A/N: I do not own Twilight, or any of its characters, it all belongs to Stephenie Myer! Thank you to everyone who has added this story as an alert already, and to those kind souls who have reviewed. It is most encouraging! This is my debut fanfic, so be gentle, it's my first time. Just a short note to let you all know that this is going to be written in the third person, not the usual first person EPOV/BPOV. I am a bit tired of only reading first person and thought it would be much more interesting to be able to include insights that are unknown to our Bella and Edward yet. So, fear not, we will get more and more into Edward's (gorgeous but slightly disturbing) head as we progress. Thanks to my beta, bookbag, who is truly my Tyler Durden.


Chapter One: The Cullen Dimension

Bella's car slid down the hill towards Forks like a toy train on a rail. She imagined her car was a sentient creature, that knew its way, and she smiled at the silly thought.

When she was a child, she had always fancied inanimate objects to be alive, to have personalities and opinions, purposes and fates, things that she herself was denied at every turn. She had instead contented herself with naming a tree, a chair, her bicycle, ridiculous childish names, imagining them to be her friends, aides on her quest.

When Edward had found out, she had been taunted mercilessly, and she had forced herself to abandon these thoughts.

Edward, her traitorous mind squeaked with a tinge of hysteria. Stop, she warned her mind, taking a healing deep breath and began a short visualization technique.

Her psychologist, Angela, always told her to envisage the best possible outcome instead of jumping to a worse case scenario.

Bella imagined arriving in Forks, the sun breaking through the clouds and the rain stopping. She imagined stepping out of her car, feeling the crunch of gravel in the Cullen's sweeping driveway.

She imagined walking up the stone steps to the gothic revival stone mansion, and for once it didn't look like a haunted house.
Getting into the vision now, Bella relaxed further, picturing being met by the Cullen family in the foyer. Emmett would lift her off her feet like he always did, and she would lay her head on her shoulder and think of a bear.

Carlisle would kiss her cheeks and she would smell his distinct smell; like a musty library.

And Edward would be there, too. He would politely exclaim that it had been at least five years since they had seen each other. Six, actually, she would correct with a smile. He might joke with her about some of their childhood crimes, and as he leant down to embrace her she would feel…. Nothing. And he would hear nothing.

As they pulled away from each other, they would look at each other in relief, knowing it was finally over. They would all congratulate her on her engagement, and Emmett would go to the cellar to find a bottle of champagne.

And then, Bella would climb the stairs to the second floor, to see her Godmother Esme. She would be propped up in bed, looking remarkably well and not at all ravaged by cancer, and a dark suited specialist would exclaim to Carlisle that it was a miracle. They would all drink toasts to Esme's health, to Bella's happiness, and…..

A deer leapt nimbly out of the wet green foliage and in front of Bella's car, snapping her out of her far-fetched fantasy. She swerved sharply and let out a hollow laugh. There was positive visualization, and then there was deluding oneself. Her heart heavy, she drove onwards towards grief.

*o*o*o*o*o*o

She found the concealed driveway with no trouble. She could have found it in her sleep. Her little cream mini's nose nudged aside the ferns, and she was in their world now, into the Cullen Dimension as she privately thought of it.

The drive sloped down sharply, and she lost her stomach, the world seeming to tilt on its axis momentarily. This happened to her every time.

She wondered briefly who was now living in the house she and Charlie had shared together during her childhood. It had been sold about four years ago. She felt no pang for it; she had never considered it to be her home. It had stood just outside the Cullen Dimension, separated by a thicket of trees that were almost permanently shrouded in creepy mist.

Running through the field and trees as a little girl, she had imagined that she could feel the exact moment that she crossed over.

Bella truly felt privileged to have been raised as an honorary Cullen. After her mother had died when Bella was five, Charlie was completely destroyed and to this day had not recovered.

He was like a city that had been bombed, and no one could bear to rebuild. Life post-Renee held no interest for him, and he continued with his endless cycle of waking, policing the town, returning, eating, sleeping. He had been beyond grateful that Bella's Godmother (and Renee's best friend) had taken Bella off his hands. That way, he did not have to look at the tiny, worried face, the dark brown eyes that were so like her revered mother's.

He would hold out her gum boots, one at a time for Bella to thread her legs into, and she would start the long trek across the fields to the Cullens, usually carrying a satchel containing a nightgown and her school uniform.

Bella smiled as she thought of Esme. How she would have survived those post-Renee nuclear wasteland years without Esme, she did not know. Extravagant, bohemian, warm Esme. She was one of those people who exuded a light.

Bella was acutely aware of the honour bestowed upon her every time the front door was opened. Bella had always felt on the outer edge of their sphere, and even though she was included by Esme and Carlisle as if she had been their daughter, she had always felt separate; analyzing every gesture for any traces of pity.

She had realized long ago that there was one person tangled up in and inextricable from every memory of her childhood. Edward. He had been born three hours before Bella; Renee and Esme had always joked that they were twins born to different mothers.

