It has been 17 years since Isabella Swan's death, and young Adora has moved to Forks igniting gossip everywhere she turns. As Adora slowly unravels the clues that lead her down a path riddled with even more questions, she begins to realize that it seems to be more than coincidence, drawing her farther away from the life she knows, and into a world, she does not understand. The closer she gets to the truth, the more her own destiny becomes irrevocably entwined with the girl that haunts the small town. She wonders why everything that's happening revolves around the mysterious Edward Cullen, and why he seems to hold the key to the answers she's spent a lifetime searching for.
I consider this story to be pretty much the unofficial 5th installment of the Twilight Series, it takes place after Breaking Dawn, it is 100% canon, which means that it does NOT deviate from the storyline of the books, although in the first few chapters it doesn't seem like it is anything close to being like the original Twilight series, but trust me, it is.
3. The Mysterious Edward Cullen
Rating 4/5 Word Count 9884 Review this Chapter
I shut my door, nearly slamming it as I stormed into my room. My mom and I were still arguing over the night before, when she'd woken to the sound of a blood curdling scream piercing the air, coming from my room. I had been sobbing uncontrollably when she'd rushed to my side, taking me in her arms, trying to sooth me, murmuring that I'd just had a bad dream. That wasn't the case at all, it had been wonderful! I had never felt so whole in all my life, I had never felt so wanted, so cherished, the way I had when those eyes had been with me in my dream, holding me in a place where I finally belonged. I had been warm, I had been alive, and I had been loved in a way that I had never been before. I had been home.
It wasn't until the end, when the terror had seized me, and my whole being felt as if it were screaming, trying to hold on desperately to that perfectly sweet gaze, the eyes of an angel, being stolen, ripped cruelly away, that's when the dream had morphed into the nightmare that had woken us both. I hadn't even realized I'd fallen asleep at first, and when I finally did, the sobs renewed themselves into something much harsher because it had been so real, I had wanted it to be real. It had scared my mom to see me that way. I knew she was only worried about me, but she didn't understand, she couldn't, and that had suddenly made me feel so unbearably alone. I was alone. Those golden eyes had left me and taken part of me with them, they had taken what little sense of peace I'd gained and shredded it before my eyes with their departure.
I turned the lock on my door, and stomped to my computer. I was in a foul, sour mood. I clicked the mouse and the screen saver evaporated. The diary entry I'd begun that morning after she'd finally left me alone appeared. I sucked in an angry breath and gritted my teeth when I heard her footsteps outside my door.
"Adora?" She called softly. "Please talk to me." She pleaded.
"I don't want to talk about it anymore." I yelled, turning my face to the door to let the full impact of my words hit, before returning my eyes to my computer to continue my electronic griping over earlier that morning. I was angry. I probably should have been more confused, but at that very moment I was cursing some unseen power for letting me feel such peace only to take it away. I heard her leave and let out the breath I'd been holding, feeling suddenly guilty. We hadn't screamed at each other the way we had been doing all day, since before the divorce. She wanted to know what was wrong, and I couldn't tell her because I didn't even know. I let my eyes flicker to my keyboard beside me. I had considered trying to recreate the song from my dreams, but somehow I knew I wouldn't be able to. Something told me it wasn't mine to play, and yet, it was mine, it had been written for me, as if someone had painted my soul with the notes in the air. I tried to compose myself. Mrs. Cheney would be arriving any minute, as she'd promised my mother and me on her previous visit, and this time she was bringing her family.
A half hour later, I was sitting beside my mother at the small kitchen table; we were both leaning slightly away from one another, compromising a silent truce for the sake of our company. Mrs. Cheney sat across from her, her husband Ben between them at one end of the table, their son Matt beside me at the other end and their daughter Izzy between him and their mother. Jake was under the table at my feet, with his head on his paws, listening silently to our conversation. My eyes flickered to Mr. Cheney, remembering how his face had paled slightly when I'd finally appeared at the bottom of the stairs to greet them all as they entered the front door, while my mother took their jackets. It had been drizzling lightly outside, and slight chill had flushed their faces, but his had inexplicably been drawn into ghostly whiteness at the sight of me. I wondered if he'd only come along for the show, suspecting that whatever she had told him about me, hadn't prepared him in the slightest way for actually seeing me. I felt like a zoo exhibit on display whenever I got that reaction, or like a scary movie someone watched anyway, knowing that it was going to scare the begeezus out of them.
It seemed to be only the adults that were frightened of me. Izzy and Matt had smiled at me warmly, the way their mother did after her initial shock had worn off, before they finally took note of their father's reaction. They didn't seem surprised; in fact, it was if they'd expected him to respond that way. Mr. Cheney caught me off guard too in a sense. He was so much shorter than his wife, who towered over him it seemed, and unlike her peach complexion, his was pale, with slightly slanting eyes cluing me to his obviously Asian genetics. Izzy and Matt were both a lot like their mother, in more ways than one. They had their mothers brown hair, and height, although Izzy was just a hair shorter than her father. They were polite, warm, and quiet; Matt more so than Izzy. She seemed to have a better ability to converse than he did, making me surprisingly excited. Not with the talking fact, more of what she talked about.
After the preliminary introductions- Mr. Cheney had been reluctant at first, we'd all settled around the table. Mrs. Cheney, who asked me to please call her Angela, commented kindly on the changes to the house that my mother had made. That propelled them both into a long discussion about the nearly run down state it seemed to have been in before. That's when Izzy randomly blurted out the words that had both startled and excited me.
"This is Chief Swan's old house." I'd frozen at that. Swan? As in having the same last name as we did? I must have said it out loud. Izzy laughed. "I know isn't it weird?" I was glad to see that she didn't seem to take any connection we had with the previous owner too seriously, not the way her parents had. They both stiffened slightly and exchanged a glance with some emotion I couldn't decipher. My mom blinked for a moment then seemed to realize something.
