|Nothing Else Matters
Author: 22blue PM
Entry for the Fun With Your Clothes On O/S Contest. "She warned me if things didn't change she'd leave. Things didn't change. She's leaving... today." AH Rated M Edward/BellaRated: Fiction M - English - Angst/Romance - Edward & Bella - Words: 4,749 - Reviews: 104 - Favs: 199 - Follows: 48 - Published: 04-12-10 - Status: Complete - id: 5891403
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Fun With Your Clothes On One-Shot Contest
Title: Nothing Else Matters
Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight.
To see other entries in the Fun With Your Clothes On Contest, please visit the C2 page:
She warned me if things didn't change she'd leave.
Things didn't change.
She's leaving... today.
Bella walks - no stomps - from room to room and throws her things haphazardly into her suitcases. I don't have to watch her to know what she's doing because I'm finally paying attention.
This morning she said she's going to stay with her friend, Alice.
I hear our bedroom door slam shut, and I do nothing. I know it's the bedroom door because the hinges squeak. I should have sprayed them with WD-40 - it would have taken less than five minutes.
I sit on the couch we bought from a second-hand store, staring at the small wine stain on the cushion, and I can't move.
I spilled her wine one night, so many months ago. We were laughing, both of us drunk after emptying a couple bottles of her favorite red. I leaned over to kiss her, knocked her glass with my hand, wine spilled over the rim and splattered onto the cushion. We didn't care about those things then.
My body feels a thousand pounds heavier, and I'm nauseous. It's quiet. Too quiet. And I know I should go to her, try again, but I also know she won't listen.
I love her. She's told me she knows, but it's not enough... she wants more.
The sound of glass shattering and inanimate objects being thrown at my head are far better than the silence.
I lift myself from the couch, grab my cigarettes and lighter from my coat pocket, and step onto the balcony. Our apartment overlooks downtown Chicago; it's raining, and all I see are the tops of umbrellas swiftly moving in different directions on the sidewalks.
Bella has an umbrella - it's pink. I shield the flame of my lighter with my hand as I light my cigarette, inhale, and think about her throwing said umbrella at me to get my attention.
I take a long drag and fill my lungs, then exhale, blowing a thin stream of smoke into the thick air. She hates it when I smoke. She said it's going to kill me one day, but she's still kissed me and never complained about the taste. Sometimes I think she likes it - the taste, not the killing me part. Although lately I'm not so sure.
If I lean over the balcony railing and look to the left, I can see through our bedroom window. I want to do it, but I don't because I know she's crying. I'm a coward because she's crying about me, about us, and I can't stand to see her like this.
My cigarette is now down to the filter, and I extinguish it on the cement floor of the balcony under my shoe because I really don't give a shit.
The urge to write about how I'm feeling, what's happening between Bella and me, is nagging, but that would be a real shitty thing to do. I'm pissed at myself for even toying with the notion because I finally realize that's what she meant when she said I should go fuck one of my books. In very colorful words, Bella told me my true love was my work, not her. She was wrong. I tried to explain to her how wrong she was, but she wouldn't listen, and I lost my chance to prove it to her.
She gave me a year to show her, but things happened - big things. My novel made it to the New York Times Best Seller List. Granted, it didn't make me famous by any sense of the word, but I did have to commit to a small book signing tour. I called her from Phoenix on her birthday - I should have at least sent flowers.
I walk into the kitchen; it's a mess- there is a day's worth of dishes piled in the sink. I turn the water on to rinse them before putting them in the dishwasher. Bella's favorite mug, the one with a cheesy California billboard picture on it, has brown coffee stains inside, and I think that maybe if I had washed the dishes last night like I promised, she wouldn't be leaving today. Maybe not.
The dishwasher is running - its low hum almost soothing as it fills the silence. God, I fucking hate the silence.
A slow creak sounds, and my head snaps in the direction of our bedroom. All I see are her hands grasping the handle of the suitcase as she sets the first and then the second out into the hall. My heart begins to thump wildly because I don't want her to go... it hurts. She doesn't realize how badly I don't want her to leave.
