We hope you loved the first chapter of Fire of Your Soul. Thank you to all of you who took the time to review. We appreciate it so much! The next chapter, we're warning you, will have some tissue alerts … Have some Kleenexes nearby … just sayin'!
As always, this is not ours. We're not Stephenie Meyer, nor will we ever be. We just like to play in her sandbox, with her toys.
The ambulance roared toward the hospital with Edward sitting on the gurney, the oxygen mask over his mouth and nose. Even with the oxygen being pushed into his lungs, he felt like he couldn't breathe like an elephant was sitting on his chest. The guilt he felt from losing his victim. The young woman who slipped out of his hand was Charlie Swan's daughter. The very same daughter he had just boasted about just a few hours before playing at the concert, debuting with the Seattle Symphony.
Edward closed his eyes, but as soon as he did he was bombarded with the images of Angela as she looked up at him. Her sweet, innocent face, so full of fear, begging him to save her. Why couldn't he have just held on? Was he such a weakling that he couldn't hold onto this small woman, just a few moments longer? Was he even good at his job? Angela was dead because of him. Instead of saving lives, he was taking them. How could he look Charlie in the face again?
The ambulance pulled up to the hospital and the EMTs opened the back, wheeling Edward into the emergency department. As the gurney was pushed through the door, it was met by a worried Carlisle and Esme. Edward's chief had called them as soon as Edward was put in the ambulance.
Over the years, the chief had seen what happened to firemen after they lost someone in a fire. Some were able to take it in stride, but others would completely implode, blaming themselves for the loss of a victim. The vacant, broken look in Edward's eyes was the one that was about to implode, or worse, completely shut down. He knew that Edward and Charlie were close friends, with a great deal of respect flowing between the two of them, which made this even worse. So, the chief called in reinforcements with Carlisle and Esme. Edward would need his family in order to get over the guilt of losing a victim, of seeing the daughter of a man who Edward respected die needlessly.
Edward was checked over and was attached to an oxygen mask for the rest of the night. The damage to his lungs wasn't too bad, but his oxygen saturation was low. He was monitored while his hands were dressed.
As Edward's parents watched him while he was being checked out, Esme wanted to hug him, make his hurt go away. She saw the haunted look in his eyes and she knew something tragic happened. The battalion chief, when calling the mayor and his wife, had said that Edward would need his family. However, the reason for that need was left unsaid. She sat next to him, gently rubbing his arm as he slept fitfully after his wounds were dressed.
Carlisle had gone to Edward's apartment, picking up a change of clothes. When he arrived, he heard Edward's angry but defeated voice yelling at his mother.
"There's nothing you can do to make it better, Mom!" Edward snarled. "You can't just hug me, and it magically makes everything better. I fucked up. I lost someone. I watched a girl plummet to her death and there's not a goddamned thing I can do about it."
"But, baby, I just want to …" Esme said, her voice calm and reaching for his hands.
"I don't deserve it!" Edward roared, pulling his hands away and turning his face away from his mother. As he glared out the darkened window, he snapped, "You want to hug someone? Go help the Swans."
"What do you mean, son?" Carlisle asked, placing his son's clothes on the plastic recliner in his room.
"The girl who died? The one that I couldn't fucking save? Charlie's daughter," Edward said, his voice cracking. "She begged me, Dad. She didn't want to die, but I wasn't strong enough. I let her fall."
"No, Edward," Esme argued. "It's not your fault."
"My job is to serve and protect. I'm a first responder. I couldn't do that for her. I couldn't help Angela," Edward cried, tears streaming down his cheeks. He coughed, unable to catch his breath. "What's the point? I … I …"
"Edward, son, you need to calm down," Carlisle said, taking Edward's hands. "Deep breaths, son."
"I couldn't save her, Dad," Edward sobbed, falling onto his ass on the hard floor of the hospital. His breathing was still irregular, and his heart rate was through the roof. Carlisle wrapped his arms around Edward's trembling body. Edward clung to his dad, crying brokenly and struggling to breathe.
Dr. Mallow had been notified of Edward's condition by the charge nurse and he was concerned that if he didn't calm down soon, that he could do some serious danger to his lungs or even his heart. Walking into the room, Dr. Mallow was shocked at how upset Edward was and knew what he had to do. Taking syringe filled with diazepam out of his coat pocket and walked over where Carlisle had Edward wrapped in his arms.
