Hey, guys! Writing something under 1.5K words always seemed daunting, if not downright impossible, to me, as I feel like I could not possibly encompass enough details within that word limit. So the Song to Story contest was the perfect opportunity to challenge myself and see what comes of it.

And it was worth it! The first place in the Public Vote category was a tie between this little story and "One Look", written by addict-writer (an AMAZING read, I highly recommend it). Thanks to everyone who read, reviewed and voted this story!

And special thanks to my dear CoppertopJ, for beta-ing this little thing.

Hope is a terrible thing. When people say it brings eternal misery, they mean it.

Because one second you are dancing under the light of the Perseids with the love of your life, making plans for the future and praying that they are more than feeble pipe dreams, and then the next he disappears without a trace, taking all hope with him, as if it had never existed in the first place. Two years of your life, down the drain. Forget about hitting the road in his dad's Camaro. Forget about singing off-key on a rooftop far away from the roar of the city. Forget about making love in a tent by the lake.

With him gone, there is no fucking point in even revisiting these memories, not even in my most masochistic reveries.

If I learned one thing, that would be that the hurt never really goes away. It's been an entire year now and nothing is quite as it should be: the food is never too tasty, the weather is never ideal and my mind is never in a sane place. I am not sure if I qualify as 'crazy' in the eyes of a specialist, but my chances have to be considerably high – since every damn night I hear him singing my lullaby. The air is always a little colder when that happens and I can almost see the pine-green of his eyes when the hypnotic tunes lull me to sleep. Deep down, I know there is a real possibility that I am losing my mind, but I am oddly at peace with the thought, if it means I get to have a part of him, however small or insignificant.

Everyone thinks he is dead, even his parents. For the longest time, I thought they were all morons for giving up on him like that. Because he can not possibly be dead, when his voice resonates so clearly in my room every night, right? But then it's October and the first silent night comes along, not a trace of his velvet voice flowing in the darkness, and I realize everyone else may actually be right. So I start questioning myself. Have I been hallucinating all along? Have I just gone through the weirdest form of denial? Am I a moron too now?

But the time for questions runs short when Angela drags me out of the apartment for a New Year's Eve night in the club, enticing me with promises of 'forget everything just this once'. And I try. Goddamn, I try to forget. I accept several pairs of foreign arms around my waist, even if I hate them all with a burning passion. They don't know how I like to be held, nor what I want to hear, which becomes most obvious when they lean in to whisper indecent proposals in my ear.

So I say 'no' to each and every one of them. And I am ready to say 'no' yet again and run to hide in the bathroom when a new pair of arms wraps around me, but something stops me in my tracks. Their coldness is eerie, unexpected – inhuman almost. However, their hold on me is unmistakably familiar, like a comforting fairytale you hear on repeat as a kid, one that you never get tired of.

Then I hear his voice and my entire world is set aflame with four simple words.

"God, you smell delicious."

I turn around, expecting nothing and getting everything.

Because Edward is standing in front of me – way too tall, unfairly handsome and, most importantly, alive.

Words abandon me as I try to make sense of what is happening. His arms are still around me, locking me in place with fierce determination. My heartbeat is a mess, making it hard, but not impossible, to process everything else: his sharp jaw, his chiseled nose, his tempting mouth. For a second, I blame the lighting for the fact that his eyes are no longer green. But the longer I stare, the more I realize that the kaleidoscope of lights is not the culprit behind his freshly golden eyes. Something else – that I am not entirely sure I can comprehend – lies in these new amber depths. And while I cannot pinpoint what it is, I am aware that it has everything to do with an unspoken hunger.

There are several things I want to say to him. Terrified of the possibility that the illusion might shatter any moment, I go with the one that is equal amounts predictable and juvenile.

"Are you… real?"

His smile is bitter when he responds.

"I suppose I am."

My mind is scattered in a million directions, and I am fighting to collect myself while I still have time. But the struggle is harder than I expect it to be, and all the pent up questions freeze on my lips.

How are you here?

Why did you disappear?

What made you return?

And I know I should have more dignity and protest when his hand raises to touch my cheek in passing, before it settles on the side of my neck, but my pride leaves my body the moment he leans closer, taking a deep breath and filling his lungs with the air between us.

"It's been so hard to stay away from you," he groans. "To sing you to sleep each night without ever touching you… I still don't know if I am strong enough."

Even if I have no idea what he means with those last words, something else gets my attention – the confirmation that I was never insane.

"So it was you!"

"Obviously, love."

"But… how? Why?"

The conflict on his face pierces through me, powerful and strong.

"It's a long story. And an ugly one at that, so I understand if this all seems too much. While I still love you with everything that I have, it is understandable if you want to step away now, while there is still time. Maybe find someone else, then-"

I listen to my instincts and stop him with one finger pressed against his lips, and, against all odds, it works. Our eyes meet and the realization hits me with full force: it doesn't matter that their pine-green shade is nowhere to be seen. It doesn't matter that his usual warmth has been replaced by an unearthly coldness. It doesn't even matter that I spent a year grieving him. Because whatever sepulchral force has taken over him, he is still my Edward.

And nothing and no one could ever compare to him.

"I don't want anyone else, I want you," I tell him, no glimmer of doubt behind my words. "Whatever that entails."

"You're wishing for dangerous things, my Bella…"

I have to interrupt him again, this time pulling on his hair, to bring his face closer to mine.

"I love you, Edward. Danger and all. So tell me everything I don't know."

His groan sends blazing electricity down my spine, and he doesn't have to make any effort to get me to lean my head back, because I do it automatically when I feel his cool breath getting closer to my neck. Before I know it, he moves us into a dark corner of the club, away from inquisitive eyes.

"Do you trust me?" he asks.

"I do."

And as I close my eyes and his mouth opens against my throat, I know I made the right decision.

So what are your thoughts on this? I'd love to hear them!

The idea of Edward and Bella being a human couple before one of them gets changed has been on my mind for a while. While this particular story is complete, I might tackle this plotline in the future, so stick around ;).

If you're in the mood for other vamp-stories, check out my profile, as they are the only thing I am capable of writing, LOL.

Stay safe and happy!