"I remember the woman I spoke to on the phone before I purchased it mentioned something about the last names being the same." She admitted. Now she was telling me?
"Why'd he move?" I asked furrowing my brows, suddenly very interested.
"Oh it was years ago." Mrs. Cheney waved off. "The house has been vacant for quite a while." I bit my lip.
"Why?" I whispered. Izzy was about to answer but her father cut her a sharp look and she pressed her lips together in chagrin.
"He got remarried." He explained, it was the first time he'd spoken since their arrival. "He has grandchildren now, and decided that a bigger house would be best." I nodded softly, it wasn't what I was really asking, and I had meant for them to explain why it had taken so long for someone to buy the house. I shrugged, meeting his eyes for a moment. We both looked away quickly after a strange tension flooded between us.
"He's due to retire in a couple of years." Mrs. Cheney smiled warmly. "I'm sure he'd be delighted to meet you if you'd like." My face must have shown my horror in that statement because she laughed. "Socially of course, I don't suspect you'll be getting into much trouble around here." My mother had laughed at that.
"No, of course not." She almost sounded nervous. I frowned, had our earlier argument made her doubt my incorruptibility.
"He's a sweet man." Mrs. Cheney continued. "Very simple." A sad smile suddenly touched her and then her eyes rose to meet mine. "He had a daughter, who lived here with him for a few years when Mr. Newton, Ben and I were both younger. She was one of my close friends." My brows rose. Was? "She looked a little like you." She offered. Looked?
"More than a little." Mr. Cheney mumbled under his breath, but not low enough for me to miss it. I looked at him sharply; he seemed bothered by that fact. That suddenly explained a lot. All the strange reactions the three of them had upon seeing me for the first time. Their horrified faces flashed in my mind. I wondered silently to myself, how much I must have resembled the girl to cause that kind of a response from each of them.
Mrs. Cheney looked away briefly, before she let her eyes pull back around to touch my face. Her look had almost been…nostalgic? "The eyes though." She pressed her lips together tightly for a moment. "Yours are lighter, Bella had brown eyes." My brows shot up.
"Bella?" I whispered my voice slightly strangled.
"Isabella Swan." The name passed her lips and I was blindsided by an image of my own reflection with brown eyes. My mom gasped. The similarities were getting better all the time it seemed.
"That's very fascinating!" She rushed turning wide eyes to me.
"Why?" It was Izzy who finally spoke again. I locked eyes with her, of course she didn't understand.
"Isadora…Swan." I raised my hand up slightly as if announcing to a teacher that I was present for class. It almost made me roll my eyes at how well that little piece of evidence went over across her face. I should have been getting used to that reaction.
"That's your name, for real?" Matt had finally spoken; shooting forward in the chair that he had been leaning back in. It didn't startle me as much as the question silenced me; my emotions, my thoughts. I didn't take it as an insult; I didn't really know how to take it. I just raised a brow at him silently. I'm sure it looked haughty, but I didn't care. My mom decided then to embarrass me.
"She likes to go by Kate, using her middle name, but she's always been my little Adora." She'd hugged my shoulder affectionately. Izzy grinned at me sympathetically, and that made me smile. At least someone felt my pain.
"What are you going to go by, at school next week?" Mrs. Cheney inquired politely, thankfully shifting the topic away from the girl I resembled. "In case I have you in class." That caught me.
"Junior English." I chewed on that.
"Maybe we'll have class together." Izzy smirked with a wry look. I looked at Matt and he seemed to have caught my meaning.
"I'm a senior." He muttered.
"Sweet." I nodded. "One more year and you're free." He smiled at that. Mrs. Cheney looked amused. Mr. Cheney however, still looked uncomfortable from our previous exchange. "I prefer Kate," I said finally answering her question. "But Adora will be easier to go by, since that's why my mom calls me." I sighed.
The conversation then extended between my mother and Mrs. Cheney, talking about the Faculty and Administration, the body count.
"The school's changed a lot since I went there." Mrs. Cheney chuckled. "They've added on to it, a whole new building." She grinned proudly. "They're expecting almost 500 students this year."
"Oh!" My mother sounded surprised and a bit excited. "Is that a lot?"
"It's the biggest growth in the student body we've had in years. It was just around 350 when I went, it's grown steadily. We hit a growth spurt this year it seems, seeing as how it's the only high school here in Forks." She murmured.
"Adora, you'll make a lot of friends this year." My mom's tone was hopeful.
"Shouldn't be too hard." I let a smile touch my face and my mother was content. I offered Izzy and Matt up to my room, to allow our parents some time to talk alone. Matt declined, respectfully, but Izzy was already pushing away from the table.
It was a bit devious, on my part, seeing as how my true motives were to squeeze a few more answers out of the girl, and from the way she'd seemed to bite her tongue through most of our conversation, I was assuming she had a lot of them. Not that she wasn't nice and all, but I was running circles in my head with questions, and she was obviously up for spilling the gossip. My room was dark when we entered; the only light illuminating our surroundings was the glare of my computer screen and the moonlight softly filtering in through the double set of windows. The darkness didn't seem to bother her as she strode purposefully across the room as I waited for Jake to follow me through before shutting the door, so I didn't bother with the lights, I wasn't sure I wanted her to see my face anyway. She might realize my plan.
"So, uh…how long have you lived in Forks?" I murmured offhandedly, eyeing her as I plucked at the dangling strings at the waist of my pants. She was bent down at one of my book shelves, her eyes scanning the titles, but she sent me a playful glare smiling suspiciously.
"All my life." She shrugged. "But I'm sure that's not what you really want to know." She turned back to the shelves but the smile was still there. Ah. She wasn't stupid, that was rude on my part. I watched Jake jump up on the bed, curling into a spotted pinwheel in the middle before my eyes slid back to hers.
