"Study of a Girl's Head" Thomas Eakins

Future Oneshot 2

“I’m confused. We were just here yesterday.”

It was Saturday morning and the Art Museum was packed. I’d wanted to spend more time in bed, but Edward insisted we get up bright and early and head out. Since it was his birthday weekend, I didn’t argue with him. Still, after the previous night’s marathon sex, a couple extra hours of sleep would have done wonders for my mood.

“There was something I wanted to show you, but we left last night before I got the chance.”

I let out an annoyed sigh. “There’s nothing on display in this building I haven’t seen.”

“Perhaps, but there may be some things about certain pieces of art you don’t know.”

We entered the American Art wing, and Edward led me to the Thomas Eakins gallery.

“I know all about The Gross Clinic,” I informed him. “I was one of the thousands of little people who donated money to keep it in town.”

He pulled me past Eakins’ career-defining work, stopping instead in front of a small painting of a young woman in profile.

“This is my favorite piece in the museum,” he explained.

“Really?” I took another look at the painting. She was pretty, but not spectacular.

He nodded.

“In all the time we spend here, you never mentioned it?”

“I had my reasons.”

“That surprises me. I mean, she may be topless, but you can’t even see her nipples.”

He rolled his eyes. “Have you ever really looked at this painting?”

I shook my head. “No offense, but portraits bore me. They always seem posed and contrived.”

“That’s valid to an extent, though this is an artist’s study, which makes it different. I saw this for the first time when I was thirteen years old. I stood here and stared to the point that it was embarrassing. Everything about her captivated me—her coloring, her facial expression…”

“Her breasts.”

“Those too,” he admitted, laughing. “Look at her. She’s beautiful, but you can tell there’s so much more to her than that. I decided then this was the kind of woman I wanted to find for myself, and promptly went home and jerked off to the picture of this painting I found on Wikipedia.”

“Why are you telling me this?”

“I need to put certain things in context for you.”

“Okay. So was this before or after your father bought you porn?”

“Before. He bought me the porn after I jizzed all over my laptop.”

I couldn’t contain my laughter. It was so Edward to be that honest.

“I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall for that Genius Bar discussion.”

“Yeah, I honestly don’t know how that went down. I just know the next day when I came home from school, on my bed there was a stack of Playboys, a new computer, a box of tissues on my bed and note from my dad telling me under no circumstances was the laptop to be used in conjunction with the other two items.”

It was meant to be a light-hearted story, but I felt a twinge of sadness that Carlisle couldn’t see the wonderful man that thirteen-year-old boy had become.

“Anyway‚” he continued, “none of the women in those magazines compared to the girl in this painting.”

“Is it really that remarkable?”

“I think it is. Natural, unassuming beauty from the inside out is hard to come by. I was beginning to think it didn’t exist, then one day at school, I passed it in a hallway. Four years ago today, in this very building, I got up the nerve to ask her out on a date.”

Whoa. What?

I studied the face of the girl in the painting, and suddenly it all made sense.

“She looks like me‚” I whispered.

“Almost exactly.” He laughed. “It’s no wonder you weren’t impressed with her looks, considering how you’re not terribly impressed with your own. I know you’ve often wondered why I fell so hard and fast. It would have been impossible for me not to fall in love with you. You have the mind of an intellectual, an appreciation for art and music, and the face of my early-teenage wank material.”

I laughed, but didn’t take my eyes off the painting. My hair was slightly darker than hers, but we had the same lips and nose. Her breasts were bigger than mine, but most women’s were. Though I’d always credited the peepholes to the start of our relationship, it never occurred to me that the Art Museum also held the reason he was attracted to me in the first place.

I turned around to find him down on one knee holding his mother’s ring. Even though I knew this was coming—I’d seen the ring in his luggage last night—nothing prepared me for the actual moment.

Not knowing what to say, I stated the obvious. “I can’t believe you’re actually kneeling.”

“I don’t know why you’re surprised.” He laughed. “It may seem like a role-reversal of sorts, but I’ve actually been on my knees before you since the first moment I saw you. Now be quiet, or you’ll ruin this.”

“I’m sorry, I just…”

He shot me a warning look before clearing his throat. “You’re my best friend, my lover, my confidante, my muse.” He paused and looked at me expectantly. “My wife?”

In the beginning of our relationship, he may have felt like he was on his knees. I may have even passively encouraged this by trivializing him. Despite that early lack of balance, I liked to think we were on equal footing now.

I knew it was traditional for a man to kneel while proposing to a woman, but because of our history, the visual bothered me. Edward’s ideal of love and beauty was a painting, not a statue. If our marriage was going to work, there could be no pedestals. Very slowly, I lowered myself to my knees in front of him. My voice wasn’t much louder than a whisper when I answered.

