AN; Beta'd by Frannie. All remaining errors are all mine. No update shedule whatsoever.
A Night to Remember.
It was very late, and the traffic on the motorway was hectic. Edward Cullen was furious as he maneuvered his car in between the almost stationary vehicles around him. He gunned the engine once he saw an escape route, scaring the only driver blocking his way into reversing a scant few inches to allow his Corvette to pass with little room for error.
The audition he had just attended had been an utter success and yet he was dissatisfied, and even he couldn't understand why. This was success at it very finest.
The motorway sped by at alarming speed as Edward threw his car into top gear and put his foot down. Once he left the thoroughfare, he didn't slow much as he made his way down the dark, but well-lit streets towards a rendezvous with his part-time girlfriend, Jessica Stanley.
Everything in his life seemed worthless, annoying, and just plain stupid more often than not. Fame had grown boring, and the inevitable invasion of Edward's privacy had been mind-blowing. Wherever he went, men and women mobbed him for a picture. A selfie with a famous actor had become the norm, and Edward wondered what the hell had happened to a good old-fashioned autograph. But no, now it was expected of him, and every other celebrity, to always have a ready smile waiting and endless amount of time to pose with strangers for photos that would be plastered all over Facebook and Twitter by the very next hour. It all made him feel very, very tired.
His existence had ceased to have meaning for him and everything he did and said was tinged with his dissatisfaction with life in general.
There had to be a way that was fucking-better than this to live. He was literally a hunted man and fame and all it entailed just weren't a big enough pay off anymore, maybe it never had been.
The streets of London were busy even though it was raining lightly. The old buildings shone dimly as the last rays of a weak, afternoon sun momentarily broke through the thick dark clouds.
Jessica lived two blocks away from where Edward was stopped at a traffic light. As soon as it changed, he sped far faster than he should have around the corner. His cell phone lit up beside him on the seat and for one second he glanced downwards at it.
Just at that moment, he felt a dull thud vibrate through the steel of his car. He looked up to see a small, pale face stare at him in horror.
"Oh shit, fucking hell no!" Edward said as he slammed on the brakes and left the car running as he dove out of the door to examine what he had done.
At first, his impression was that he'd hit a child, for the figure was slight and the face small, surrounded by a vast amount of hair.
"Ugh...Oh God, it hurts...ow...shit...fuck..."
The language, however, was not childlike, nor were the wide dark eyes or soft lips. Edward knelt beside the prone figure, trying to help the girl to rise as she struggled to right herself.
"I'm so very sorry, are you hurt? I didn't see you." Edward said his tone sincere and worried.
The dark eyes lifted to his face, and he half expected the recognition he usually encountered on a daily basis. Instead, there was only a burning anger in the dark murky depths of fathomless brown.
"Hurt? Of course, I'm fucking hurt, you moron! You hit me with your fucking car!"
Edward recoiled, not expecting the tiny girl to have quite so much anger in her.
"Look, little girl, I'm sorry, I'm just trying to help you. I didn't mean to hurt you. Let me take you to your parents...or something. Let me call an ambulance." Edward looked for his cell phone and remembered that it was the reason he'd hit this girl. It was still in his car.
"Don't you dare!" The small girl hissed up at him as she clutched something tightly in her hand, trying to hide it from his gaze. Edward took in her dirty clothes and disheveled hair and came to the conclusion that this small person must be a street urchin or a runaway.
"You need help, at least let me get you checked out to see if anything is broken."
"I don't need your help or your nose in my business mister! Just let me get up and...I'll be on my way and you...can be on yours...wherever you were rushing to." The small girl rose and winced in obvious pain as she stood straight.
Edward reached out and gripped her arm, surprised at its roundness. He'd presumed by her size that she was undernourished, but if his fingers weren't mistaken, she was simply tiny and not thin. It was hard to tell what was under that baggy t-shirt and ugly trousers that were several times too big for her.