Her long, brown hair is smooth, shiny and frames her face. I notice the auburn highlights and how much of a contrast the color is against her pale skin. She's so tired. Bella doesn't look at me for more than a fraction of a moment, but I already see her eyes are puffy and red.
"Please," I beg and move to stand in front of her.
"Get out of my way, Edward." Her intent is strong, but her voice cracks.
"Bella, please... don't go."
"It's too late," she says as she brushes by me.
She struggles with her suitcase, and I have no idea what she's packed, but I don't offer to help. I won't help her leave me any more than I already have.
I clench my teeth and eyes shut and swallow. "I love you." A lump rises in my throat, and I begin to cry. I move to stand behind her and touch her elbow; she stops. "Jesus, I love you so much."
"Fuck you," she spits. Bella drags her suitcases to the door and places her hand on the knob. "Don't call me, Edward. Just let me go."
I can't. I can't do this, and I run to her, slamming my hand against the door. She jumps; I've surprised her. My shaky hand hovers over her shoulder - I want to touch her. I lean close to her, my nose almost touching her hair, and I inhale.
"Don't," she pleads. She's crying now... again. I've made her cry so many times, but I never knew.
Alice called me this morning to tell me just that. She told me I was a selfish bastard, and I don't have a clue about what I'm doing to Bella. And then Bella started to pack. I asked her how long she planned to stay with Alice, when she was coming back - she called me a moronic motherfucker and said never.
"Anything. I know now. I know." My mouth is close to her ear, and I whisper, "You're everything... nothing else. Only you."
I can feel her head tilt slightly closer, but she pulls away. She spins around and punches at my chest, her hands balled into tiny fists. I stagger backwards, not from her strength but I'm unsteady because I can feel her. I can feel how much she hurts.
"Why, Edward? Why do you do this?" she sobs. She shakes her head, steps forward, and slaps me. My head snaps to the right from the force, and I immediately bring my hand to my cheek. It stings and throbs, and I had no idea how strong Bella is.
I deserved that.
We stare at each other for a few moments, and I simultaneously pray for another chance while cursing my own stupidity.
I don't know what to say to her, how not to sound as though I'm sputtering meaningless words to convince her she truly does mean more to me than my writing or the people involved with my novel.
I do the only thing I know how: take her face between my hands and kiss her. She mumbles against my lips as her hands fist my shirt, and she tries to push me away. But I can't let go, and I move my hand to her lower back to pull her into me, the other to the back of her neck. She won't kiss me back. I don't loosen my grip on her, but I stop kissing her and rest my forehead against hers.
I slowly massage my fingers against the skin of her neck. "I can't be without you," I say.
"I hate you."
"I know," I choke.
Bella's fingers relax… they tighten again. "I hate you."
"I love you... I love you." I lower my head to kiss her, softer this time. "I love you."
She shakes her head, but she doesn't push me away, and my heart races again. I part her lips with my tongue and slide it over her teeth - she doesn't respond, but I don't stop. I use the pads of my thumbs to wipe her tears from her cheeks as I kiss her. My tongue touching hers, my lips... her lips finally moving with mine. Slowly, cautiously, because I don't want her to think I'm forcing myself on her, I move my hands down her arms, over her sides, and slip them under the hem of her shirt. Her skin is warm, and I shudder as I squeeze - I don't want this to be the last time I touch her.
"No," she says. "You can't have me anymore."
"But I can't let you go. Don't leave me... please," I beg. I would grovel; never before, but now I would. If she were to ask me to get on my knees, I would. If Bella wanted me to stop writing, I would do that too.
But she will never ask those things of me, and she won't believe me if I told her anyway. She needs to feel me.
"I don't care," she says, her voice hoarse, and releases my shirt. Her hands drop lifelessly to her sides.
I begin to tremble and refuse to believe her. "You love me, Bella. You have to."