“Yes.”

He slid the ring on my finger and pulled me into his arms. We were surrounded by the uproarious applause of strangers, but even that couldn’t bring me out of our moment. In a gallery packed full of people, there was only him.

“Can we go back to the hotel now?” I asked.

“Absolutely.”

We hurried through the throng of anonymous well-wishers, but took our time walking back to the Ritz-Carlton. As we walked down the Parkway holding hands, my mind played a montage of some of the moments that brought us to here.

“I can’t believe I didn’t realize it had been exactly four years.”

“Exactly four years‚” he repeated. “That’s one thousand four hundred sixty-one days. Over two million minutes.”

“It’s a lot of time.”

Some of those days—the ones we’d spent apart—were the hardest of my life. I walked around numb and distanced, and though my heart pumped blood through my veins, I wasn’t alive. I could say winning Edward back changed this, but that wasn’t exactly true. Somewhere during the struggles of trying to make myself worthy of him, I realized I’d been worthy all along. It was the person I presented to the rest of the world who wasn’t—the person who used her own fear of being hurt as justification for hurting others. I’d allowed my fear to break me, and in learning to let go of the past, I became whole.

Equally important, the past four years taught me how insignificant eight years could be. It was hard for me to believe I’d ever thought the difference in our ages was an issue.

“It’s a drop in the bucket compared to the rest of our lives,” he said, squeezing my hand.

It was easy for me to believe we’d be together as long as we both breathed. I knew it wouldn’t always be easy, but I didn’t doubt it would always be enough.

When we got back to our hotel room, Edward pulled me into his arms and kissed me. He took his time, as if he had no intention of allowing things to progress.

“I see how it is,” I teased. “We’ve been engaged less than two hours, and already you’ve lost interest in our sex life.”

“Oh, I’m interested. I just want to take my time and savor this. I’ve always belonged to you. I’m having a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact you finally belong to me.”

“I have for a long time now.”

He shrugged. “What can I say? I’m a traditionalist.”

I looked at my hand and wondered if I’d ever get used to the cluster of diamonds and sapphires that now adorned it. Not because of the monetary value of the ring itself. As far as that was concerned, I didn’t even want to know. Besides, I would have worn a plastic spider ring if that was what Edward offered me with his heart. I was far more in awe of what the ring symbolized.

He noticed my stare. “In case you’re wondering, she insisted.”

“Huh?” I asked.

“My mother. I told her I was going to ask you to marry me and asked her to come with me when I picked out your ring. She took what is now your ring off her finger and told me to give it to you. She said you were already her daughter, and this made it official. I asked her if she was sure she was truly ready to part with it, and she said it was time.”

“I think I’m going to cry.”

Edward looked panicked. “It’s okay if you’d rather have something different; neither of us would be offended. I just thought since it had been in my family for over a hundred years and you love antiques so much…”

“No, I want it,” I insisted.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes.” I could never turn down anything that tied me to Edward and Esme. I was just concerned about what the ring represented to her. “It’s just…”

“What, Bella?”

“Won’t it upset your mother to see it on my hand?”

“I think she’ll experience a range of emotions, but nothing like that.”

“I can’t wait to see her and thank her.”

He laughed. “I figured. She’ll be coming out with us later. She knew I was planning to ask you this morning. So tell me—was this a good surprise?”

I needed to come clean. “I wasn’t completely surprised. I saw the ring in your bag last night when you had me look for your Dopp kit.”

“I planned that, too.”

Huh?

“Wait. What?”

“I wanted to surprise you, but I didn’t want to put you on the spot. I figured if you weren’t ready to say yes, you would have mentioned it last night.”

“Are you serious?”

He laughed. “You don’t really think I’m that absent-minded, do you? No guy wants to get turned down during a public marriage proposal.”

I had mixed feelings about his admission. I was thankful for his consideration, but I couldn’t believe he thought there was a chance I would decline.

“Don’t you remember what you said to me four years ago?”

He shook his head.

“‘We both know you have no intention of ever telling me no.'” I wrapped my arms around his neck. “It’s more true now than ever.”

He smiled. “I think I’d like to test this.”

“Go right ahead.”

“Do you love me?” he asked.

“Yes.”

“Do you trust me?”

“Yes.”

“Do you want to marry me?”

“Yes!” I insisted, giggling.

“Will you let me pay the mortgage?”

I should have known he would be a sneaky little shit.

“If you insist, but only after we’re married.”

“Fair enough,” he said.

“May I make a request of you?” I asked.

“You can have anything you want.”

“Make love to me.”