"I'm curious…" I began but she didn't look at me.
"So am I." I stopped toying with the strings of my sweatpants.
"Are you all related to the Swans?" I stared blankly at her. "The ones who lived here before I mean." I chewed on my bottom lip the way I did when I mulled over something.
"No." I blinked. "I don't think so."
"You sure?" She pressed finally looking at me pointedly.
"Yes." I nodded with finality. She watched me carefully for a moment.
"I was just making sure, because when my mom came home the other night, she seemed…" She let it trail off.
"Troubled?" I grinned, I couldn't help it.
"Something like that." She tilted her head to the side as she straightened. "I think you look like Bella a lot more than she and my dad made it sound." She crossed her arms and leaned against the shelf with a small smile.
"I think so too." I nodded. "His face…"
"It was practically ghostly when you walked in." Izzy's expression didn't change, she still looked slightly amused.
"You don't sound worried." I pointed out and she shook her head.
"I've seen them both that way before." She shrugged. I wasn't the only person who elicited that kind of reaction then?
"Before?" I blinked at her blankly.
"Once." She let an uneasy smile curve her lips. "A few weeks ago." She frowned now. I tried to decipher her look but it was almost pained.
"Why?" I almost hated to ask.
"Same premise really." She shrugged. "But where as you look like Bella, they swear he's the exact same person." That made my face change finally.
"He?" It was the ghost of a whisper.
"Edward Cullen." My stomach jerked as if I'd been punched, the wind being knocked out of me, my chest felt as if it had collapsed under some great pressure a dull ache where my heart was supposed to be and I was suddenly flooded with same paralyzing grief that had stricken me at the end of my dream. I gasped, flattening my palms to my abdomen and chest. "Are you ok?" She asked straightening slowly, her eyes wide. I nodded, whipping a hand across my forehead to brush the hair that had fallen in my eyes quickly away.
"Yeah." My voice trembled slightly as the feeling left as quickly as it came. "I don't know what that was." I furrowed my brows, walking awkwardly over to sit on the edge of my bed. Jake groaned when he felt the mattress dip from my weight, and I patted his side reassuringly. "Must have been a cramp." I lied. Her face looked doubtful; still, she let it slide.
"Ok." She nodded, settling herself back against the shelf. I frowned at myself. What had caused that?
"Who's Edward Cullen?" His name felt oddly memorable on my tongue. I searched my memory. "I think I've heard his name somewhere." No, I hadn't, I was sure, but it sounded familiar.
"He went to school with my mom too." She wasn't smiling now.
"Oh." I frowned. "He's her age?"
"Should be." Her tone was offhanded. That made me freeze. Should be? I said the unspoken question out loud in the same tone that I had thought it.
"Should be?" She smiled wickedly at me, realizing that I'd caught her meaning.
"Should be." She repeated before mumbling something I didn't quite catch. "He's in our grade." Her tone was offhanded, like she could have cared less as she went to the window, shivering slightly after a few seconds had passed. I thought on her answer. Obviously she was insinuating that there had been another Edward Cullen. Well, they say everyone has a twin out in the world somewhere… I thought lightly.
"Family resemblance?" I offered with a shrug.
"That would explain you." She laughed but there wasn't really amusement in it as she turned to relax against the window pane, arms crossed again. "Him…not so much." She made a face.
"Dead ringer huh?" I half smiled.
"Well, one of those words definitely fits." She finally smiled but it was secretive. She looked at me squarely. "The Edward Cullen my parents knew supposedly died." She looked like she was searching my face. What was she expecting me to look like? I laughed at the absurdness of her intent when I realized it.
"You think we're both ghosts?" I touched a finger to my brow shaking my head trying to will myself into not sound like I was laughing at her.
"No." Her eyes narrowed.
"I'm sorry." I apologized holding up my hands in defense. "But the way you said it…" I was still laughing to myself quietly.
"My parents were- are, a little freaked out." She explained painfully, there was the worry I was searching for. "The odds of two people showing up in the same year, looking just like both of them." My amusement faded quickly. It was suddenly all too aware of what she'd said and how she'd said it.
"Both of them?" I swallowed hard.
"Bella was Edwards's wife." Oh. I felt dazed suddenly. I must have made a noise because she was watching me, almost warily this time. "Are you sure you're ok? You're looking kind of…green." She grimaced when she said it. "Then again, it's kind of dark, so I can't really tell." I took a deep breath and leaned across my mattress, inciting Jake to begin wagging his tail wildly which in turn smacked me in the face. I cringed and fumbled around, searching for the string to the lamp on one of the bedside tables, clicking the bulb on quickly when I found it, flooding the room with light before turning back to her. She blinked at me, and we were both silent for a moment.
"Do you think I look like her?" I whispered. She made a face.
"I never met her; she died before I was born." My eyes flickered across her face. She looked like she was trying to remember something. They were both dead? I looked like a dead girl, and there was a boy running around who resembled her dead husband? I couldn't decide whether that information intrigued me or bothered me. "I've seen pictures of her before." She shrugged. "I can see the resemblance, long dark hair, pale skin, petite." She furrowed her brows. "I wouldn't notice any specifics." She murmured. "I bet my mom would." She offered. "But I wouldn't ask her." She warned. "Bella's kind of a touchy subject. She used to talk about her a lot when I was younger, but since Chief Swan moved, the topic's kind of been off limits. I'm not sure why." She mused. I stared at my bare feet for a moment. "She named me after her." That made my face whip up to meet hers, searching for any sign that she was kidding, but no, she definitely was not. "Izzy." She said her name pointedly as if to explain. "Isabella." I made a small 'o' with my lips.
"Your mom said they were close friends." I remembered it as I said it.