Carlisle looked up and saw that Dr. Mallow was next to Edward with a syringe; that he suspected was something to calm Edward down. Nodding his head to Dr. Mallow, who then stuck the needle into Edward's arm, pushing in the medicine. Edward was still crying and struggling to breathe, he didn't even notice the stick. Carlisle continued to hold onto Edward, who's crying slowed to whimpers and he began to stop struggling to catch the next breath. He finally was completely out, his limp body leaning against Carlisle, who held him protectively to prevent him from falling onto the floor. He cradled his head in his lap, brushing his hair away from his forehead.
"Let me get some help, so we can get him back in bed," Dr. Mallow said, then buzzed the nurse's station. "I need an orderly."
Esme was softly crying, watching her son collapsed against her husband. Edward had always been the strongest person she ever knew. Each of her sons had decided early on what their career would be when they grew up.
Emmett, the oldest of the Cullen boys, always enjoyed his Legos and building high rise buildings, so he took his inheritance from his paternal grandparents and built his empire as a venture capitalist. He loved buying old, unused buildings in the city, upgrading them, and making them a desirable place to live or work in. Most of his buildings were on the cutting edge of technology, with the smart home and work features integrated into each apartment or office suite. The few that had not been converted had been slated to begin their conversion over the next year. Even though those apartments were not smart apartments, he made sure that they were secure with the best alarm systems in the country and all physical security patrols.
The youngest Cullen, Jasper, was a computer nerd. He created his first software program when he was seven and only progressed from there. He went to MIT, getting his degree in IT, focusing on software design and implementation. He worked closely with the police and fire departments, trying to streamline the dispatch protocols and have the two facets of the first responders work more cohesively. It was working very well in Seattle. Portland and several other larger cities in the Pacific Northwest were in contact with Jasper to have him implement the technology in their systems.
Edward had wanted to be a fireman from the first time he saw a fire truck go speeding down the street. Unlike most children, who hated the roar of the sirens, Edward loved them and would sit on the grass on his front lawn, waiting for them to come by. He begged his mother to take him to the fire station, so he could meet the fireman and take them cookies. Esme, at first, couldn't understand why he was so fascinated with the fire trucks and firemen, but over time she understood that this was his calling. Carlisle and Esme both understood the dangers of being a fireman, however, they knew that Edward wouldn't be happier doing anything else.
After Edward graduated from high school, he went to Olympic College in Bremerton to get his bachelor's degree in Fire-science/Firefighting. Once he got his degree, he came back to Seattle took the two tests required: a written test and a Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) test. The written exam consisting of around 100 multiple choice questions that covered spatial awareness, reading comprehension, mechanical reasoning, logic, observation and memory.
The physical exam was a rigorous physical fitness test. Edward had to perform a long-distance run in an allotted period of time, climb flights of stairs at a rapid pace and lift and carry up to 200 pounds.
Once he passed his exams with flying colors, he had to then study and pass his EMT certification. The EMT training consisted of 120 hours of classroom and practical work, then ten hours of observation at Virginia Mason Hospital. Each step in the process made Edward more determined that this was he calling. Next up, Edward needed to attend Washington State Patrol Academy. It was here that he got an accurate view of what it meant to be a real fireman. It was so much more than what was portrayed on television and in the movies. He felt, though, that this was his true calling and that he could make a real difference in people's lives, being a first responder. He completed all the classes needed to become a fireman. However, he also decided to attend classes to begin his fire investigator certification. Never knowing what the future holds, he thought it would be good to be prepared.
Edward applied to the City of Seattle for an open fireman position and was hired for level one firefighter in Station 17. After enduring his rookie initiation, which he hoped he never had to live through again in his life, he was welcomed into the brotherhood.
Even though Edward had dreamt of being a firefighter most his life and completed extensive training, he still wasn't prepared for a real-life fire. The first time he was on his own in a fire, he froze. He had his partner help him and he managed to get through the minor blaze that was self-contained in a rear-part of a home. But, seeing the unpredictability of the flames made his heart fall to his feet and his imagination runs the gamut of emotions. However, his training kicked in and he had the support of the other seasoned firemen. He was able to grow in both confidence and ability, becoming a valued member of the team.