True to his word, he complied. Naked in his arms, I realized the ring on my finger did nothing but announce to the world something I’d known for some time. I was loved and wanted. I finally belonged.





Leave a Reply

23 Responses

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

  1. on 05 Mar 2010 at 3:43 pmshivis315

    heyyy the story is great….
    i'd like to know where i can read it all.. i haven't all chapters and im really really looking forward to do it— buhhh i need it xD well i guess that's all.. hehe id really appreciate if you could answer me thanks!

    [Reply]


  2. on 05 Mar 2010 at 3:44 pmshivis315

    1° umm xD

    [Reply]


  3. on 29 Apr 2010 at 2:50 amSandyJ

    Thanks for this story. I just discovered FanFic about 8 months ago and just “stumbled” into Counterpoint at the Twilight fansite last week. I was completely engrossed! The references to AA5 confused me and I clicked to find the story. Naturally, I know now that it’s gone. Thanks for the invite to check out your site. That’s how I found the excerpts. I, too, wish there was some way to read the story. But I’m grateful for what you have provided. The disadvantage for people who did not read the story is that we don’t really know Bella. The Bella from Edward’s point of view only (before I read the excerpts) is a very selfish, self-involved person. It is/was hard to believe she changed (based on Counterpoint) because we couldn’t see any of the transition. She seems so shallow–and yet her pain is hinted at enough that we can kind of guess. I like the Bella in the AA5 excerpts so much better. I, like others, wish I could have journeyed with her. But I love your Edward. And yes, you can name them any other names you want and republish your story! But there are some endearing characteristics from the Twilight characters–very subtle ones that you include. Thanks again for your story.

    [Reply]


  4. on 10 Sep 2010 at 10:10 pmLauren

    I occasionally reread your writings on ff, and was so pleased to see that AA5 was available again for a limited time. This story is so raw. I reaches me in a way that one would never expect fanfiction to. You have done an astounding job with these characters and this work. You should be proud of what you’ve created.

    [Reply]


  5. on 23 Sep 2010 at 11:32 pmNancy

    Thank you for allowing your story to be shared again. I read this story while it was posted on ff and was sad to hear of the trouble you went through. I re-read this story in a span of three days because (besides work and sleep) there is nothing more I wanted to do!
    Looking forward to your future works.
    -n

    [Reply]


  6. on 25 Sep 2010 at 10:46 pmShana

    thank you so much for sharing this wonderful heart warming story with me and the fans! You are amazing!! I heard there is a sequal to this? I am new and came across you on fanfic but knew your story was pulled.

    [Reply]


  7. on 28 Sep 2010 at 9:36 pmKH

    Thank you so much for this awesome story!! Its now one of my all time favorites!!!

    [Reply]


  8. on 29 Sep 2010 at 9:42 am50bestfriends

    Friend, Thanks for sharing this story. I enjoyed the art so very much and it made it more intimate when I read the story. Of course I wanted to arrest B when she first dated E, it was a little squirmy for me. Then I wanted to beat her when she left him, even though I knew she would.
    I cried for Esme’s two losses and am hopeful that her happiness will be displayed in counterpoint, although its already completed.
    Your writing was wonderful and quite frankly, I’m not sure why you’ve discounted your writing. I did miss the author notes for your story, which is unusual for me because I seldom read them.
    Your Bella was well developed and real. Edward was naive and adorable, maturing into something wonderful. The story line was simple and enthralling. Perhaps my favorite part of the story was the meet-cute which resolved into the proposal.
    Thank you for sharing the story and for its completion.

    [Reply]


  9. on 01 Oct 2010 at 7:12 pmlisa89

    I peeked at this when I saw it posted last week on LJ, but it’s so much more beautiful and lovely after having read the full story. I honestly can’t tell you how grateful I am that you’ve written this. I can’t get enough of this (fanfic) universe you’ve created, and I’m really glad there’s more stuff within it I have yet to read. I can’t seem to let go of these versions of Edward, Bella, Esme, Rose, etc. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever felt that way about a fic (and I know I’ve already said that).

    I was thinking about this in the afternoon, but I agree with Bella in this chapter – I can’t believe she made such a big deal about their age difference. It really doesn’t seem like that big of an issue to me, though perhaps that’s because of who I often keep company with. IDK.

    Wonderful, wonderful story. I can’t wait to read everything else from this universe that you’ve written. I’ve stuck them all on FF alert, which is my version of a TBR list (for some reason, my bookmarks on that site always get deleted, which is a pain in the rear).

    Thank again – so much!