"Yeah." She nodded. "Even though Bella only came to Forks in the middle of her junior year, Mom says they got along great immediately." Something seemed to amuse her. "Then again, it's hard to not like my mom." I grinned at that. Mrs. Cheney was spectacularly nice I'd observed from our brief first encounter. She looked at me curiously for a moment. "You're going to be junior this year right?" She already knew that. We had talked about it downstairs. I had the strange feeling she was reminding me. I nodded. "That's kind of…I don't know, a little weird I guess. Bella moved here her junior year, you moved her your junior year." She balanced her observation visibly in the palms of her hands as if they were a scale and she was weighting the two.
"Edward Cullen moved here his junior year too?" I asked.
"No." She frowned. "Well…this year he did. Before…he'd been here for two years before Bella." I narrowed my eyes suspiciously at her.
"You talk like he's the same person." I observed.
"My mom and dad are convinced that he is." She said pointedly. I was silent for a minute.
"You said that he and Bella were married?" I brought us back around to the statement that had stunned me the most.
"Yeah." She nodded. "My grandpa was the minister at their wedding and my mom and dad were invited." She said softly. "Mom said she'd never seen two people so in love with each other." That took my breath away for a minute.
"Really?" I whispered.
"Yeah, mom used to tell me how they were inseparable once they started dating." She frowned suddenly. "Then his family moved away for a few months, and Bella acted like he'd died." I raised a brow.
"But they came back?" I asked in confusion.
"The whole thing was really weird." She shrugged looking down at her fingers. "They both acted like nothing had happened when he returned, like they picked up right where they left off." She looked at me. "He came back in the middle of their senior year. They were married a few weeks after graduation." I raised a brow.
"So young?" I made a face.
"My mom and dad got married a year later." She shrugged. "But nothing about their relationship was normal, so that's not a fair comparison. They never had a typical teenage infatuation, Mom says it was always like real love with them." She sighed. "Kids tend to marry young here in Forks." She grinned. "There are only two things to do after high school here, go off to college…or get married."
"I take it you're not planning on the second option." I laughed.
"Heck no!" She laughed. "As soon as my diploma's in my hand, I'm out of here." I smiled.
"You don't like Forks?" I asked teasingly.
"It's not that I don't like it…I just want to do more with my life than settle down here." I nodded. I understood what she meant, but if you're heart was here…
We were quiet, I caught the sound of quiet laughter from down stairs, and the mood had evidently lightened since our departure. "Did they stay in Forks after they were married?" I asked suddenly looking at her. She frowned.
"They were only married for like…two years." She said it carefully. That made me look at her with shocked confusion.
"They divorced?" I gasped. She frowned.
"No." She said it softly. "She died." She whispered.
"Oh." This time the understanding was in my voice. How sad? Only two years of wedded bliss? Maybe it was better than the way my parents had ended up, then again…maybe not. "How'd she die?" I asked it softly looking down, almost fearfully. Was her death something that would tie us even closer together?
"Car crash." That made me look up sharply. "Wow you look relieved right now." She giggled. I wasn't seeing the funny side to this.
"Well gee," I rolled my eyes. "With all this talk of dead people who look like me, who lived in this house before me, I wonder why?" I retorted.
"They weren't here in Forks." She shook her head suddenly. "It happened while they were on Vacation in Europe. Kind of a romantic tragedy" I was silent. "Mom was really…distraught when she heard; she hadn't seen her in a long time." I furrowed my brows and she caught the silent question. "They lived outside of town after they were married." She explained. Still… she and Mrs. Cheney had been close friends but she hadn't at least…visited? "They ran into them a few times in Port Angeles." I saw a flash of something silver but it wasn't clear, it didn't make sense. Again I was confused and she must have noticed. She seemed to think my confusion was something she could explain. "It's a slightly bigger city north of here. It's where we go to shop." That was nice to know, but I hadn't really been asking for the information. I brushed her explanation aside.
"So, did they have a funeral here in Forks?" I whispered softly, wondering why I was suddenly so curious.
"Yeah." She nodded. "Bella's death touched a lot of people, or so I'm told." She sounded exasperated. "The gossip spreads quickly in a town like this; and it carries over, even in our generation, you can't escape from hearing about the heartbreak her death caused." That made her frown, looking down at her feet for a very long moment. I stood slowly, reaching out to touch her arm and her eyes seemed to focus again. "It wasn't the funeral itself that really…" She trailed off this time. I chewed on my bottom lip, letting the words turn over. Bella had been the only one who'd died in the crash, I knew that much obviously, but the heartbreak? Oh….romantic tragedy. The realization hit me.
"And Edward?" My lips didn't feel like they were moving right when they said it.
"He blamed himself." She muttered sourly. "Her remains were too…distorted to hold an open casket." She cringed. "No one really ever says whether he was driving the car or not, I'm not sure they even know." She sighed and sifted her weight awkwardly. "But mom swears that if there is one thing that she will never forget in her entirely long life, no matter how far modern medicines are able to stretch us, it's the look on his face as he carried the casket at the funeral." I shuddered. "It was…dead, like losing her had killed him too. His expression, it was just so…" I touched her arm again to make her stop. She didn't need to explain anymore. I wasn't sure my legs would hold if she did. That made my eyes go wide, why was this story affecting me this way?
"You said he died too?" My vision swam for a minute. Why was I even pushing this? She didn't answer me and that made me look up at her. He mouth was pressed into a hard tight line. "Izzy?" I realized that was the first time I'd said her name. Her eyes rose slowly, and they were raw suddenly.
"I've heard people refer to similar deaths the same way before, but they were all old, and frail, their bodies unable to handle the stress of the loss of someone they loved so much." She shook her head as if shaking off a bad dream. I nodded and put the pieces together.
"He died of a broken heart?" I murmured understanding finally the full weight of the tragedy of it all. She gave a barely visible nod.
