-toes. The refrigerator was becoming more and more barren and Bella craved for some of the Dino Nuggets that her mom always used to give to her.

Nobody drove her to school, and she had to walk the two miles by herself, usually in the rain. She didn't tell anyone. If a teacher asked, then she'd simply say that she tripped in a puddle on the way to school. The teachers knew how clumsy she was from the many incidents around the classroom and thought nothing of it.

But, six months later, Bella decided that something had to change, and, seeing as it evidently wasn't going to be her father, she knew it would have to be her. From then on, the laundry got washed, the dishes got cleaned, and she was able to find an alarm clock in a dusty drawer, so she could get up in enough time to run for the school bus, instead of missing it every day and having to walk. She even ordered the groceries online with Charlie's credit card, so that she didn't have to submit to the questions asked by the Wal-Mart staff.

Day after day the bags underneath her eyes got heavier and heavier, but she told herself it was worth it as long as her father was not quite so violent toward her, and his drunken rages were now usually kept to one part of the house.

It had taken her a while, but as her New Girl status faded away, she found a friend in Alice Cullen. Alice had short black-brown hair, styled naturally into short, gentle flicks around her face.

It was two years later, that things really changed.

For the last one and a half years, the play dates had all been at Alice's house. Bella liked Alice's house. Her mom was constantly baking and the scent always hung around the house. When they arrived home on the bus after school, there was always something tasty on the kitchen counter to eat while they did their homework. Esme didn't even ask why Charlie never came to collect his daughter, either, she just drove Bella home every day with no questions on the subject.

"Bella?" The two girls were lying on Alice's bed; Bella was finding patterns in the ceiling with her eyes and Alice, until a second ago, had been singing along to her new Hannah Montana CD that her dad had sent her in the post for her birthday. Bella never got birthday presents from her father, but she didn't say anything about it.

"Yeah, Alice?" she asked. Her eyes continued to trace patterns in the ceiling, only half listening to Alice, so she didn't hear the hurt undertone in Alice's voice, hidden beneath the layer of confusion.

"Why do we never go to your house?"

"Uh... I don't know. Do you want to come to my house?" Bella said hoping that Alice would say "no".

"Sure, I'd love to come to your house!" Bella's mind froze as soon as the words escaped her mouth. Alice clapped her hands together.

There's no way this can possibly work...

####

"What am I going to do?" Bella asked Edward that night as she lay in her bed dreaming.

"I don't know, Bella. I really don't know," he said. He looked as worried as Bella felt, and his face was downcast as he gazed at his crossed legs.

"It's going to be okay, Bella," he said, even if he didn't believe it himself.

"You say that a lot."

"Maybe I say it because you need to hear it, Bella." His tone was not abrasive but comforting, and she could feel herself falling backward into unconsciousness once more.

####

"Dad, I'm home!" Bella called out as she opened the front door with the key under the eave, her voice only slightly hushed, Alice just a step behind her. She heard an answering grunt from roughly where his room was, and made a mental note to go up the stairs at the side of the house that lead straight to her bedroom, instead of walking past her father if they decided to go up there.

Bella put her bag down in the hall and walked into the kitchen, expecting Alice to follow suit. When she did, Bella pulled out a carton of milk from the fridge and two glasses from the overhead cabinet, proceeding to pour the milk.

"What do you want to eat?" she asked Alice as she reached down for her glass and turned to look at her. Alice picked up hers and took a small sip from it before answering.

"Err.... do you have any cookies?"

"Sure thing," Bella replied, and reached for the cupboard that held all the tasty snacks that she'd bought especially for her and Alice. Usually, they only had necessities.

She pulled down the chocolate chip cookies and carefully ripped open the new packet. She picked out two cookies and gave one to Alice, saving the other for herself. She lay down her cookie and drink on the table, and then went to get both their bags from the hallway.

She pulled out the books that she was going to need as Alice did the same.

"So... math?" Alice asked. It was the worst subject for both of them, though Alice was still much better than Bella, and they always tried to get it out of the way as soon as possible.

Their homework that night had taken them longer than expected, and Bella's eyes kept returning to the clock every few minutes after six o'clock, knowing that she should've started to make her father's dinner by then. At six-thirty there was a knock on the door followed by another grunt from upstairs.

"Coming!" Bella called toward the door, as she finished writing the last sentence on her English homework and ran to the door.

In the doorway stood Esme, presumably to come and take Alice home.

"Hi, Esme," Bella greeted her with a beaming smile.

"Hi, Bella. Would it be possible for me to see your father? I'd like to thank him for taking care of the both of you for me." Bella felt a sudden surge of belonging that she hadn't really felt before then at the word ‘both.'

"He's not home," Bella replied a little too hurriedly, cursing herself internally for it as soon as the words escaped her lips.

"Yes he is, Bella. He's upstairs, remember?" Alice said obliviously from beside her, her eyebrows creasing together in confusion.

"Oh, yeah. I must've... forgotten."

Esme walked past Bella and into the hallway, looking in the adjacent rooms for Bella's father.

"Dad," Bella called up the stairs. There was another grunt in response. "Ms. Cullen wants to see you!"

She didn't have any idea what was going to happen now, and her fists were clenched in nervousness as she heard the booming steps of her father begin to descend the stairs. The sound was ominous like the beats of a drum that you hear in films set in the medieval ages, as a person walks to their hanging. As expected, the whiskey bottle was in his hand, and his hair and beard were both knotted.

"What do you want?" Charlie slurred, looking drunkenly at Esme.

"Err..." Esme paused, her eyes flashing to Bella's. "I was just wondering if Bella would like to spend the night with Alice tonight." Esme looked at Bella with worry in her eyes, silently asking her to play along.

"Right," Bella added.

"Who's Alice?"

"Alice is my best friend. Remember, I was telling you about her? We go to school together..." she led off, subtly inching herself closer toward the door before her dad's patience broke and he lashed out.

"So, I'll just be going now, Dad, okay?" Bella grabbed her coat from the floor before continuing to walk slowly backward out of her house, as if he was a predator.

"Who's going to cook my fucking dinner?" he yelled out the house, after both Esme and Alice had exited quickly behind her.

Esme and Bella were silent on the way back to the Cullens' house, but Alice was oblivious to the tension and she continued to yap on about the "surprise sleepover" as she put it.

"You head in, Alice. I just want to ask Bella something," Esme said to Alice once they'd arrived.

"Kay," Alice said, and she climbed out before slamming shut the car door. Bella didn't know what Esme was going to ask, but felt nervous about it anyways.

"Bella, was your father serious about cooking dinner for him?" Esme asked, looking intently into Bella's eyes. Knowing she couldn't lie to Esme when she looked at her like that, Bella shook her head "yes".

Esme bit down on her lip, lost in thought. "Okay, Bella, you can go now." Bella rushed in after her friend.