Edward and Bella are a happy married couple expecting their first child when someone lurking from the shadows sets her eyes upon him. Will Edward be able to change what he has become? Will Bella be able to forgive?
2. Edward meets Bella
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Chapter 2 – Edward meets Bella-
I had been stuck in the traffic for almost an hour, I was late for our appointment for dinner. Why did Hania have to choose that specific restaurant on the other side of the city? She knew I had to stay longer for another rehearsal; she heard when Matt our director asked me to play a new carol for our Christmas presentation. We were on a tour with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for the Holliday Season and the show had to be perfect. I had been the leading pianist of the group for three consecutive years and I needed to be disciplined.
How was I supposed to end with our relationship? How on earth did Hania ever get to believe I was going to propose her?
I met Hania and her sister Erin almost seven years ago at the conservatory in Chicago; Hania plays the chello and Erin the violin. Hania and I were good friends and we started dating a year or so ago when we both coincided in the Chicago’s Symphony main orchestra. At the beginning everything was right, I could say I was happy but lately things weren’t working out so well. I can’t deny she is one of the most beautiful girls I’ve ever dated but it didn’t feel right any more, we definitely didn’t belong to each other. That’s why I told her before leaving Chicago that we needed to talk, the phrase anyone wants to hear because it means you’re about to be dumped. How could she misunderstand me? I could picture her perfectly in my mind -there she was with her strawberry blond hair pulled back in a bun, wearing an expensive black dress, waiting for me in one of Seattle’s most exclusive restaurants, wondering about the way I would pop the question. Did I give her the wrong signs? Why are women so complicated? I guess I should’ve known she needed a more formal relationship when she suggested we should move in together, but she should’ve known I wasn’t planning on formalizing when I said no.
Erin called me that morning to tell me about Hania’s guessing. She wanted to know all the details about my supposed proposal.
“What are you talking about?... What ring?... I haven’t bought any ring…. No, no, no; there must be a mistake Erin, a terrible mistake… I’m not a jackass, don’t talk to me that way… You two have a very prolific imagination… Since when telling your girlfriend you need to talk means you want to propose?... Of course I’m not cheating on her, I’ve never had and I never will… Are you threatening me?... I can’t believe this…!”
I was completely sure about breaking up with her, I just didn’t want to do it on Christmas Eve. I had planned of waiting until our return to Chicago but when I found out she believed I was doing just the opposite, I thought of hurrying things a bit. I couldn’t delay it any longer, it would be more painful for her. Am I really a bad guy? I was just trying to be honest. I truly love her, as a friend I guess, and I didn’t want to create false expectations. She deserved better.
My hair was already tangled, I had been messing it up over and over, as I always do when I’m nervous. I turned the stereo on, music helped but not too much. Damn! How was I getting out of that mess alive?
Down town was a complete chaos, but what could I expect? It was Christmas Eve at 10 o’clock and the streets were so congested they looked like enormous parking lots. It seemed as if the whole city was out doing last hour shopping. I had stopped at every corner, reaching all the red lights I could find. Fate was against me. Hania was going to kill me. Hopefully if she did, I would spare the shame of breaking up with her.
Finally, at 9th and Spring Street I saw the first green light of the way. I stepped on the accelerator to get out from the jam, when all of a sudden, a human figure appeared in front of my eyes from nowhere; as if a stampede of crazy zebras had been released from a cell in the nearest zoo. Fortunately, my reflexes were fast and the car’s breaks new. I swirled the steering wheel in an adrenaline rush and heard the tires spinning against the slippery road until the car stopped. I wasn’t sure I had done it on time, for an instant I believed I had killed the zebra. Though I never heard the car’s metal getting dented against the pedestrian, I had to be sure. I got out from the car slowly; the cold breeze hitting my face. I surrounded the car and then I saw her sitting on the frozen pavement looking at me completely confused.
Long brown mahogany hair in a pony tail, pale fair skin and the sweetest chocolate brown eyes I’ve ever seen. I almost killed the most beautiful girl alive. “She must have hit her head” I thought, because she wasn’t moving neither speaking. I approached to help her to stand up; she wasn’t too tall neither too short, just the perfect size. As I came closer, I saw tiny freckles on her nose; she had the face of an innocent sweet girl with a very well shaped woman body.
“Are you alright? Gosh! I thought I was going to kill you!” I screamed at her to distract myself from not very innocent thoughts.