I nodded numbly. I didn't understand why I was so upset by the news now. "I know this story well...almost too well." That made me look at her, she looked rather pale herself, almost remorseful. Bitter. "It's our own little romantic tragedy story here in Forks. Like a scary story you make up and tell kids to warn them about their choices, except…this one's real." Her smile was hollow when it slid in place. "Everybody knows the story, nobody talks about it really." I nodded numbly again. "I just thought you should know, in case you get anymore funny looks, so you'd know why." She explained. "I didn't mean to upset you I just…" I turned then and leaned to take up a seat beside her against the window, finally cutting off her words.
"Thank you." I looked at her earnestly. "I really do appreciate it." She smiled then.
"No problem." Her voice was still a hollow whisper.
"I hate to ask you to keep talking about this." I began and she looked at me. "But if I better understand the whole thing, maybe I'll be able to sympathize better with the people I startle." I murmured. She nodded understanding. "How old were they?"
"They were both 21." She tilted her head to the side. "Funny," But her voice held no humor to match the word, it was cold. "His funeral was an open casket, and the people who were there said he didn't look like he'd aged a day since high school."
"Some people don't seem to age." I shrugged. "My mom's always looked young for her age." I murmured. "My dad says she passed for a teenager even when she was getting close to thirty." She didn't say anything; we were both just sitting in silence for a few minutes.
"Why isn't your dad here?" I wasn't expecting that question.
"Divorce." I shrugged.
"Is that why you thought I meant divorce when I said they were only married for two years?" I knew who she meant. I nodded.
"Probably." I muttered. "When you're parents separate, your whole idea of happily ever after goes out the window." I shrugged.
"He's still wherever you moved here from?" She asked softly.
"No, my mom and I moved to- don't laugh when I tell you this." She gave me a funny look. "We moved to a place called Spoons after the divorce. My dad and my brother Jared stayed in Chicago." I offered the information. She laughed anyway.
"I know you warned me." She grinned still giggling. "But from Chicago to Spoons to Forks huh? Who made that decision?" She was grinning now. If I didn't take anything else good from Spoons, at least I knew I had a conversation lightener.
"My mom." I sighed. "I thought she was joking at first."
"I would have too." She laughed again. "It is pretty ironic." She admitted.
"I know." I grinned.
"And as an English teacher's daughter, I have a pretty good grasp on irony." She smirked and I smiled.
"True." I laughed. There was suddenly silence again, but at least it wasn't as somber.
"So…you have a brother." She began. "How old is he?"
"You miss him?" She rose away from the window rubbing her arms. I guessed that she was cold.
"Yeah, he's my buddy." I grinned. "I got lucky, we get along real well." She grinned.
"Matt and I get along…sometimes." I laughed at that.
"He's a senior." I mused out loud to myself. "And you'll be a junior like me." She nodded. "Is there anyone else in our grade with parents who might, look at me funny?" I slightly closed one eye as I made a face.
"Kyle and Garret Yorkie. They're twins. Their dad knew Bella." I nodded. "They'll be sophomores." I looked at her slowly.
"This must be a small town." I grinned. "Do you know everybody?"
"Pretty much." That made me grimace, everyone would know me. "I'm sure Mrs. Tanner has already heard the news." I didn't bother to ask, I knew Izzy too well already, to know that she would explain it to me. "She was good friends with Bella like my mom. I think her maiden name is Stanley or something like that." Her face brightened suddenly. "Oh I hope someone told Ms. Mallory." She looked mischievous. "She'll freak out!" She sounded happy about this.
"I take it she knew Bella too?" That was first time I'd said the name.
"Knew her, yes, but they weren't friends." Again I didn't bother. "She hated Bella. Actually, I'm sure she just hates everyone." She finished with a laugh
"I take it you don't like Ms. Mallory?" I grinned up at her.
"I think she's a bi-" She immediately threw a hand over her mouth and giggled. "Sorry." She offered a muffled apology. "I've been trying to keep my dislike for her in check, per my mother's request." I waved it off.
"I don't care." I sighed. "So, why didn't she like Bella?" I asked.
"Did you just hear what I said?" She asked with an amused laugh I waved it off.
"No, I mean, was there something in particular she dislike about her, or does she just pretty much hate everyone equally?" I smiled.
"I'm pretty sure she just hates everyone equally, but there was a reason she hated Bella more." I waited, sure that she would explain. "All the girls who weren't friends with Bella probably hated her, not because they really disliked her. They all, including Ms. Mallory, had a thing for Edward Cullen." It wasn't that bad this time, when I felt the knot in my stomach jerk and the ache in my chest from the pressure his name induced there.
"Why would that make them hate her?" I raised a curious brow.
"Um, because he was supposedly gorgeous, and no one could get his attention, even though they all tried." She said it as if I should have known. "And from the moment Bella walked in the school, she was all he looked at." So it had been love at first sight? Had it been the same for her, I wondered. That made the story all the more tragic. I sighed. It was a modern day romantic tragedy.
"So, what made this whole crazy thing so interesting to you?" I eyed her. She looked bemused as if she didn't understood what I meant. "I'm just assuming, because you seem to know so much and you told me…"
"Like I said," She shrugged. "I thought you deserved to know. I figured getting odd looks all the time and not knowing why might start to get a little old after a while." She surmised. I nodded. If not old, then definitely irritating.
"Still…my…connection to Bella, the house…" I motioned around my room. "And my resemblance to her, and then the boy who everyone thinks is Edward Cullen…it seems to be more than gossip to you." I observed. She contemplated for a moment before she answered.
"Two people," She began. "Randomly showing up within a month of each other, that both look totally like a couple that died 17 years ago?" She said it as if I didn't understand the importance of the situation, then she floored me. "Too science fiction to resist." She grinned. I burst out laughing.
"Too science fiction?" I asked still laughing.
"I couldn't resist seeing for myself." She shrugged casually but she looked excited. "I'd always hoped that some strange phenomenon would come crashing into Forks and stir a little life in it, ya know?" She grinned impishly. I had to laugh some more.