Now, though, Esme and Carlisle were on either side of Edward's bed, waiting for him to wake up. They were concerned about his emotional state. He'd never been this broken up about losing a victim. But, Carlisle and Esme knew how much he respected Charlie Swan and knowing that the victim was Charlie's musically talented daughter was a knife to the gut.
In the waiting room, there wasn't a seat available, because they were being taken by Edward's brothers from the fire department. No matter how tired they were, or that in a few hours they would need to be on duty, their place would be here, giving support to Edward, who was injured on the job, trying to save a life. Their hearts were also heavy for Chief Swan and his family.
Losing a child was the worst pain in the world. No parent should outlive their child.
Charlie Swan was a legend around the fire stations in the city. He had started out as a rookie fireman and worked some of the worst fires in the department history. Charlie was no stranger to losing someone in a fire or even having someone get severely burned, yet he was one to take it in stride. This, unfortunately, was all part of the job. He worked his way up the ladder, working in many stations throughout the city until he found his love in the fire investigation unit. Like a bloodhound, he could sniff out the arsonist or causes of the suspicious fire that baffled even the most-seasoned investigators.
The brotherhood of firemen would stand by both Edward and Charlie, being whatever, they need to get through this difficult time. Some of the men understood what Edward was going through with losing a victim in a fire, but none of them had lost fellow brethren loved one. This was going to be extremely difficult for Edward to get over. For Charlie? His world never be the same again.
Even though Edward looked like he was sleeping peacefully, it was not the fact. He was being plagued with horrible nightmares. Each one had Angela dying because Edward couldn't save her, each instance more painful and gruesome than the next. The sedative kept him in this awful limbo, unable to wake up and scream out in frustration.
Across the city, Charlie and Renee were huddled in a cold conference room. They were speaking with the doctor that pronounced Angela's death. Renee was sobbing hysterically, and she felt like her soul had been ripped out, trampled on and destroyed by this news. Charlie was just numb. He sat by his daughter as they rode in the ambulance to Harbor View Medical Center. He held her hand, which was so cold and still. It was so unnatural to see Angela so still. The doctor asked if they wanted to donate Angela's organs, but Charlie and Renee were unable to give him an answer. Without pressing them, he asked if there was a preferred funeral home. Charlie just shook his head, in total disbelief that he was going to bury his child. Only a few hours before she was so full of life, playing her violin in front of a packed concert hall, laughing at his stupid jokes, and licking the ice cream cone after she'd performed.
Renee was shocked beyond words but looking at Charlie she knew that he had shut down completely. Charlie loved his daughters equally, but there was a silent secret bond that was between him and Angela. Her characteristics and mannerism were so much like her father. Bella was more like her mother, with her ambition and humor.
"Bella. We have to tell Bella," Renee sobbed. "She doesn't know!"
Charlie just stared blankly at a picture on his cell phone that had been taken that evening by Carlisle and Esme. Angela was standing between her two parents, grinning brightly. "My baby girl," he cried. "I'm sorry. I couldn't save you." He put the phone down and put his hands over his face, weeping brokenly.
Renee picked up the phone and pushed Bella's contact. Her mind was racing as she waited for Bella to pick up, thinking how she was going to tell her that her sister was dead. She knew Bella would be shattered. Angela and Bella shared a bond that not anybody understood. They had the 'twin connection'. They created their own language and when one got hurt, the other felt it.
On the other side of the country, Bella was having a horrible time sleeping, waking up several times by horrendous dreams. They made no sense, but each one had a faceless person screaming as they fell out a window, through a thick cloud of smoke. The voice of the person was what so haunting, so much like Angela when she screamed when she fell out of the clubhouse when they were ten. Thankfully, their dad had put old mattresses at the bottom as a precaution. Angela could have broken her leg, but instead she just sprained her ankle.
The last time she awoke, she decided to get up and fix an unhealthy breakfast for herself. Grease was always a welcome comfort food. Besides, she rarely had a chance to eat while she was on duty. She was frying up some bacon, watching the video that her father had sent her of Angela's performance. It wasn't her usual morning routine, but she felt like she had to listen to Angela's concerto. As she finished with the bacon, her cell phone rang.
