Chapter 7

Title: Only Human (7/27) Author: Amethyst Jackson Rating: M/NC-17 Category: Drama, Angst, Romance Pairing: Edward/Bella Summary: A wish sends Bella back in time to Chicago, 1918, and to a human Edward. Disclaimer: All this genius belongs to Stephanie Meyer. I‟m just having a little fun. A/N: Back to the future. Again. And then back to the past.

I was prepared for the moment Carlisle gained new memories, already curious from remembering myself questioning Bella about their visit. …“I‟m married to him,” she told Carlisle. She looked so lost. “We were just getting back from our

honeymoon when this happened. He was going to change me…now it might never happen.” Carlisle‟s response was almost comical. “You married a vampire?”

“He has extraordinary control,” she said. Her eyes gleamed in the dim light. “He doesn‟t believe it,

but he does. He‟s never once hurt me…even though my blood calls to him more than anyone else‟s…”
I sighed to myself. She hadn‟t even been gone an hour – which I didn‟t understand at all, because she‟d been in my time for nearly twelve – but I missed her terribly. Perhaps the feeling was made worse by not knowing – not knowing if she would ever return, if I would have to watch her through my memories until…until she died or my human self died, I supposed. How could I endure it? “And your wish?” Carlisle asked Bella, who chewed on her lower lip like she did when she was

anxious.
“To give Edward all the human experiences he‟d been giving me, making sure I did everything

possible before he changed me…do you think that‟s it? That I actually wished my way here? Because it seems so far-fetched…”
So that was it. So simple, and yet with such great consequences. She was so foolish. As if I needed anything but her…but I suppose she would see us as uneven until she was one of us…if she ever became one of us. “Did you catch all of that, Edward?” Carlisle asked. “Most of it,” I sighed. “Do you really think she can get back to this time?” “I think she‟ll be back, once the wish is fulfilled. You‟ll have to be patient. Try to enjoy it – that‟s

what she intended.”
“Thanks, Carlisle,” I murmured, falling back into the memories. “I feel like I‟ve known you forever.” “I feel the same way,” she said to me. “But this all sort of scares me…”

Her hand was soft in mine. “I don‟t want you to be afraid.”
My past self didn‟t notice anything amiss, but I recognized the sadness in her eyes when I said those words. I wondered if she remembered how she replied…she‟d been afraid because she‟d wanted to stay with me, and neither of us believed she could…

Please come back to me, Bella…

Over the next few days, I went job hunting. If I was stuck in this time, it was important that I could provide for myself. And if I wasn‟t, it still needed to appear like I was.

Edward tried to dissuade me, but eventually settled for accompanying me, to make sure I didn‟t wind up in “some factory.” I suspected he only wanted an excuse to spend time with me, but I argued anyway. “Just what‟s wrong with factories? Plenty of respectable people work in them.” Edward rolled his eyes. “I‟m not being snobbish, Bella. Factory work is grueling and dangerous, and you‟ll be stuck working from dawn „til dusk. I don‟t want that for you, and I have a feeling you don‟t want that, either.” “Well, not especially, no,” I replied, appeasing him – he looked ready to drag me back home if necessary to keep me from working in a factory. “But I do want to do something. I hate not providing for myself.” “You know, any sane girl would be husband-hunting instead of looking for work,” Edward commenting, looking askance at me. I snorted, most unladylike. “Just what do you think my chances there are? Who would have me?” “I would,” Edward said, holding himself confidently but unable to hide the betraying hesitation in his eyes. “Oh? Is that a proposal?” I countered, expecting him to back down. “Yes,” he said, grinning. I rolled my eyes. I should have known better. “Gee, thanks,” I said, picking up my pace a bit. I felt the same frustration I did when I first met my Edward, before I knew what he was and had to constantly wonder what on earth he was thinking. “Is that an acceptance?” Edward asked, keeping pace with me, his eyes full of mischief. “Yeah, sure,” I laughed, shaking my head. He grinned again. “I‟ll hold you to that.” “Wouldn‟t surprise me,” I muttered under my breath. Job hunting was much, much harder in 1918, it turned out. Basically, my options were sewing, cooking and cleaning. Although I‟d claimed to work with a seamstress, I actually couldn‟t sew more than a button, so that wouldn‟t work. I told Edward I was sick of sewing for a living, so that my overlooking those jobs would seem less suspicious. I tried to apply for a few cooking jobs, but they all told me I was either “too young” or “overqualified.” Edward had to explain it to me. “I suppose this isn‟t the case in Washington, but a lot of employers try to fill jobs like that with Negroes. They can pay them less.”

