|The Ungraceful Art of Falling
Author: sare-tigz PM
Seth hadn't meant to fall. He'd seen time and time again what love did to people. But then things changed - friendships were formed and a love evolved in all the wrong conditions. A series of vignettes into the life and pain of Seth Clearwater. AU SLASHRated: Fiction M - English - Angst/Drama - Seth - Words: 6,060 - Reviews: 59 - Favs: 67 - Follows: 12 - Published: 08-10-10 - Status: Complete - id: 6224511
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Story Name: The Ungraceful Art of Falling
Pen name: sareisle
Disclaimer: Steph Meyer owns all.
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The Ungraceful Art Of Falling
If there was one word to describe my life it would be…
It's such a delicious word, the 'mm' sound rolling into the harsh fuck. The unassuming word mind having the abrupt, startling profanity attached at the end. It started off so well, and ended in bitterness. And bitterness was now a Clearwater trait.
What do you do when everything is over? Once the book is closed, the endings all nicely tied up so that the protagonist gets a happily ever after and the antagonist gets defeated, what happens next?
The people that don't matter; the people who are mentioned once, or twice, who are extras in movies and groupies in a band – we fall in love, we fall out of love, we fall into depression. We fall, like ungraceful angels, like children who fail to get up, and just lay there on the floor, crying.
I'd been the happy-go-lucky guy. The baby. The boy that was too young, and needed to be taken care of. But what fucks up your life more than spontaneously exploding into a ball of matted fur and hearing hormonal teenagers in your head? More than being the cause of your fathers heart attack?
At the time, I'd thought nothing could change my life more than that. I'd thought, right, this is it – this is the big hardship, the big catastrophe in my life. The defining moment.
I'd been naïve.
Once the battle with the royal vamps was over – the end of the romance story featuring Edward Cullen and Bella Swan, I'd fallen. Well, technically I'd fallen well before then, but at that moment I truly fell. Because at that point in time I was exposed – more exposed than I could ever be in all my naked glory.
I'd perfected the art of falling.
We had all perfected the art in one way. We were all fucked up – which was something I realised as I brooded. Everyone had fallen, whether it had been a good fall or a bad one. Some more than others.
See, Leah wanted Sam, and Sam had Emily, and Mom was most likely fucking Charlie Swan, and Jake and Nessie were happy and Edward… Edward had Bella. We'd all fallen. Me, I just fell further and harder than anyone else.
Yep. Mindfuck. Definitely a mindfuck.
-0- -0- -0-
There was something about sex that had been so… unappealing. The animalistic grunting noises, the slapping of skin, the wet, squelching sounds, the tangle of fleshy limbs and the keen cries when someone hits that spot.
Not that I'd have known anything about sex. I'd been a complete nun. Or priest. Or altar boy.
Whatever it was, I had been virgin with a capital 'V', and to tell the truth, I would've been glad to keep it that way – because nothing had turned me off more than the sounds and sights of man on woman sex. It took me a while to realise that the woman bit was the problem.
I once went out with a girl – the kind of girl that was sweet and quiet and wanted nothing more than to hold my hand and believe she was special. And she was special. She was beautiful – even I could see that. She had this reddish-gold hair that hung halfway down her back and small, curvy figure. Pale skinned with not a hint of a zit. But when I looked back, I realised that I was appreciating art, not ogling her cleavage or the fact that her skirt rode up when she sat down. And at the end of the night, when she put her plump lips on mine and pressed herself against my chest, I felt nothing. I thought that was the way it was supposed to be.
And then at the age of fourteen, the wolf came raging into my life, a growth spurt and pack in tow. I couldn't help but think – my life is going to get better. The loss of my dad was a missing puzzle piece in the otherwise perfect picture, his death due to my and Leah's phasing causing a heartache that I learnt to ignore or work around; a heartache left to fester. But by then I had another family – the pack. I had Sam, Jacob, Paul, Embry, Quill. I had Leah and Mom. And I was happy. I was ignorant.
I was different.
The bonfire crackled and spat, a slim finger of flame dancing above the rest as if in victory. I watched it, entranced, as it rose higher and higher, before dying down to join the rest. I smiled, the expression feeling strange after the long days of heartache since my father's death. I looked over and studied everyone around the fire – the elders, my pack, and at last I felt content.