They were born at the same hospital, and slept their first night on Earth in the hospital, in cribs side by side. They were definitely a strange sort of twins.

Bella shook off the disturbing thought as she felt her car's tyres crunching the gravel driveway, and with dizzying relief saw that Edward's car wasn't there. She let out a breath that burned her lungs like acid and felt like she had been granted a reprieve. She could pretend he didn't exist for a while longer.

*o*o*o*o*o*o

Bella tried the front door. Finding it unlocked, she stepped inside hesitantly, the nostalgia washing over her. The air tasted different inside these walls.

"Carlisle?" she called. "Emmett?" She took in the wide staircase directly before her; the dark wood paneled walls, the portraits of Cullens past.

Bella stuffed her keys into her pocket and crossed the foyer to the right, down the dark hallway, past the empty sitting room, into the sunlit industrial kitchen. Nobody. There was not a sound, apart from the tick of the clock and the drone of the refrigerator. There were some dishes in the sink.

Carlisle had told her to wait until he had spoken to her before she went up to see Esme. Bella knew this meant that Esme was very bad. That she had very little time left. Bella was amazed that she was not crying yet. She was so used to the lump in her throat she barely felt it anymore.

She stood on tiptoe, absently noticing the pots of fresh herbs on the windowsill needed watering, but could see nobody outside in the garden. Perhaps they had gone out, she thought, exhaustion gripping her suddenly like a mugger in a dark alley. She had been driving for almost seven hours.

She drank from the kitchen tap, marveling at how delicious the water in this house was. It truly was like a strange kingdom she had stumbled into. She splashed some water on the herbs. Maybe just a short lie down, she thought to herself, going back out of the kitchen and into the sitting room, collapsing on the musty chaise that had cradled her through countless childhood illnesses. She managed to toe off her sneakers. She fell asleep so instantly that it could have been a faint.

*o*o*o*o*o*o

Bella was dreaming, knew she was dreaming. She was watching her younger self and Edward, sitting on the lowest branch of a tree in the ghostly thicket of trees separating their houses. Probably seven years old.

They were holding hands, as always. People found that sweet when they were five, slightly unusual when they were ten. By fifteen, it caused a great deal of concern, and phrases like 'unhealthy bond' were tossed around. By sixteen, Edward held her not by the hand, but by the wrist, a human restraint. She could still remember the hot, electric sting of his skin on hers.

"Bella," Seven year old Edward was saying, "You are mine. You are my person. Don't argue," he added, though she had not spoken, "It won't help. I own you."

Adult Bella, watching this dream through a window in her memory, opened her mouth to scream at her younger self, scream at her to fight back, to drop his hand and sever the connection.

She watched as her younger self bit her lip, wanting to speak up, opening her mouth to speak finally to argue back but biting back the words as Edward's frown darkened. She saw his fingers digging into the back of her palm, and marveled at how strange and unnatural, yet irrefutably true his assertion was.

The dream shifted, altered, and she recognized the setting: the school gym, her junior prom. She was seeing the scene now through her own eyes, rather than an observer. Standing on the edge of the dance floor, awkward in her black sleeveless dress, waiting for hours to be asked to dance. She was supposed to be here with Edward as her 'date' (Esme had insisted) but he had abandoned her the moment they had entered the doors.

A new boy she recognized from Math class approached her, and they chatted for a moment about how he was enjoying Forks. "Do you want to dance?" He had asked awkwardly and she felt herself smile.

"No, she won't ever dance with you." Edward, materializing out of nowhere, his voice dripping with sarcasm.

As he dragged her away to deposit her somewhere else, she heard another boy's voice say, "Dude, that was asking for trouble." Bella felt the pull of his hand on her arm, like she was being dragged into a vortex.

It was her strangled scream that jolted her awake. That and the sound of a car door slamming.

*o*o*o*o*o*o

Bella leapt to her feet, wincing as her stiff back protested and went to the window.

She could see the back end of a silver Aston Martin, formerly Carlisle's car from his college days, parked half in the patch of marigolds bordering the drive. There was no movement visible. No sound from the front door. If Esme saw those crushed, muddied marigolds she would have dragged Edward over the coals.

Still no sound. Bella stood still, like a frightened rabbit. Her stomach cramped painfully in anxiety.

Hating herself, she stuffed her feet back into her sneakers, and ran through the kitchen, out into the air, and ran across the fields. Her heavy brown hair kept swirling around, obscuring her vision, causing her steps to grow irregular in the squelching wet turf.

She had no thought of deep breathing exercises, of positive visualization, of little affirmations about how she was a strong person. All her months of cognitive therapy with Angela had been leading to this moment.

But instinct had taken over, and Bella did the opposite of what she had planned to do. If he was watching from the window, which he probably was, he would see she was fleeing and he would laugh in delight.

He couldn't actually hear her mind unless he was touching her skin, and Bella had to remind herself that he wasn't some God-like, omniscient presence. He couldn't hear her thoughts as she ran through the muddy field. He couldn't reach her yet, but she knew he would soon.


A/N: Chapter Two, and Edward, coming very soon….

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