Pity shone from Edward's eyes as he recognised poverty. The girl's chin went up instantly at that look, and her pride showed through as she turned to leave, still clutching her hand inside her shirt. "Don't feel sorry for me mister." She muttered tugging on her arm harshly for him to let go. "I don't need your pity."
"Can I at least give you a ride?" He asked, hoping she'd accept this small token.
The girl shook her head, "No thank you, mister, I can walk."
Edward released her arm and watched helplessly as she limped away.
Suddenly Edward realised that he shouldn't let a wounded child walk alone, no matter what she thought.
Determined, he followed her and scooped her up into his arms, and immediately the girl began to struggle. "Put me down! What do you think you're doing? I HAVE to go now...I am late for...Jo...something."
Edward merely smirked at her struggles and walked towards his car carrying his unwilling bundle. "Either I'm taking you to the hospital or home, the choice is yours."
"No! No hospital, please! I'm fine. Really. I just need to get home..."
Edward placed the girl on her feet and took her by the wrist to prevent her escape. "Ouch." She gasped wrenching her arm away in a futile attempt to hide something. Edward looked down at her arm and saw a dark red stain spreading over the sleeve of her shirt.
"Shit! You're hurt!" He said as he once more grabbed her wrist and tried to take a look. As he did so, something fell from her tightly clasped hand, and she made a dive for it. They both watched in horror as three hypodermic needles landed on the tarmac between them.
"You're a drug addict?" Edward said accusingly, his jaw tense, his free hand raking through his messed up hair.
The girl glared up at him, her face indignant and plenty angry. "Is that the only conclusion you could come to? Nothing else might come to mind? Do I look like a drug addict...never mind...don't answer that. It's none of your business who I am or what I do. So let's part ways and forget we ever met at all. I'm fine," she gestured to the blood. "It's just a scratch."
"I'm sorry; it's just the first thing I thought of. I can't just let you go when you're bleeding. At least let me drive you home. No hospital, I promise. I hit you, and I want to do something to say I'm sorry..."
"You could drive slower..." the girl muttered with a touch of irony as she bent to retrieve the needles. "Okay, take me home, but that's it!"
"Deal," Edward said at once. Feeling like he'd won some sort of victory for some absurd reason.
The streets were now dark as they drove, under the girls direction. They made their way down a dingy pockmarked road towards an ugly tenement building that had probably seen a world war or two. Edward swallowed hard, "Do you live here?"
The small girl nodded without a word as she prepared to get out even before he'd stopped. Edward leaned across and touched her shoulder. "Can I come in with you?"
The girl turned to him, and he was at once struck by her wide, thickly-lashed eyes, as dark as chocolate, starting at him with a trace of amusement. "What is it with you and trying to help? Is it because you're a rich man?"
Edward stared, his face fierce, eyes snapping green fire at her. "I'm not...no...Its not like that..." he finished lamely.
"You're not rich?" The girl asked, smug that she'd caught him out. In what she wasn't sure.
"Yes, I am...but that's not why I'm trying to help. I hurt you, and I want to do what's right. Please tell me the needles aren't for...drugs." he pleaded his fingers finding the bridge of his nose and rubbing furiously in agitation.
The girl regarded him solemnly as she replied. "No, theyre not for drugs...and theyre not for me. Theyre actually for...my little brother."
"What's wrong with him?"
"He's diabetic. It's insulin." The girl replied as her tightly clasped hand opened to reveal two vials of insulin.
Edward stared in shock at her. "Where are your parents?"
The girl shook her head and didn't reply, leaving Edward to guess that they werent with their children for whatever reason.
"You don't look old enough to be alone." He said at last.
"I'm old enough. We've been alone for a year now." Her chin rose again with endearing pride.
"What's your name?" He finally asked, seemingly at a loss for words.
The girl hesitated for a moment as she opened the car door, "It's Bella." She said climbing out slowly. "Thank you, mister. Not for hitting me, but for the ride."