Jacob looked up on the other side of the fire, his eyes sad – sadder than they had been in the past. He met my eyes and smiled gently at me, then sighed, got up and walked over.
He sat down heavily, and nudged my shoulder. "You look happy, Seth." He said gently.
I nodded, smiling, and then lay a hand on his shoulder. "You look sad, Jake. Are you alright?" I asked.
Jake sighed. "Bella's gone back to him. Even went to Italy to get him. And it sucks. It fucking sucks…"
The smile slipped off my face. "I know Jake." I said quietly, soothingly. And I did know, because Jacob's thoughts had been so… lifeless. He replayed that scene in his head over and over, begging Bella to stay in Forks, with him. It physically hurt all of us, because Jacob's pain was our pain.
He sighed and then seemed to try and perk himself up. He punched my in the shoulder, hard enough that if I hadn't been superhuman, I would've yelped. It seemed that the guys in the pack resorted to violence when things got too… emotional.
"We'll get that bloodsucker, won't we?" He said trying to grin mischievously, the sadness still lurking behind his eyes – as well as a strong determination.
I laughed in return and nodded. "Whatever you say, Jake."
I guess that was the first time Edward Cullen was mentioned, and even then he was only a him. Not a set, concrete name. Not a person. Not beautiful, not caring, not… not Edward. And then there was Bella. Bella who'd become the centre of Jake's world and the centre of Edward's and the centre of the Cullen's – making me wonder who the fuck she was and why the fuck she was so special. She was a girl with an ordinary face and an ordinary story in an ordinary town with a bunch of not-so-ordinary people. And even when I'd met her I couldn't fault her. Because she was nice. She was funny and kind and sweet and she matched him in every way.
In that conversation, at that time, she was Bella and he was him and everything was simple and I wish… I wish it stayed that way.
-0- -0- -0-
What is love? That's what I want to know. What the hell is love? You hear wank statements like: his chest swelled with love, or the love they shared was infinite and strong. They never tell us what love feels like, and so when we feel strange emotions like affection, and devotion, and confusion and attraction we wonder what the fuck is happening. We don't immediately call it love. We don't point at our chest and go, ah fuck, I'm in love! Do you feel that? It's love!
Love is a mix of adoration and tenderness,
Endearment and friendship;
Needing and wanting;
Confusion and fear,
And pain and heartache and a fucking plethora of other emotions.
Love fucking sucks. It sucks because it creeps up on you, and suddenly you're feeling all these things and your brain is going absolutely crazy trying to work out what it all means and then all of a sudden it hits you. Love.
And the first thing you think is fuck. I'm screwed. Because that thing you had going was a great friendship. Because those touches that were lurking in your subconscious, that kept you hard and aching all night were nothing more than a fleeting brush. Because he was wrong. Because he was a he. Because he was a vampire. Because he was in love with someone else.
-0- -0- -0-
The first time I saw Edward Cullen, truly saw him and not a second-hand copy from someone's mind, he'd taken my breath away.
He was primal and vicious and protective and elegant and arrogant and conflicted.
He had been incredible as he fought the blonde vampire, demonstrating fighting tactics for the up-an-coming newborn war. His body had been twisting and turning in ways that I hadn't thought were possible, his strangely beautiful copper hair glinting along with the fucking diamonds embedded in his skin.
All those strange impressions flashed through my mind so quickly and overwhelmingly that neither he nor my pack mates noticed the errant torrent of thoughts. And then the feeling had gone, leaving only admiration in its place.
Because somewhere along that line of thought, my subconscious had reared it's ugly head and decided to suppress any thoughts of copper hair and dazzling skin because I liked women.
And so Edward was a friend.
"I spy, with my bionic eye, something beginning with… 'F'."
Edward grinned, his head resting back on the tree behind him, hair in casual disarray. We'd met up in the forest a few times since the fight with Victoria – officially we were rendezvousing to discuss the aftermath of the fight and the current tentative treaty between our people, but that all fell to pieces after the first ten minutes when we'd already discussed everything. I admired Edward's skill and in return, Edward admired my bravery. We'd become good friends.
"It's a bit pointless playing this game with a mind-reader." Edward said, laughing. His smile was bright and contagious, lighting up his whole face and making him look like the fun seventeen year-old guy, and not the brooding one hundred year-old vampire.