"It better not be work. I'm not due in until …" Bella grumbled, picking up her phone. "Mom?" She slid her finger across the screen. "Hey, Mom. You're up early …"
"Sweetheart," Renee sniffled. Her voice sounded broken. "I need you to sit down."
"Mom, you're scaring me," Bella whispered as she slid to the ground in her Tribeca apartment. "What happened?"
"Sweetie, there was a fire," Renee muttered. "A fire at Angela's apartment complex."
"No!" Bella cried. "She fell, didn't she? She fell to her death. Mommy, why?"
"She did fall, baby," Renee sobbed. "She fell from a window and she's gone." Bella lost it, the phone falling from her hand. She cried, her heart shattering as her nightmares had become reality. Her sister was gone. Her best friend, soul mate and other half, she was dead. "Bella! Bella! Come back, sweetheart."
With shaking hands, she picked up her phone and pressed it to her cheek. "I'm coming home, Mommy," she cried. "I need to be there for Ang. I have …"
"I know, sweetie. I love you, Bella," Renee whimpered. "Come home."
"Love you, Mommy," Bella whispered back, hanging up the phone. She curled up onto the floor, clinging to the cell phone in her hand. If only she could back in time and be able to save her sister in her dreams. "Ang … I love you, Ang …"
Bella didn't know how long she had been on the floor crying over the loss of her sister, her twin, her other half, but something inside of her gave her strength to get up and start making plans to head home. Her first call was to her supervisor to tell him what had happened that she needed some family leave time to go to Seattle for her sister's funeral. He, of course, told her that was fine, and he was sorry for her loss. He said to take her time and that her position would be waiting when she returned and to call if he could do anything for her or her family.
Next, Bella called the airport who at first said that all flights were booked until tomorrow, but after she explained that her sister had been killed in a fire and needed to get home, they told her to come to airport as soon as possible and they would get her on the first flight, flying on standby. Rushing through her apartment, she packed a carry-on bag, not wanting to deal with checked luggage, making sure she had her phone charger and her laptop. She had one black dress, but it had seen better days, so she left it behind, deciding to just buy one in Seattle. The last thing was to call for a taxi to get her to the airport and hopefully she could get on a flight quickly, needing to get to her parents.
Thankfully, she got onto a direct flight an hour after she arrived at JFK. She called her mom to tell her about her flight details, but her mom didn't pick up. While she waited for the doors to close on the airplane, she arranged for a rental car at SeaTac and settled into her seat. She plugged in her earbuds and played the video her father had sent on repeat for the entire flight.
"Miss, we are about to land," the flight attendant said, placing her hand on Bella's arm.
Bella pulled out her earbuds and wiped the tears from her eyes. "Thank you."
The attendant could tell that the young woman was very upset and when she looked down at the video she saw her playing the violin on stage. "You are very good."
Bella looked at the screen, then gently rubbed her finger across it, in a loving manner. "That is not me, that was my talented sister, Angela."
The attendant picked up quickly on the word was, no is, which means that the sister had died and by the way she was acting very recently. "I am so sorry for your loss."
"Thank you," Bella whimpered, trying to keep the tears and sobs at bay. The attendant crouched down, pulling Bella into her arms and gave her a few moments of comfort. Bella clung to the attendant, grateful for her sympathy, but empty and reeling from the loss of her sister. After a few moments, the attendant released her. Bella gave her a weak smile. She fastened her seatbelt and stored her laptop, as the plane began its descent towards the runway. Once landed and taxied to the terminal, she waited to get up to get her carry-on, not wanting to fight the rush to get off the plane.
She was the last one to get off the plane, however as she began to step off the attendant who had been so kind to her stopped her. "Dr. Swan, my name is Gail and I want to convey our deepest symphony for you and your family."
Bella at first was shocked by the fact that she called her Dr. Swan, but she figured she just checked the flight manifest. "Thank you."
After Gail had seen how emotional Bella was, she felt compelled to find out more about the young woman if possible. After doing a Google search for violinist death in Seattle, she was shocked to see the details of her death. As she read through the information concerning the fire and the tragic death of Angela Swan, concert violinist. As she read on, she found out that Angela had a twin sister, a Doctor Isabella Swan of New York and her father was part of the fire department in Seattle. After reading this information, she knew she had to do something to help Bella. As soon as they landed, Gail called for airport transportation and had a transport vehicle waiting to take Bella wherever she needed to go. "Actually Dr. Swan, I have arranged for you to have transport to anywhere you need to go," Gail explained.