With that parting comment, she was gone, her slight figure disappearing up the dingy building's fire escape stairway, which seemed to be permanently fixed to the ground on purpose.
Edward sat there in silence, not knowing what to do now that she was gone. He felt strangely off balance after this odd meeting with the girl he'd accidentally hit. He wanted to call the police or child services or something, anything to help the girl called Beautiful. But somehow, he just knew that doing that would cause her untold problems, and he didn't want to do that.
He'd done enough damage already.
He put the car into reverse and slowly pulled away from the derelict building his eyes watching every window he could see for a glimpse of that tousled head of mahogany hair.
He would come back tomorrow and see if she was okay, he decided.
Hed do something.
Anything, just to make sure they were okay.
Just then, his cell phone started to ring.
It was Jessica.
With a sigh, Edward put it on hands-free and explained to her that he was caught in traffic and that he was nearly there. It wasn't until he'd finished the call that he wondered why he'd found it necessary to conceal the real reason for his lateness from Jessica.
He raked his fingers through his slightly, too long hair as he drove, recalling dark, mysterious eyes and a set of disturbingly full lips on a tiny girl called Bella.
It was three days later when Edward had the time to track down the girl and her brother. In between movie sets and long hours of shooting his latest indie movie, Edward found the time to do a little grocery shopping and get some sweets to take back to that ramshackle building. Filming in his home town had its perks.
He was very careful that he wasn't being followed by the paparazzi, as he did several deliberate turns in the same direction to root out any cars tagging along with him.
Thankfully, there were none. Edward wasn't in the mood for yet another disruption of his privacy.
But right now, that didn't matter.
Truth be told, he'd thought of little else but Bella since he'd last seen her.
The petite girl with the wide eyes and the mouth of a sailor. Edward grinned to himself as he got out of his car and lifted the heavy, brown paper bag of groceries into his arms.
Gingerly climbing the rickety stairs up to the same landing he'd seen her use, Edward softly knocked on the door in front of him.
There was the sound of someone moving around inside before the door was opened slowly to reveal that same wild mop of shining hair and a perfect oval face. Bella gaped at Edward, her face a comical mixture of shock and horror.
"What are you doing here?" She hissed through her teeth, her eyes suddenly frightened as she slid through the tiny crack of the door and faced him pulling it closed behind her. "You shouldn't be here mister."
Edward frowned. "I wanted to make sure..."
"...That I'm all right...yeah, yeah I know...but you can't be here...it's not safe...okay? Just leave and forget where I live. I'm not one of your charity cases; we don't need savin'." Bella said harshly as she placed a small hand in the center of his chest and shoved him backward.
Anger narrowed Edward's eyes as he studied the tiny girl who faced him fearlessly but who was obviously terrified of someone or something inside her own home. "Look, little girl, I'm just trying to be...kind...I guess. I'm sorry I tried. Here, take this and I'll be on my way." Edward shoved the overflowing bag of groceries into Bella's arms and turned to leave, noticeably furious.
Bella stared in shock at the bag, her face dissolving into shame as she took in what was more food than she and her baby brother had seen in a very long time.
"Hey, mister." She called as loudly as she dared. "Thank you."
Edward froze at the bottom of the stairs and looked up at her. He shrugged, its fine, enjoy it. And if you ever need to find me for help or anything else, this is my number." He placed a piece of paper on the railing.
And with that, he was gone, leaving Bella to creep down the stairs to retrieve the paper before scurrying inside again so that she could feed her brother and then hide the rest of the food in the attic. A smile touched her lips as she imagined giving him some real food. He would be so excited.
Despite her misgivings about Edward, his gift was greatly appreciated, and needed more than he could imagine.
Author's note; This was an OS that I've broken into five, long chapters because it was just too long and because I've added to it. I've most of it written already, and will keep posting when I can. Thoughts?