"I can't really complain about it not being science fiction enough, considering all the warm welcomes I've received." I grinned and she laughed this time. "I almost feel sorry for the poor guy." I grinned smiling warmly.
"Who?" She asked perplexed.
"The ghost of Edward Cullen." I teased. "I bet he's just as confused by all of this as I was." She looked at me. "I'm sure he doesn't have the luxury of having people explain it to him." She thought about that.
"I don't know." She looked at me funny. "You probably didn't know about the coincidence when you moved in, but the Cullen house has been empty for years." She said it softly and shuddered visibly. "They never sold it, they all just moved away." She looked like she'd just thought of something. "I don't remember hearing that the Cullen's had any biological children." She shrugged finally. "That's where he's living now, with his family…again" This time I was pretty sure she was teasing me. "So he probably knows the history."
"Has anyone seen his family?" I asked.
"Not yet, but if they don't end up looking like a bunch of strangers the way your mom does, then I'm sure the gossip will fly faster than it ever has before." She looked more disturbed by that thought than excited.
"I'm not sure what you mean." I furrowed my brows.
"I mean, if they all look the same too." She explained.
"I'm sure that there would be ways to explain the resemblance if they did." I tried my explanation but even I wasn't buying it.
"It was a big family." She said skeptically. I filed that information away. "I highly doubt anyone has the ability to pass on exact duplicate genetic traits of that many people."
"Highly unlikely, but possible." I offered.
"Yeah, but a whole family, that's identical?" I paused. She had me there.
"Wouldn't that fit into the realm of science fiction?" I teased.
"Yes it would." She nodded. I laughed.
"And if they don't?" She looked at me confused. "I mean if they don't look identical?" I rephrased.
"Then he could have inherited the house I guess." She shrugged.
"From Edward's parents?" She shook her head.
"They weren't really his parents. His parents died when he was a kid. The Cullen's adopted them all." There was that little hint of something again.
"The Cullen's adopted five kids; he was the youngest one of them, like I said, big family." She looked perplexed. "I've heard people say it was an odd arrangement." That comment irritated me for some reason.
"It takes a compassionate person to adopt." I offered.
"I know." She gave me a sheepish smile. "I didn't mean it in a bad way, just kind of…"
"Bewildering?" I asked raising my brow with a smile.
"This whole thing is kind of like that." I rolled my shoulders to release some tension. "The looks I've been getting."
"I know. I heard from mom, and then Mike came over and he was talking about how he'd seen you too." My brows shot up in a question. "Mr. Newton. You really did a number on him you know?" Oh I knew, all too well. "First to see Edward and then you." She was grinning finally. That name made that sick tightening in my gut happen again.
"This guy looks like him, or that's who he's claiming to be?" I furrowed my brows.
"He registered for school as Edward Cullen." There it was again. "Mom will have him in 3rd period." She sounded absolutely sure.
"And he really looks just like him?" My eyes were wide now.
"To a T." She pressed her thumb and forefinger together. I chewed on my bottom lip this time as I thought. Then something struck me. Wait! How did she know?
"You've seen him!" I hissed in a shocked accusation.
"Oh yeah I've seen him." She nodded with a swing of her head. "Up close and personal." She said the last word with a little swagger. "And let me tell you something, Mom told me that he was the most beautiful boy she'd ever seen," She paused to roll her eyes. "Other than my dad of course." I smirked. Of course. "But she wasn't exaggerating with that one." My face fell into careful lines. I didn't know what my face would show.
"What does he look like?" I murmured and my careful lines slipped with curiosity.
"He's tall, nearly a whole head taller than you I'd bet." I'm sure she would seeing as how she already had a few inches on me. "Skinny, really, really pale." She made it sound like a bad thing. "Kind of messy reddish brown hair." She murmured. "And his eyes are gorgeous." That made me look at her. "They are like, kind of gold, but I'd really say it's more of a metallic burnt orange." That made me swallow, and I felt a flush of perspiration. The eyes from my dreams were suddenly floating in front of my vision.
"Like topaz?" I barely got the words out and she was looking at me funny now.
"I'm not quite sure what topaz looks like, but I guess if that's how you'd see it." She shrugged.
"Did you talk to him?" I was more excited than I should have been. She frowned.
"Not really…technically." I raised a brow at her.
"Technically?" I smiled amused.
"He sort of grunted at me…does that count?" She asked sheepishly, blushing profusely. I couldn't help it, I laughed.
"Sure!" I giggled. "Why not?" She was suddenly laughing too. It was an odd thing; to watch the way she seemed so nervous about meeting the 'ghost' she'd been speaking of, for all the wrong reasons. Not like she was scared, but as if she was a giggling teen with a crush. "So…why did he grunt at you?" I grinned eyeing her.
"I kind of…ran into him." He said sheepishly. My eyes went wide.
"How did that happen?" I said in bewilderment.
"I was heading over to school to see my mom," She rolled her eyes. "She wanted me to bring her some paperwork she'd left on the kitchen counter, lesson plans and stuff, and I turned the corner and ran smack into him." She made a funny face.
"He must be solid muscle 'cause it was like hitting a wall, it almost knocked me on my butt." She frowned. "I would have too if he hadn't caught me." I raised a brow at her.
"He didn't say anything?" I asked curiously.
"Nope." She shook her head slowly. "I told him I was sorry and he just looked at me for a second, before he grunted and then moved me out of the way and disappeared."
"That's rude." I commented.
"Well I did run into him." Izzy offered.
"Yeah, but he didn't say 'hello' or 'no problem' or anything?" I asked skeptically. "That's a little odd don't you think?"
She shrugged. "He didn't look like he was in a very good mood to begin with, I'm sure having someone run into him because they weren't paying any attention to where they were going didn't help that any."