Bella eyes once again filled up with tears by the unexpected surprise. "I don't know what to say."
"No need, it is the at least we can do."
Gail took Bella's carry on and helped her up the ramp to the waiting cart that would take her to get her rental car. Before climbing in, Bella turned and gave her a tight hug.
Bella was taken to the counter for the car rental. They confirmed her reservation, giving her a bereavement discount and that the airport had arranged to have her taken to her rental car by private transport. When she got to her car she tossed her bags into the trunk, she slid into the driver's seat and checked her voice mails. There were a few messages from coworkers, sending their condolences, including the resident she'd fooled around with a couple of nights ago. She sent a few texts, thanking them for their thoughts, but asked for time. The last message was from her mom.
"Bella, we're home. I just saw that you called with your itinerary. Your father … he's just … we all are … I love you, baby girl. Please call me when you get this message. I need to know my daughter is safe."
Bella heard her mother's sadness, so lost and broken. Her mom was always upbeat, happy, even when she was as sick as a dog with cancer. Angela's death, however, was crushing her soul. I totally get it, Mom, Bella thought, turning over the rental car. As it cooled off, she dialed her mom's cell phone.
"Hello?" Renee called, her voice impossibly sad.
"Mom? I'm in Seattle," Bella breathed. "I'm about to head home. Are you and Dad there?"
"Your dad is … he's at the site, determined to find out why Angela's apartment burned down," Renee sniffled. "I'm home. I'm tired. I haven't slept …"
"Dad's at the apartment?" Bella asked.
"He doesn't know how to handle this. He's shut down, Bella," Renee muttered. "So, he figured if he could do his job and figure out why her apartment burned down, it would make sense."
"It doesn't, Mom," Bella choked out. "It's not fair. Dad should be home, with us. He should …"
"Give your dad a break, sweetie. He was there when she was …" Renee trailed off. "But, you're right. He should be here." She was quiet, blowing out a heavy breath. "Just come home, Bella. I need to see you. I need to make sure you're okay."
"I should be home in a half hour. I do need to get a dress for Angela's f-f-funeral," Bella whispered. "I can't believe she's gone. I want to call her. I need to …" She broke down crying, pressing her forehead to the steering wheel of the rental car.
"Baby girl," Renee cried along with her. "Please, I know it's tough, but get here. Take a few deep breaths and calm down, baby." They worked together to calm Bella down. "You better?"
"Not really," Bella said, wiping her cheeks. "I can drive, though. I'll be there soon."
"Drive safe, sweetheart. Promise me?" Renee whispered pleadingly.
"I will, Mom," Bella nodded. "I love you."
"I love you more, Bella," Renee choked out, hanging up the phone.
Bella did the same, pulling out of the parking lot. She drove away from the airport, toward her childhood home. Despite being away from Seattle for almost six years, it was so familiar as she made her way through the streets. It gave her some sense of comfort to see that her elementary school was still the same, with colorful playgrounds and cheery signs. She also smiled when she saw Mr. Brookes on the corner, as she turned into her subdivision, arranging his collection of garden gnomes.
With a sigh, she pulled into the driveway, parking behind her mother's Lincoln. Grabbing her bags, she unlocked the door and walked into the house. It smelled the same, like cinnamon, sugar and spices. Bella blinked around the house and even though it smelled the same, looked the same, it was so different. Angela was gone and would no longer come home.
"Bella?" Renee called out as she walked into the foyer. Seeing her mother, Bella's dam broke and she ran to her mom, crying brokenly. Together, they fell to the ground, sobbing over the loss of Bella's twin. Aching and tired, they got up and dropped off Bella's bag into her bedroom. They walked, like zombies, into Renee and Charlie's room. Renee held Bella in her arms and they both fell into a fitful sleep.