    [Reply]


  10. on 12 Oct 2010 at 7:40 amMsLiss

    Wow i really enjoyed your stroy but more importantly i was thrilled to finally find it available to read again on the interwebs. It’s got a huge reputation, (now i know why) and i’ve been busing to read it for some time.
    thank you very much for allowing me to enjoy it.
    loved every minute fo it
    Congrats on a great story.

    [Reply]


  11. on 15 Oct 2010 at 2:42 amb

    heyy,

    i read this story awhile back and i wanted to read it again but i forgot the title..it took me forever to find this story AND boyy am i happy i found it. there is something about this story that sets it apart from the others and its nice to know that it available for us.

    [Reply]


  12. on 11 Nov 2010 at 11:23 pmKeeWit

    I loved this story! Counterpoint will always be a little bit more special to me because I read that first and because I always like Edward’s pov better than Bella’s. I started reading Some Little Girls and saw the announcement that you had posted Art after 5 again, so I wanted to make sure I took advantage of the chance to read the “original.” I’m so glad I did. I’ve been a little bored with the fandom lately, but this story renewed my devotion. Thanks again for giving those of us that missed Aa5 the first time the chance to read it!

    [Reply]


  13. on 22 Nov 2010 at 2:28 amHeather

    This has been an intriguing reading experience. I spent the last two days reading Counterpoint and I wasn’t even immediately aware that there was a story in Bella’s POV as well. It is very interesting to see how the two stories complement one another- providing scenes and details that help the reader understand each story better. I found that my view of Bella was very different when I read her thoughts and perspective. My view of Edward changed too when I saw him through Bella’s eyes and not necessarily how he saw himself. I liked how the story is told differently, so that the reader doesn’t feel like the same exact story is being repeated. I noticed that even some of the dialogue was slightly different. I think this is incredibly indicative of how two people can experience the same events differently- thus shaping their perception and story. Very nicely done!

    [Reply]


  14. on 25 Nov 2010 at 7:50 pmBooksgalore/Bookishqua

    Loved the plastic spider line. And you made me cry over Esme, damn you. I never cry. :) Books

    [Reply]


  15. on 27 Nov 2010 at 10:19 pmJulie

    This was a truly beautiful story. I feel like I’ve been audience to real people. You’re a very talented writer. Thank you for taking the time to share this with us.

    [Reply]


  16. on 24 Dec 2010 at 4:35 amrosy

    finally…
    thank you so much for your amazing love story of edward & bella.
    how beautiful your writing was… i laugh, sob, cry, sometimes mad and most of time, i was moved. you really got me. and thank you for that! i had a wonderful time with your awesome story.
    especially, your edward…. (i’m in love,YES!)
    then, today is christmas eve. (oh god, you gave me such a lovely gift! thank you again!)
    I really wish you a very merry christmas!
    and, yes!!! i am gonna send you a lot of love and hugs and kisses:))) oxoxoxo rosy via japan

    [Reply]


  17. on 06 Jan 2011 at 6:35 pmTSM

    I read AA5 in one sitting until 5am. It was enthralling the layer of emotions that developed the young heart on slip Edward and a world weary (sex/love wise) Bella. Though I was sceptical about such a young Edward with a older (teacher at that) it unfolded beautifully and laid to rest my being ‘uncomfortable’ with a child being involved with an adult. This was a issue I did have in the Twilight books was the age difference. Your writing is beautiful and I had shed quite a few tears especially with the loss of Carisle. Will now go back and check out your other stories. Thank you for sharing your writing.

    [Reply]


  18. on 07 Jan 2011 at 12:16 amSea4Me

    So beautifully done! It’s an interesting experience to accidentally read this as a prologue and then again now. It’s richer this time, but was enjoyable even w/o context.

    Thank you again & again for sharing your beautiful people with me.

    [Reply]


  19. on 07 Jan 2011 at 10:15 amSea4Me

    So much I think of at the wrong times, but need to add at least this: love the art, the title word play, and the chance to see the works you reference. This particular work & chap tie together so much. I almost wonder if your composition started here.

    [Reply]


  20. on 30 Jan 2011 at 12:55 pmJanice

    Love it, Love it, Love it!!!

    [Reply]


  21. on 04 Mar 2011 at 2:16 amRandy

    No matter how many times I read this story it never gets old. Whenever I have a bad day or feel a little off, I escape real life by reading this. Thank you for writing it and for reposting it.

    [Reply]


  22. on 23 Mar 2011 at 10:35 pmRoxiegirl

    Thanks so much fo writing and sharing this story! I loved it! I’m a RAoR girl and heard about this last Sunday. I started and could not stop reading! Mwah!

    [Reply]


  23. on 07 Feb 2013 at 11:39 pmAhz

    I could read it a dozen times over and always want more. Thank you

    [Reply]