"Still…I thought everyone in small towns were supposed to be, you know…friendly." I grinned.
"Most people here are." She said softly. "Maybe he's been getting weird looks to and it bugs him more than it bugs you." She suggested. "After all, you did at least smile at Mike." She grinned. I laughed.
"And it scared him even more." I smiled. "Did he tell you that?"
"He told my mom everything, and she told me." She laughed. "Maybe we should make you a warning label." She giggled and I glared playfully at her.
"That says what? Careful: Do not look; May cause heart attacks?" I asked sarcastically and we both erupted into giggles then.
"That could work." She grinned.
"Oh boy…" I sighed ruefully shaking my head.
We heard our names suddenly from downstairs. "Do me a favor." She begged suddenly. "Don't tell my mom that I told you, I don't think she wanted to bother you with all this hocus pocus creepy crawly back from the dead stuff." She grinned. "I just figured you deserved a heads up." I grinned back.
"I won't." I nodded. "You have no idea, how much you've helped me out." She gave me one last smile before we headed downstairs.
As we did, I tried to wrap my head around every aspect of the new information I'd received. The whole thing seemed to be a bit farfetched to me. I didn't think the whole town was in on some huge prank to frighten the new girl, but I didn't think things were as spooky, as the way Izzy made it seem, either. Well, it still sounded a bit odd the way she'd made it sound, sounded a bit…familiar the way she'd said it. There were a plethora of thoughts racing through my head, but a few vital points seemed stand out above the rest.
So, the strange looks were explained, but there was no way to avoid them…super. I was still greatly disturbed by the connection I shared with Bella Swan, and it was more than obvious that the topaz gaze from my dreams, could only belong to the mysterious Edward Cullen. Fantastic. Where was Sherlock Holmes, when you needed an explanation for strange occurrences to be pulled out of thin air?
I thought I'd leave you with a scene from the next chapter. Enjoy!
I woke with a start, gasping for air, and it burned my throat. Drowning, I had been drowning in my sleep. Freezing water filling my lungs, as my hands clawed against the brutal current that was sucking me under. I continued to gasp, then blink, seeing my surroundings, knowing I was awake and safe in my bed, but behind my eyes, the memory of the dream continued to rage.
I was drowning still, sinking into the abyss of blackness, choking in gulps of icy water, my strength fading by the second, until I could no longer fight to break the barrier of the surface that the force of the raging storm had created. I felt a terrifying numbness begin to bleed from my chest, spreading slowly to my limbs, until all warmth was gone, the last drops of feeling dissolving from my fingertips. The weight of my lids sliding down over my vision was suddenly too heavy to bear, I could not fight it any longer, and I was going to die.
"Don't give up! Fight! You must fight!" A beautiful voice called out, coming from all around me suddenly, pulling me back into consciousness. There were flames in the water, flickering at my fingertips, warmth flooding my entire being. I kicked hard, pushing to the surface. "Don't give up on me!" The voice pleaded desperately, as the fire propelled me swiftly upward, surging toward the sky above the waves, transforming from flames into the reflection of a searing golden eyes. "I can't let you go." There was guilt in the beautiful, musical words, despair in the gaze I loved. The flames that fanned into the depths, slowly altered as the face that framed the burning topaz eyes came into focus, pale skin, the fire around it darkening into bronze hair. I felt icy finger around my arms shoving me upward. "Bella I love you. Bella, I'm sorry." He whispered in sadness, as I broke the surface with a sharp gasp.
That is where I had woken up. I shivered at the cool air against my bare heated arms then let out a quick breath. This was getting ridiculous. First, I was freezing, then burning, then chilled again. Were my dreams giving me hot flashes? The things I had heard about Edward Cullen and Bella Swan were starting to affect my subconscious. Again, ridiculous. I wiped at the beads of sweat that had formed on the clammy skin of my forehead and pushed the covers away, going to seat myself before my computer. I was not likely to sleep anyway, and it seemed to be an appropriate time to start searching for answers. I had finally figured out what I had been seeing in my dreams that I had not been quite able to grasp before, the other color, in the flames. It was hair, reddish brown, coppery hair. It made me wonder if Izzy's story had helped me to put everything into perspective.
Throughout the night, I spent the time feeding my unquenchable thirst for answers, researching all the public information about Bella Swan, Edward Cullen, and the rest of his family. I did not find much, and that irritated me further—it was almost as if they had never existed. No descriptions, or specific names, that could give me a better insight into the mystery that was Edward Cullen, or his siblings. At first, I couldn't find photos of anyone other than Bella's father, Charlie Swan, Chief of the Forks police department. The photos of Chief Swan all depicted him, in his uniform; none had been of him off duty it seemed. The articles attached to the images, were all connected with several cases, that chief swan had headed up. One was from an animal attack at Grisham Mill. I blinked curiously at the screen. I knew this feeling; it resembled déjà vu and yet, it was much more powerful and confusing. I had thought I was getting used to it. I had thought that I was prepared for the shock every time something caused me to react contrary to the way I should have. I was not prepared, and nothing could have prepared me for when I inexplicably stumbled upon an obituary—Bella Swan's obituary.
It matched Izzy's story, as to how she had died. I scrolled down, squinting at the screen as I read the small print. I was so close to the screen that when the words ended and an image filled the page, I jerked back so hard in surprise that the chair tilted onto its hind rollers. If had not reached out to grab hold of the desk, I would have nearly thrown the chair and myself backwards, toppling to the floor. I froze when I finally righted myself, and stared aghast at the image. There were no similarities, no likeness, the face was exact, all her features, her long flowing hair hanging past her shoulders, her heart shaped face, it was all a mirror image. It wasn't just her face that I was staring at; it was mine.