It was hard to mask my horror. “But that‟s not right!” “No,” Edward agreed, “It‟s not. But unfortunately, that‟s the way it is.” It was strange to realize that I was living in a time before the Civil Rights Act, before minimum wage, even before labor rights…what on earth was I doing here? “Can I convince you to give up now?” Edward asked at the end of the third day. We walked slowly back to his house, bogged down by the heat and humidity after walking several city blocks. “Yes, I think you probably can,” I sighed, pushing my loose hair away from my face. His mother had shown me how to pin it up properly, much to my relief, but my hair was continually escaping to drive me insane. “Thank goodness,” he sighed. “It‟s much too hot for this.” “You volunteered to come,” I pointed out. He raised a disbelieving eyebrow. “To keep you from getting into trouble. And it‟s a good thing I did! You tripped four times today, and if I hadn‟t caught you the last time, you would have cracked your skull open.” I blushed and crossed my arms defensively. “I‟m just a little clumsy, that‟s all.” Edward burst out laughing. “Did I forget to mention the paper cut? And the jug of water you spilled? And the car that nearly ran you over? You‟re like a magnet for trouble!” Once again, the similarities between this Edward and mine stunned me. Their minds worked in exactly the same way; it seemed, down to their choice of words. And yet, this Edward was so carefree, unburdened. I mourned a little for him already, knowing the suffering he would endure if things worked out the way they were supposed to. “What‟s wrong, Bella?” he interrupted my thoughts. “I‟ve lost you.” “Just embarrassed to have my clumsiness so eloquently detailed,” I lied. His mouth tightened; he knew I was lying. I cut off further questioning. “What about you? Surely you have your flaws, too.” “My mother always says I think too much,” he smiled. I couldn‟t stop my answering smile. “Hmm, I can see that. I don‟t think it‟s a bad thing, though.” “No?” He leaned closer, stopping me in my tracks. “What if I was thinking about you?” I swallowed, feeling the heat of his intense gaze. “That…wouldn‟t be bad, either.”

“Really?” his whole face lit up with hope. “Because I‟m serious, Bella. I never thought I‟d meet someone whose company I enjoyed more than my own, but these past few days…the more I know you, the more I want to be near you.” I realized then, as he tentatively took my face in his hands, that this was an Edward with nothing holding him back. This Edward didn‟t have to struggle with his conflicting desires every moment of the day; he had everything in the world to offer, and nothing to protect me from. This was what our relationship could have been like all along, if only…but maybe it would be that way again, after he changed me…maybe he would be this confident, intent Edward that I was so besotted with now. “Edward…” I murmured, unsure. And then his lips covered mine. This Edward was warm, and his lips felt like satin. His mouth moved gently, chastely against mine before he stepped back. His hands dropped to his sides. “I‟m sorry – I know it‟s too soon for that, but I just –“ “It‟s okay,” I interrupted, grabbing his hand. “I didn‟t mind.” That lopsided grin appeared, and we started to walk again while my mind shuffled through my hazy thoughts. This all felt right, but wrong…right, because this was Edward – Edward‟s soul, even if the body was a little different…but wrong because it wasn‟t my Edward. Wrong because my secret remained between us…because I couldn‟t stay with this Edward. I knew that now. I had to find my way back, somehow, because I needed eternity. Nothing else would be enough. Yet my body called to this one, enchanted with the possibilities that had always been off-limits before. I wanted to feel Edward love me without restraint. “Bella?” his voice broke into my thoughts. “There‟s a dance tomorrow. Would you like to go with me?” I winced. Why did they always want me to dance? “Um, well, I would, Edward, but I don‟t have anything to wear, and I really can‟t dance.” “Come on, it‟s all in the leading. And we‟ll find you something. Please?” How could I resist those eyes? “All right, but you can‟t let anyone else dance with me. I‟m likely to do someone serious injury.” He laughed, his eyes sparkling. “Sounds like a bargain to me. Deal.”

Lying in bed that night, I tried to keep my mind in this time, on this Edward, but my thoughts continually wandered. I longed for my Edward‟s heavy arm around my waist, his cool breath on my neck. I wanted to be able to turn over and burrow into his chest, feel his lips on my hair, kiss his cool lips… I wanted to feel our naked bodies pressed together and wrap my legs around his hips… I sighed and rolled over for the umpteenth time that night. What was my Edward doing now? Did he know where I was? Was he panicking? I hoped to God he wouldn‟t give up until he found me…that he wouldn‟t try again what he did after I jumped off that cliff…no, surely he wouldn‟t. Surely he would wait for me to return. I closed my eyes against those thoughts. Somehow, this would all work out. I just couldn‟t feel very confident about it at the moment. I wanted to be comforted. I thought of Edward, sleeping down the hall…I didn‟t think he would mind if I went to him; he would understand. But I didn‟t want his parents to find out and think badly of me…

Just don‟t trip in the hallway, I said to myself as I threw the covers back. I crept out of my room,
closing the door as quietly as possible behind me. Five steps later, I was at Edward‟s door. Knocking would be too loud, so I went on in, hearing the barest click as the door shut behind me. He was fast asleep, with one arm curled around his pillow and the other underneath. I‟d never seen him look so peaceful. Even my Edward, who could be as still as a statue, had never looked this relaxed. I approached tentatively, listening to his soft breathing. Then I reached forward to touch his shoulder. He woke almost instantly, peering blearily up at me. “Bella? What‟s wrong?” “I just – I miss home,” I told him. It was the only way I could think to tell him the truth without giving myself away. “What can I do?” he asked, sitting up. “Can I just stay with you for awhile?” I asked hesitantly. “Of course, come here.” He pulled the blankets back for me to slide into the bed. I did, sinking into the comforting warmth as he spooned against me. His arms held me tightly, and it wasn‟t as hard to sleep after that.

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