"Of all the people in this world, you are my person."
She can't deny this. There is no one else. There is no one like her for me.
I'm not like that Jacob. I would never ever let anyone or anything hurt her.
I would die for her.
FORKS, AUGUST 2004
It was on a Wednesday when Bella heard Edward speak for the first time. It was just one single word and she was the only one who heard it. Well, she and the dog...
After discreetly monitoring Bella and Edward for a month – and with a little pushing from her husband – by the end of August Esme had finally resumed her work as a volunteer at the Olympic Community Action Program, a local charity group. On Wednesdays, she would help organizing Meals on Wheels, which meant that Edward had Bella to himself all afternoon.
And on Wednesdays, Bella would bring home made cookies. She made different types of cookies all the time; never did she bake the same kind twice. Edward slowly lost his aversion for everything unpredictable and learned to enjoy the anticipation... at least when it came to Bella's surprise baked goods.
Wednesday had become Edward's favorite day.
Today's cookies were amazing - semi-sweet, with a white chocolate icing and peanut butter chips inside – and they looked and smelled so mouth-watering that Edward let go an excited little laugh when he peeked inside the Tupperware container.
Bella suggested they have a milk and cookie picnic in the garden, and he nodded enthusiastically. He quickly skimmed through the bundle of laminated communication cards he wore on a lanyard around his neck and then showed her the one that said, 'I'm hungry'.
"Sure you are," Bella giggled. "Come on, make yourself useful. We need plates and cups."
The boy jumped into action, and soon they had a blanket spread out on the lawn and Bella was dividing the cookies equally onto two saucers. Edward watched her intently; he loved watching Bella when she did things like that. She had a special way of handling multiple items, like the way she used to put his pencils in rank and file when she sat down with him to supervise his homework. Or the day when she had brought a bag of jelly beans, she had started to sort them by color - just for fun, she'd said. But for Edward, watching her tiny hands create a comforting order where there'd been chaos before was one of the most beautiful things he'd ever seen.
Bella was quite aware of Edward's eyes on her. She also knew that he liked what she was doing. He liked things in balance... order and symmetry calmed him. So she put an extra effort in counting the exact same amount of cookies for each saucer and arranged them in a neat pattern.
Without looking up, she said, "Why don't you go and get your book? I can read to you if you'd like," and smiled to herself when she heard his naked feet pit-pat inside.
She was just about to pour two cups of milk when she felt the hair in her neck stand up. She didn't recognize it right away, but something was wrong. Then she noticed the subtle but constant noise that didn't belong here, and it made her blood curdle... it was the panting of a dog. A big dog, judging by the sound of it.
Bella was afraid of big dogs.
She slowly turned her head to look over her shoulder and stifled a scream. There he was, only a few yards away... a big black German Shepherd was sitting on the lawn inside of the Cullen garden. He was already inside! Her heart was racing. The dog was fucking huge, a nightmare of a dog. His long tongue was lolling out between his scary fangs, dripping and twitching.
And he was already inside!
He must have jumped over the fence. Almost too scared to be able to move, Bella got on her feet in slow motion. The dog just sat there and stared. Bella suddenly realized that she knew him; it was one of the dogs from the Quileute reservation. She remembered that she'd seen Jake walking him. Jake even had teased her a few times, pretending to unleash him. 'He just wants to play, Bella!' Jake thought it was fun and that her fear was silly, but Bella had been terrified.
Was Jake here? Did he let the dog in, thinking of it as a big joke? Bella's eyes skimmed the trees and bushes. "Jake?" she asked meekly. And a little louder, "Jake, are you here?" There was no answer, but when Bella looked at the dog again, he was no longer sitting. He was on all four paws and yes – he had definitely moved a little closer. Time ran out.
On shaking legs, Bella turned towards the house and almost lost it when she saw Edward standing in the open glass door, wide-eyed, with his book tucked under his arm. She didn't think twice – not withstanding that she'd give up her own escape that way, she called to him, "Get inside! And close the door!" He didn't move. "Now, Edward!" she yelled.
Looking over her shoulder once more, Bella saw the dog breaking into a trot. She finally panicked and turned around to run. Of course, she stumbled and fell. She fell on the blanket, landing on her stomach and sending saucers and cups flying. The dog was there in a heartbeat; she could hear him panting right next to her. Scared to death, Bella covered her head with her arms and kicked out blindly at the now growling animal. She felt something tug at the leg of her jeans and wailed. The fabric gave way with a ripping noise as the dog started to drag the sobbing girl across the lawn.
And then Bella heard the yelling...
"Aaaaahhhhhhh...!" It was a desperate roar, a war cry of sorts, and there was only one person who could have given it. The dog yelped as if something had hit him and let go of her. Bella felt something soft and heavy slam down onto her calves, pinning them down. She writhed underneath that new weight, struggling to turn over. Once she was on her back, she hastily propped herself up on her elbows, looked up and gasped.
Little Edward had thrown himself over her legs, a spade in both his hands, raising it over his head threateningly against the surprised animal. Edward was here, when he was supposed to be safely inside! And he was trying to shield her, with nothing but an ordinary spade and his own small body between her and at least 100 pounds of pissed-off German Shepherd... Bella thought she'd pass out any moment with shock. She couldn't breathe, she couldn't move.
The dog had backed off a good deal and was now nervously stepping from side to side, confused. He actually looked a little frightened. And he was limping, avoiding putting any weight on his left hind leg where Edward had hit him with the garden tool. He growled at the small human who had shown up so unexpectedly and hurt him.
Edward growled back, shaking the spade.
The dog crouched and took a slow step towards the two kids.
That was when Edward for the first time raised his voice to speak. Loud and clear, he said, "No!"
It had no immediate effect on the rattled animal. But hearing Edward utter a word finally kicked Bella out of her stupor. She grabbed a handfull of the scattered cookies and threw them. The dog, more cautious now, ducked under the missiles. But after a brief snuffling, he started to eat them, the humans completely forgotten.
Bella wriggled her legs out from underneath Edward, pulled him up on his feet and quickly dragged him towards the house. She closed the door and grabbed the cell phone Esme had given her for any cases of emergency. It was then that she noticed Edward was standing there, staring at her and still clutching the spade.
Bella dropped the phone and went down on her knees in front of him.
"Edward... oh God. What were you thinking? I told you to stay inside! Oh my God, you could have..."
She tried to pry his fingers off the spade handle, but he held on to it so hard that his knuckles were white. "Let go," she pleaded, tearing up. "You can put it away now. Please..." He didn't loose his grip.
Bella gave in. The aftermath of the shock finally got the better of her; she hid her face in her hands and sobbed helplessly.
After a few seconds, the spade hit the floor with a loud clang.
Then there were little arms around her neck, little hands stroking her hair, and a small voice whispering, "No."
She nods her head slowly and whispers, "Yes."
Or I think it was a yes?
It was barely audible...
"Yes?" I hold my breath.
She pulls me closer, pulls me into her warm embrace... home... her skin on my skin, her lips on my forehead, her words my release...
"I am your person, Edward."