"No!" she yells and pushes me away. I gape at her. "Don't you get it? We're over! I gave you years of my life, Edward. I told you what I needed, and all you cared about was your fucking book!" She puts one hand on her mouth and the other on her knee as she bends over. I move to touch her; I want to console her because I did this to her.
I want to get the engagement ring that's hidden in my drawer to show her. I bought it six months ago, but it was never the right time to ask her to marry me. I know what she'll think if I show her now - I'm desperate, and she'll question why I waited so long. I am desperate.
Bella straightens, wipes her eyes with the back of her hand, and says, "I was here for you through everything - your tantrums when you couldn't get your words out, and when you quit your job so you could write full-time I worked more hours to support us. I gave you everything, and you shit all over it... all over me."
"You promised we'd start our lives. You promised me when things settled down we'd start. Things have finally settled down, and you decided to write another book." Her face is flushed. She's angry.
I walk toward her, and she raises her hand to stop me. I keep moving closer to her, take her hand in mine, and hold it against my chest. Bella tries to wrench her hand from mine, but I hold it tighter. She raises her free hand to slap me again, but I catch it before she does and hold it over my heart. She's crying and so am I. "Marry me," I say because I am desperate.
"Fuck you!" she weeps. "No."
I bend down to kiss her, and she turns her head away from me. My entire body is shaking, my knees feel like they're going to give way, and I take her face in my hands and kiss her. "You're still mine," I whisper. "I'm yours."
Our faces are damp from tears, and I taste the salt from them on her lips. I feel her body begin to relax the longer we kiss; her hands are pressing on my chest, and I'm certain she can feel how fast my heart is beating. I kiss her along her cheek, declaring myself to her until I reach the lobe of her ear. "Everything, Bella. Only you." I kiss down her neck, and she smells so good; I tell her this. I whisper to her how much I love her because it's true, and I hope she can hear it in my voice and feel it from my touch.
"I hate you so much," she says and knots her hands in my hair. I'm on my knees and kiss her breast through her shirt and bra. Her nipples are hard, and I can feel them easily through the thin material. I unbutton her shirt and pull the cup of her bra down to lick around her nipple before sucking it into my mouth. She moans quietly, her sobs lessen, and my fingers press into her lower back. Her skin is so hot now.
Bella tugs at my hair; it's painful, and I don't know if she's trying to purposely hurt me, but she pulls my head further into her breast. I lick between them and pull the other cup down. Both of her breasts are exposed, and I press my forehead against her chest. I can feel her heart pounding. "I love you."
I grasp her hips and lightly kiss a trail down to her navel with an open mouth. I can taste her - I've forgotten how sweet she is and pray she doesn't stop me because she's said she hates me, but I know that's not completely true. I want to believe it isn't. Bella wraps her arms around my head, her forearms on my shoulders, and she presses her lips on the top of my head. My breath is ragged, trembling as I inhale because she's not pulling back. I tell her I love her again, and she tells me she hates me.
I guide her down by her hips as I sit back on my calves. She straddles me, pushing herself against my erection, and I fumble with the button of her jeans.
"No, you can't have me," she says shakily and cradles my head in her arms. I move to extend my legs in front of me while we kiss. My mouth is ardent against hers, and she responds the same.
Please don't let this be goodbye.
Bella claws at my shirt as she grinds her hips against me, and I'm frustrated because I want to be inside her. My fingers are digging into her hips as I move her faster against me, and she rips my shirt open, the plastic buttons bouncing on the floor. I need to be inside her because when I am, there's nothing else. She gives all of herself to me when we're together, and I do the same for her. Everything disappears. It's only us - I know she feels my soul because I can feel hers.
Bella lifts her head and arches her back; her breasts are in my face, so I nuzzle into them, kissing and licking her skin... her nipples. I release her hips and roll her to her back.
I lie beside her, and palm her between her legs, and knead my fingers where her clit is. I know what she likes. I know every inch of her body. Bella raises her hips against my hand, and I lower the zipper of her jeans. She shakes her head but doesn't lower her hips.
She doesn't want to feel me... she can't and I get it.