A few hours later, Bella was awoken by another horrible dream of Angela. Looking over at her mother who seemed to be sleeping soundly, she decided to slip out of the room and get something drink. Quietly leaving the room, she walked down the stairs and into the kitchen. Pouring a glass of water, Bella walked over to the French doors and looked out to the backyard. Opening the doors, she stepped out into the dwindling sunlight. It was still very, very warm and quite uncomfortable. Bella wrinkled her nose as she stepped onto the back patio, making her way to the tree house her father had built for her and Angela.
"Ang," Bella whispered, running her fingers over the initials they'd carved into the tree's bark. "I don't know how I'm going to do this, Ang. I need you with me. You were always the stronger of the two of us." She traced Angela's initials over and over again before walking to the ladder to the tree house. She climbed up the ladder, sliding into the house that her father had built for them.
Charlie loved his girls but had yearned for a son. Thankfully, despite being girly, both Angela and Bella enjoyed outdoorsy activities, like camping and fishing. After some time at a Girl Scout Camp, they loved sleeping outside, but didn't like sleeping on the ground. Charlie decided to build the tree house, so they could enjoy 'camping' but without fears of 'icky bugs' getting into their sleeping bags. The tree house did have some amenities, such as working windows with screens and an electrical connection for a fan or CD player.
Looking around the tree house, Bella's lips turned down into a deep frown. It was like their childhood had been preserved in the tree house. Shelves filled with their favorite books lined the walls, stuffed animals and dolls strewn along the room and there were bean bags haphazardly tossed in the corner. Angela's bean bag was blue while Bella's was purple. Crawling to the blue bean bag, Bella snuggled onto it. She picked up Angela's doll, a stuffed cat that looked a bit crazed with some funky-looking eyes. She hugged the doll and closed her eyes, tears streaming down her cheeks.
"Ang, what am I going to do without you?" Bella cried into the air. Suddenly a breeze blew through the door and a paper flew off the shelf and into Bella's lap. She picked it up and it was a school report that Ang had written. It was about her.
My favorite person in the whole world is my sister Bella. She always gives the best hugs and make me laugh, even when I am drinking milk and make me blow bubbles out my nose. Whenever I am sad she makes me laugh and she is the strongest person I know. I love my sister and no matter if we live on different planets we will still be close, because we share jeans with each other.
After Bella read the note and she knew that somehow Angela was reaching out to her to let her know that she would never be alone. Smiling at the thought, Angela had been right they did share 'jeans' with each other and that bond couldn't be broken, even after death.
The days that followed the fire, Edward was able to be released from the hospital. Physically he was better, but emotionally he was still damaged, tormented with nightmares of losing Angela. Esme and Carlisle were concerned about their middle son. After hours of talking to Edward, they were able to convince him to come home to stay for a few weeks, until he felt better, emotionally and physically.
Edward was sleeping in his childhood room, but even the happy memories of growing up in this house, couldn't keep the monsters away every time he closed his eyes. Several of his crew came by to see him and see how he was doing. They tried to engage him into conversations concerning coming back to work, but each time Edward would cut them off. He didn't want to even think about going back to work. He was just absolutely shattered about what had transpired, forever changing his career path.
Do I even want to be a firefighter anymore? He thought sullenly.
The men went back to the station and informed the Chief what had happened, and he became very concerned. This was not the Edward Cullen he knew. Edward Cullen loved being a fireman and loved being part of the brotherhood, always exceeding in every task that was given to him. The Chief had even started grooming him to one day in the future to take over as Chief. The chance of losing someone was just part of the job and as much as it hurt, you need to deal with the grief and move on.
Edward was sitting on the terrace, mindlessly staring out across the yard. His parents had gone to the funeral for Angela. They asked if he wanted to go and to support the Swan family, but he couldn't even think about facing Charlie as he buried his daughter, because he wasn't strong enough to save her.
Suddenly, his cell phone rang and as he looked at the screen he saw that it was his Uncle Eleazar from Boston. He was his mom's brother, who worked for the Boston fire department as a liaison officer between the department and city hall.
"Edward, how are you boy?"
"I'm okay," Edward muttered.
"Doesn't sound like you are," Eleazar said. Esme had called him to get his advice on how to help Edward. After discussing all the options, Eleazar suggested that maybe a change of scenery would work. He contacted his boss, who pulled some strings, and got Edward a position in the Fire Investigation Unit in Boston. Edward already had the schooling and credentials, which made it easy for them to offer the entry level position to him. Eleazar just now had to talk Edward into it. "I know you are going through a lot right now, but you and I both know that you love the fire department. And it just so happens a position has opened up for an entry level investigator here in Boston and it is yours if you want it."