“Yes I am fine thank you!” She answered angrily. “I just lost my last chance to get home for dinner, and I just have to thank you for that!” She added after regaining control of herself.
Seconds and minutes were running and I was losing my chance to get to my appointment too, but who cared? I stood there like an idiot without being able to move, she had hypnotized me somehow. I just couldn’t find the strength to release her hand.
“Me? It was you who crossed the street like a herd of crazy zebras, what were you thinking?” I replied in an attempt of making conversation.
It had been her fault and she knew it, it didn’t last long before laughter escaped from her throat. If angels laugh they surely sound like her. She had the most contagious laughter I’ve ever heard, I couldn’t help laughing too. A lock of her wavy hair escaped from her pony tail so I hurried to remove it away from his bright brown eyes. That movement had been instinctive, as if touch between two strangers were nothing but common. She didn’t move away.
“Let’s start all over again, I’m Edward Masen.” I introduced myself trying to appear so self secure.
“Isabella Swan, nice to meet you. But please call me Bella.” She answered.
“Merry Christmas Bella. I hope you didn’t break a bone or something. At least you’ve recovered the color on your cheeks, I thought you were drained out of blood.” Come on, don’t you have something more intelligent to say? I reproached myself for acting as an inexperienced teenager. What was going on with me? Perhaps it was me who got hit on the head.
I took my coat of and offered it to her, she was completely wet. Then I helped her to pick up what was left of her groceries.
“I’m sorry you’re about to miss dinner because of me, please let me drive you home, it’s the least I could do.” I offered, forgetting about the woman that was already waiting for me in some restaurant’s table. I was a jackass as Erin had called me.
“Thank you, but I don’t take rides with strangers…” She mocked me. “No, seriously, you don’t need to; Jacob is waiting for me at the bus station at Renton and…”
Bad news, there was a Jacob, a boy friend or husband; someone waiting for her. I eyed her left hand and to my surprise there wasn’t a ring on her finger. Why did that ever bother me? She was a complete stranger and being jealous was beyond ridiculous.
“Oh, I see. Your boyfriend should take care better of you. There are lots of lunatics as myself around here, you know.”
“Oh no, Jacob is not my…, never mind. I guess I’ll accept your proposal, but only to the next bus station, I’ll catch my bus there.” She assured me. Ten points for me, she accepted my offering.
“Your wishes are my orders young lady.” I hurried to answer before she regretted her decision. Come on Edward, get a grip, you still have a girlfriend, my inner voice told me.
I opened the car’s door for her and helped her in. Once inside I noticed her fabulous scent, it was unbelievable. I could distinguish her scent in a room crowded with people, she was delicious. The stereo was still on, inside was a CD I had recorded to memorize the tune of the carol I was playing the next day.
“Do you enjoy music Bella?” I asked her to avoid an awkward silence between us. I never meant to show off about my musical skills of course, after a life time of playing for people I was still shy about it. She seemed a little nervous; obviously she wasn’t used to taking rides with strangers. I saw she was drying the sweat out of her hands with her scarf. She was so funny and tender, she reminded me of a sweet little girl who had been mischievous.
“Of course, I do if you do.” She replied. Another ten points for me, I was making her nervous. “You never heard that…” You still have the touch you bastard, my inner voice again. I couldn’t help smirking, she was so innocent.
“Yeah, classical music is great. Who is playing?” Bella inquired. Unfortunately, the next bus station was only two blocks away so it didn’t take us too long to get there. Where are traffic jams when you need them? I wouldn’t have cared to stay stuck with her in the same spot for another hour. Too bad, she seemed very nice. I hurried to open her door and helped her out. Was there disappointment in her eyes or was I just dreaming? It didn’t matter anyway, I was a middle eastern guy and she a western girl.
“Well Bella, it’s been a pleasure. Make sure you get home safely. Merry Christmas, hope you still get home on time.” I told her while my mind was begging me to ask her for her phone number.
“Thank… thank you Edward, the pleasure has been all mine. Take care, merry Christmas.”
I was deciding between shaking hands or a merry Christmas-good bye hug, when I heard a male voice calling her. Bella returned me my coat and crossed the street to meet with the guy. Standing in front of a black Beetle was this bloke with black long hair and tanned skin, a native American; his developed muscles made him look like a sack of swollen potatoes. He glanced at me distrustfully and extended his arms to her. She melted with him in an embrace. I was furious. I rushed to my car in an attempt of not making a fool out of me with some sort of a jealous scene. I was being completely ridiculous; she was just a girl I just had met half an hour ago. I watched them through the rear view mirror as they got inside the car without achieving to hide my chagrin.