I slip my fingers between her jeans and panties; she's wearing the silk ones. I kiss the hollow of her throat and tell her I love her as I move my mouth over her chest, her stomach. I'm practically chanting those words to her because she has to know - she has to believe me. She can't leave.
Bella has one arm above her head, and her other hand is in my hair grasping it tightly. She says nothing. Her body is shaking, and there're goose bumps scattered across her skin, but she's still so warm. I'm moving my fingers frantically against her clit - she's wet, and I kiss from her navel to the hem of her panties. I'm kissing her with so much adoration because I truly do cherish her. She's my life.
I hear her suck in a tremulous breath. I move my hand faster, harder, and lift my head to look at her. Her eyes are closed, her expression pained, and I hate myself right now, but I love her so fucking much. I know I'm a fool.
Her lips part slightly the faster I move, and her chest is heaving. I watch her and wait for her to open her eyes. Her hand drops from my hair to my shoulder, and she grips my shirt between her delicate fingers. She's holding on so tightly, I imagine her knuckles are turning white.
"I love you," I say again. I'll say nothing else to her but those words from now on if she'll let me.
Her orgasm is building and tears escape from the corners of her eyes. I move my head close to hers as she begins to quiver and press my lips to her mouth. She kisses me back, her hands finding the back of my neck and head. "I love you," I say against her mouth. Her hips jerk, and I move my fingers slowly against her, her silk panties even more wet now, hot. I don't want to move my hand, but I do because I want to touch her everywhere.
"I know," she replies.
I rest my head on her chest and place my hand on her bare stomach. I inhale deeply, smelling and savoring her. The tips of Bella's fingers trace my ear, and I realize she could get up to leave at any moment. My heart hasn't slowed, and it feels as though it's going to beat out of my chest. I feel lightheaded.
"Please," I beg, and crawl on top of her.
She wraps her legs around my thighs as I slowly rock my hips against her. Her skin feels so good against mine, and I bury my mouth into her neck. Bella moves her hand over my chest and slides the other down toward my crotch. She's crying, I'm crying as she squeezes my erection through my jeans, and I want her to stop because it feels too good. I want to vomit because I know it's over.
Her hand is trapped between my legs and hers, but she doesn't stop massaging me as I nibble along her jaw. "I love you. Don't do this."
I take her bottom lip in my mouth and buck my hips harder against her. Bella thrusts her tongue into my mouth the same time she tightens her grip on me. Her other hand is digging into the back of my neck, and I come in quick, erratic movements.
"I have to," she whispers. "You have to let me go."
I should propose now. I should get up, get the ring out of my drawer, and show her. I can show her the receipt so she'll know how long ago I bought it for her, but I can't move. I'm afraid if I do, she'll be gone when I return.
"I want you, Bella," I say and lift my head. I smooth my hand over her hair and hope she can hear my sincerity. "You have all of me. You always have and you always will."
Bella wipes her cheek as she ushers me to roll off of her. She sits up and buttons her shirt. Without saying a word, she stands to zip and button her jeans. She takes her raincoat off the hook behind the door and slides her arms into it.
"Don't," I say.
She opens the door and lifts one suitcase into the hall and then the other. She glances back at me, sucks in her bottom lip, and leaves.
Weeks pass and Bella wouldn't return my phone calls. Alice had made up one excuse after another for her. She said I need to get out of the apartment for a few hours so Bella can get more of her things.
Months drag by and she finally agrees to see me. I buy her lunch because it's the safest meal when you want to talk to someone you love, and the situation is fragile and awkward. Dinner is too much like a date, even though I wouldn't mind that, and breakfast would just be stupid. Taking her to breakfast would be the same as buying her a bouquet of cheap flowers from the grocery store instead of a florist. I've had time to learn these things. Time is all I have.
Bella and I end up seeing more of each other, and I think she can see I'm trying. We start to go out on official dates a couple times a month, which turn into weekly dates, and I'm feeling more confident with her. She's more relaxed now. Each night we say goodbye, I tell her I love her. She only says goodbye, but I'm okay with that because she agrees to let me take her out again.