"Did you ever lose someone, Uncle El?" Edward asked.
"I never worked out in the field. I was always a pencil-pusher," Eleazar chuckled. "But, I've known men who have lost victims. Sometimes, they can bounce back, no problem whatsoever. Other times, they need some help. Have you spoken to a shrink?"
"If I want to go back to the Seattle Fire Department, I'll have to be cleared by the department psychologist," Edward sighed. "I don't know if I can ever forget her screams, her pleas."
"Look, I know you're struggling. Why don't you come out to Boston? Use some of your time off and just get away from Seattle. I know your Aunt Carmen would love to see you. It'll give you a chance to clear your head. Esme, love my sister to pieces, but she hovers," Eleazar laughed.
"She does do that," Edward snickered. "She looks at me with such pity. I hate it."
"It's not pity, son. It's concern," Eleazar said. "You can come out, spend time with us and perhaps meet with my boss to discuss a change in location and position. Don't give up your dream. Not yet, Edward."
Edward thought about what Eleazar had offered. If he went to Boston he wouldn't have to be a burden to his mom and dad, but also, he wouldn't have to look Charlie in the eyes and see the pain he was going through. Eleazar was right, he did need a break and maybe being on the other side of the country would be far enough away, that the nightmares wouldn't follow him.
Across the city, on a frigidly cold day, which was a stark difference from a week ago, Charlie, Renee and Bella stood next to an open grave. Laying on top of the grave was a slate gray casket with a spray of blue hydrangeas, white roses and calla lilies. It was a beautiful floral arrangement, but it represented something so awful. Angela Lillian Swan was inside that casket, never to see another sunrise again, or to laugh at a joke or play another concerto.
Alistair Meyers, the conductor, handed Renee a violin, his violin, to be placed into Angela's casket, as hers was destroyed in the fire. Just before they closed the coffin, Renee placed the violin inside, along with a note. Charlie stood rigidly, tears falling freely down his face as he stared as his beloved daughter, taken too soon from this world. He refused to say goodbye to her, only vigilantly searching for the cause of the apartment fire.
Bella held two items in her arms as she approached her sister's casket. The first thing was the wacky-eyed doll from the tree house. "He'll keep you company, Ang," Bella whispered. "You carried him everywhere." Blinking down, her vision was clouded with tears. The second item was the sheet music for the concerto she'd played the night she died. It was in her locker at Benaroya Hall, complete with her hastily scribbled notes and circles, indicating accelerandos, ritardandos and comments about bowing. She hugged it to her chest before tucking it next to Angela, underneath the violin. "I love you, Ang. I know you're with me, always. We share the same 'jeans' and I hope I make you proud," Bella said, leaning forward and kissing Angela's cold forehead. As she pulled back, a sob ripped from her lips and she stepped to her mother's side.
Now, standing next to the gravesite, Bella's tears had stopped falling. She stared blankly at the floral spray as Angela's casket was lowered down. Every inch further down was another wall that was being put up around her heart. The pastor said his final benediction and the families began leaving the gravesite, heading to Angela's favorite restaurant, Il Terrazzo Carmine, for a luncheon to 'celebrate' her life.
Bella felt nothing.
She had no more emotions to give, to share.
She was just a shell.
Without her twin, the feelings of joy, sadness and everything in between were lost on Bella. Having Angela in her heart is not the same as being able to talk to her, but she'd keep Angela safe in her heart. Never giving it to anyone, with the walls securely protecting her.
A/N: Here's our second chapter. It was a doozy, to be honest. Emotionally charged, for certain. I (Tufano79) was crying as I was writing the last part.
Anyhow, you can find us both on Facebook ~ Tufano79's Twilight Fanfiction, HeartforTwilight Book Group, and HeartforTwilight Productions for manips made for the story. Come join our groups for exclusive teasers. We both also have blogs, too. Tufano79 is on twitter, as well … tufano79.
As always, we welcome any comments! Leave a review, please! We'll see you with the next chapter, which will be less of a downer.
Thanks for reading!
Tufano79 & HeartForTwilight