I touched my fingers to the screen, testing almost to see if it were real. Evidently, everyone in this town had long memories, they had not faded over time, and now I knew why they all saw me as Bella the instant they met me. I'd had it explained, but seeing the proof before me, made me understand their reactions all the more. Memories flashed behind my eyes, the memories of everyone's first sight of me, mixed with flashes of Bella's face, in motion, images of her in my place. There wasn't a difference. Seeing me was the same thing as seeing her.
I swallowed and let out a quick breath, hitting the print button before closing the page, revealing the others that I had opened behind it. I took a brief moment to collect myself, before scanning threw the other windows. Some netted me nothing more than mentions of the Cullen family or Bella, but there had been a few articles, discussing Dr. Carlisle Cullen, Edward's father. They were all about his practice as a physician at the Forks Community Hospital, and his miraculous life saving work there. There were no photos to help me put a face to the name, but I was too excited by my small find to let that take away from it.
My next focal point was Forks High School. I searched through the archived pages of the newspaper, which the school had published, and for the longest time, I found nothing. They were all inconsequential, random articles, fillers for when nothing of real importance was available to write about. However, one story in particular caught my attention, due to the fact that after seeing the standard topics that usually made it to print, this one was the type of news you might see as a main headline for a larger well-known publication. It was about a near fatal accident that had occurred at the high school on January 25th 2005, involving three students; Tyler Crowley, Edward Cullen and Bella Swan.
I saw it in my head—in an instant I was standing in her place and there was a sharp screeching noise from far away—the sound of screaming tires. I blinked across a sprawling parking lot, packed with vehicles and students, my eyes immediately locking on a face in the distance—the only face that mattered. I could see that nearly five car lengths away, his beautiful features were twisted—contorted in the deepest facet of horror—the golden gaze from my dreams burning into me—his gaze.
My vision shifted in a blur of movement, until I saw the source of his alarm. The driver of a blue van had taken a recklessly sharp turn into the school parking lot—which in turn had caused his tires to skid on a patch of pavement, where the ice had become almost invisible under the cover of fresh rain. The tires spun and screamed—finding no traction to stabilize their erratic movements—sending the vehicle veering dangerously from its intended direction. I saw instantly that the van would soon collide violently into the corner of the bed of my truck and realized suddenly what the fear in those golden eyes had to do with me—I was in the way and I was about to be crushed.
I stood there frozen—watching as my death came for me.
I felt the burn of arctic air as it whooshed from my lungs when something hard hit me, knocking me out of the way and onto the cold wet pavement beneath the bumper of a neighboring car instead.
It was like reliving a memory—a memory that was not mine.
I felt my head hit the frozen concrete, just as the sound of the edge of the van catching the back corner of the truck exploded—right where I had been standing an instant before. I was vaguely aware that something solid had me pinned to the ground—and the fact that the danger of the van was still approaching. The impact had merely altered its path of destruction, swinging the van around due to its momentum, until I was once again in line with its fatal trajectory.
An angrily muttered curse reached my ears, as a set of pale hands suddenly appeared, long slender fingers spread wide in front of me, braced for the impact. My heart pounded as my mind registered the ashen skin of Edward Cullen's muscular arms, where they were unexpectedly stretched out protectively before me. In an instant, I heard the harsh sound of moaning metal all around me as the van's frame rocked into his awaiting palms, pinning him between its hulking form and the car that had been parked beside the truck. I watched, almost impossibly as his hands seemed to melt into the blue exterior, forcing it to crumple inward, molding itself around his fingers—as if the metal shell were merely made of tinted aluminum foil.
When it was barely a foot from my face, the van shuddered, and skidded a few more inches before it finally paused, and tilted slightly away, teetering precariously on the two tires on the opposite side of us—the closest however, hovered inches above my legs. A scream lodged in my throat for an instant when the hands that kept the van's back tire from crushing my thighs disappeared. He shifted—twisting in a blur so that one hand reappeared suddenly, gripping beneath the edge of the van's frame—catching it before it could crush me, as his free arm reached out to gather me tightly against him, dragging me, along with my lifeless limbs, from beneath the van to safety. I could no longer see his hands, making me cringe when the sharp creak of the van's metal frame pierced the air, followed by a thundering crash as it finally settled onto the asphalt—no doubt right where my legs had just been. I heard a jagged tinkling of broken glass littering the pavement surrounding us and then finally, silence.
It didn't last long—distant screams of panic and concern filled the air but I tuned them out. I was distinctly aware of only one thing at that very moment—Edward Cullen. I was still curled against him, wrapped in his strong arms, and I could feel his cool breath against my cheek making me shiver slightly.
"Bella?" His lips brushed the edge of my ear—his voice was full of panic as he whispered frantically so that he was sure I heard him. "Are you all right?"
I tilted my head slightly until I could meet his eyes. The amber depths attested to the tremors of concern I had thought I had heard coursing through his words—they were wide, and filled with desperation. He almost looked like he was in pain.
"I'm fine." I assured him breathlessly—almost choking—finding it difficult to remember how my vocal chords were supposed to work. As soon as I said the words, his golden gaze softened—melting into liquid fire and relief flooded his pained expression—and was it possible? Had he seemed…mysteriously…comforted? More pleased than he should have been to find that I was unharmed?
The surface of the memory rippled then seemed to evaporate before it finally vanished completely. I stared blankly ahead, unable to regain control of my limbs as the last trace of remaining fear faded.
I felt the shock of this new revelation vibrating throughout my body—Edward Cullen had saved Bella's life.
Was that how it had all been? Had their story—the one that had ended in tragedy—nearly begun the same way?
And what did it have to do with me?
I was finally able to release the breath that I had been holding. The memory had seemed…as just that—a memory—not a figment of my overly exaggerated imagination. It had felt real, as if I had lived those terrifying and wondrously mysterious moments. I furrowed my brows as frustration billowed up through me. I had wanted answers, but the strangely exciting phenomenon had only served to leave me with more questions than ever before.
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