Bella and I haven't had sex since we've been apart. We kiss, and our hands explored each other's bodies once or twice, but that's been all. I miss being with her, being inside of her, and I have no idea if she misses that part of me. I want to believe that she does.
It's been almost a year since she left, and I'm taking her out for a nice dinner. She looks more beautiful now than she ever has. Bella's wearing a lavender dress - it's silky and looks so good against her skin. She has her hair tied up loosely, errant strands curling around her face.
We walk through the park, and I'm nervous. I feel knots in my stomach, and my palms are sweaty. I feel the need to run to the nearest bush to expel what I've eaten, but I don't.
The breeze is a little chilly, and Bella hugs herself, rubbing her hands up and down her upper arms. I smile at her, and she smiles back; I stop walking. My throat tightens and nausea rolls through my stomach once more. I get down on one knee and ask her to marry me.
She's quiet, but her eyes shine. She says no, she's not ready. I'm heartbroken, crushed because I thought we were back. But I realize we need to be more than back to where we were. We need to be better; I need to be better for her.
I refuse to give up - it's a work in progress.
Another two months go by, and it's snowing. We decide to go sledding on the big hill near the university. Bella has always liked to do things like this, and she laughs hysterically as we tumble over at the bottom of the hill. I miss her laugh.
She's in my arms, both of us covered in snow, and I ask her to marry me again. I've prepared a longer speech this time, but she says no… again. Bella tells me she needs more time.
I wonder if she'll ever want to marry me. It's painful and admittedly, a punch to my ego, but I get it, and I still won't give up.
My second novel is finished and scheduled to hit the shelves in early spring. My editor tells me it will be even bigger than the first, and I should clear my calendar for the next several months. He says he's got big plans for me: book signings and possibly a television spot or two. Nothing major - local television stations, but he's excited nonetheless.
Bella is sitting next to me on our second-hand couch, and I share the news with her. She asks why I'm not more excited - I'm really not. The money is nice, but I don't care about the fame in the least, and the contract they've offered is daunting. The publishing company has asked me to commit to another three novels in a four year span.
I tell Bella it's not important anymore.
"Why? It's who you are," she states. "You're an amazing writer."
"You're who I am. Nothing else matters." I shrug and hit the button on the remote to start the movie we've planned to watch.
Minutes pass as we watch preview after preview. She's very quiet but she's fidgety, and I look at her from the corner of my eye. She's biting her bottom lip, playing with her fingers, and I wonder what she's thinking.
Bella suddenly reaches over me and picks up the remote from the side table. She turns off the television, tossing it on the floor, and says, "Ask me." Her voice is confident, and she smiles, shifting her body toward mine.
"What?" I'm confused, and I sit up straighter. "Ask you what?"
"Ask. Me." She says her words carefully, slowly - as though I'm not very bright, and clearly I'm not at the moment. She begins to laugh, and what she wants me to ask finally sinks in.
My hands are sweaty, and I rub them on my jeans. I'm at a loss for words. "N-now?"
She nods, raising her eyebrows.
Fuck. I'm not prepared. I want to tell her how much I love her, but I don't know if I can do that anymore than I already have without sounding contrived.
It doesn't matter, and I drop to the floor on one knee and take her hand. I start rambling, telling her how happy she makes me and how I want to make her just as happy. I'm trying to remember the new speech I've written. I've forgotten the eloquence of my intended words, and everything spewing from my mouth is making me sound like an idiot.
She squeezes my hand, nodding as I ramble and finally interrupts me. "Give me the damn ring, Edward," she laughs.
I stare at her because part of me has expected her to say no again… but she didn't, and I think I'm in shock.
"Yes… yes, I'll marry you."
A/N: Soooo… Thank you SO much to my betas, pre-readers, and very good friends. I love them very, very hard. Sncmom, Askthemagic8ball, and Mac214. I need to take them out for drinks… lots of drinks. And Mac gets a bottle of Motrin because I am a true comma moron.
Voting begins April 21. Thanks so much for reading!