I suddenly remembered the big trouble I was in. Hania was waiting for me and I was still far away from the scheduled setting. I stepped the accelerator as I regained control of myself. Forty five minutes later, I parked the car and gave the keys to the guy of the valet. I took my coat from the passenger’s seat and I realized that Bella had left her belongings underneath it. I kept her bag in the trunk despite the immense curiosity I felt; perhaps there was an address I could look for. Masen stop being a bastard! You’re about to break up with your girlfriend and you’re already planning on going after someone else you just met!
At the restaurant, the waiter guided me to the table. Hania was stunning for saying the least, indeed one of the most beautiful women I’ve laid my eyes on; if only I could love her the same way as she did. She didn’t welcome me with arms wide opened, patience wasn’t one of her biggest qualities; never the less, she smiled as soon as she saw me arriving. OK, this is it, don’t ruin it any farther Masen, say what you need to say, don’t be rude, and DON’T mention Bella! That was my inner voice again or my self preservation instinct, who knows.
After telling Hania what I needed to say, things didn’t turn out very well. She stood up from the chair, grabbed her glass of red wine and threw it to me; she didn’t even cry, she didn’t say a single word. That was the least I could expect for dumping my girlfriend on Christmas Eve when she was expecting a marriage proposal. I paid the bill and left the restaurant alone. When I got to the hotel the bell boy told me that Hania and Erin had abandoned their room and were heading to the airport. Thankfully they weren’t scheduled for the next day presentation.
I went to my room to think about what I’d done. I lay on my bed and stared at the ceiling when a noise interrupted, it was my stomach, I was starving. I decided to drive to clear my thoughts and find something decent to eat, when the scent of the beautiful stranger entered through my nostrils as I opened the car’s door. My mind was clear. I needed to look for her, but where should I start? I remembered she said something about Renton, but I would spend the night knocking at every door without finding her. I decided to follow the easy way; I opened the trunk and started searching inside Bella’s bag. There wasn’t a wallet, just a heavy copy of Harrison’s Internal Medicine text book, a wrinkled scrub and a stethoscope with her name engraved in one of the wires –Dr. Swan-. There were more than a dozen hospitals in Seattle, but it wasn’t hard for me to figure out that the one I was looking for was near the spot where we had met.
I parked the car outside Virginia Mason Medical Center, I walked through the crowded emergency room and asked for Bella to the first person I came across. She was tall and slim and was wearing a scrub with a red nose reindeer stamped in the breast pocket. Her brown eyes shone behind her glasses as soon as she saw me approaching.
“Good night, I’m so sorry for disturbing you. I’m looking for Dr. Swan.” I told the girl, already knowing that she wouldn’t be there. She gave me a skeptical coquettish look and it took her a while to answer.
“I’m a friend, I just want to deliver her bag, she left it in my car. I’m Edward Masen by the way.” I told her with my most seductive voice.
“Mmm, I’m Dr. Weber; please call me Angela. I’m sorry but Bella has the day off. She won’t come back until the 26th.” She answered with a smile, she was trying to flirt with me. Cullen stop it, you can’t keep using women like this. I ignored my inner voice and continued flirting with the girl to get the information I needed to know.
“What a shame, I was wondering if you could give this to her. Please tell her that I would love to see her again.” I gave Dr. Weber the bag and began walking defeated to the exit when I remembered I had a pair of tickets for the Christmas Concert in my coat’s pocket. I went back to Dr. Weber who was still staring at me.
“I know I am a complete pain in the back, but could you please give these tickets to Dr. Swan? I was hoping she could go to Seattle Concert Hall tomorrow night, we’re giving this Christmas special presentation. Tell her I’ll play for her. You’re invited of course.”
Dr. Weber just kept staring without finding the connection between her brain and her mouth.
“Sure, thanks. I’ll call her when I finish my shift. I guess I’ll see you later Edward.”
As I walked out I could see she rushed to make a phone call. I knew for sure who she was calling to. Bingo! It had been so easy to track her.
On my way to the car, a tangle of red curly hair caught my sight. A tall pale woman with an expressionless face was staring at me; she was standing alone in the middle of the parking lot, as if she were waiting for me to come out. I couldn’t stop the shivering in my spine, she gave me the creeps; there are lots of lunatics around. Befuddled, I got inside the car and drove to the hotel thinking only about seeing Bella again.