I heard him scoff. "I look seventeen all the time." He said – his voice edged with a slight bitterness.
I laughed at him and shook my head. "Only when you smile like that, every other time you look like you have pole shoved up your…" He coughed and I laughed. "Plus, you can't know what my I spy was, I covered it up! I have superior mental capabilities thank you very much!"
"Forest." He stated seriously, before grinning.
"Too late." Edward said lightly, a bit too lightly, pushing himself off the tree and leaving arm-shaped grooves in the process.
Edward laughed and shot up the tree, swinging around it. He had a love for trees, something I'd quickly learned as we hung out more. It was quite… endearing. I sighed and leant against it, wanting to phase but knowing I couldn't. Sam hadn't wanted me to phase too much around Edward, something about not wanting him to know our strengths and weaknesses – especially since Jake had run away because of the up-coming wedding. I knew it was stupid, but at the same time, I didn't want the pack pestering me and Edward didn't want the overwhelming nature of our combined thoughts. I thought quickly back to the fight with Riley and Victoria, before purposefully turning my thoughts away. Though it had been exhilarating and all the pack had worshipped me for like a week, it had… scared me. I'd killed someone. Someone who had been thrown into a life they hadn't wanted, who had fallen in love and followed blindly. Someone who had been human.
"How old are you, Seth?" Edward asked suddenly, jumping from the tree and landing next to me.
He plucked the immediate answer straight out of my mind. Fifteen, almost sixteen.
Edward sighed. "So young to be in a life like ours."
"A life like ours?" I questioned.
Edward shook his head. "Fighting Seth. A life of fighting."
"It's life." I said quickly. "The way we are." Something in me couldn't stop my stomach from twisting at the thought of him caring that I had been thrust into this life. That I hadn't chosen it.
Edward nodded. "It sucks." He said – the least eloquent thing he'd ever said. I almost smiled at those words.
Instead I nodded in return. "Life usually does." Then I laughed. "But we have fun with it, right?"
Edward smiled. "Right."
I'd like to think that maybe I gave Edward back some of his… fun – some of his humour and ability to see the best in bad situations. It had been a good friendship, a trusting, caring, light-hearted one. And when things had gotten serious we'd gone with that too. We'd talk about my dad, Edward's self-loathing, Heaven and Hell and love. And I'd felt like he was the only one who actually gave a fuck about me and my opinions. The only one who'd cared what happened in my life.
He'd listen and I'd listen and every time he talked I think I fell a little more. And a little more. Until I'd fallen so hard there was no possibility I could crawl my way back up.
-0- -0- -0-
What's the difference between lusting and wanting?
Fact: lust; noun; very strong sexual desire
want; verb; have desire to posses or do (something); wish for
Lusting is looking at someone you've never met before and thinking I want to fuck them, and having some instant physical heat and attraction. Wanting is knowing someone, is admiring their beauty and desiring to get to know them in every way, mentally, physically, fucking spiritually. Wanting is knowing that when you do fuck, it won't be fucking; it'll be making love.
I hadn't known the difference – it was my biggest mistake.
I'd thought I lusted after Edward. I'd thought that the silly little notion stuck in my head of love was nothing but sexual attraction.
I'd thought the man at the Seattle club had wanted me.
I'd thought that he needed me and that I wasn't just another twink for him to fuck in the backseat of his beat-up car. I'd thought that if I got some experience Edward would want me too, that maybe I'd get rid of the horrible lust that Edward had instilled in me, that I'd find out what the hell everyone was talking about when they said how great sex was.
It wasn't great.
The fucking 'experienced' guy used me, and it had hurt because he'd hardly prepared me and I knew it wasn't supposed to happen like that and I wish… I wish…
I'd cried. Afterwards I mean. When the guy had left in the car, I'd cried, and curled up on the ground and wished that I hadn't done it. Wished that the guy wasn't a perverted fucker who went after young boys that were obviously underage. Wished that I hadn't been naïve, and stupid and hadn't asked for him to fuck me. Wished that I could've just died because it had affected me so much more than I thought it would've.
It was then that I realised the difference between lusting and wanting. I hadn't wanted the guy to fuck me. I hadn't wanted the guy to put his hands on me, and know me in such an intimate, life-changing way. At the beginning, I'd lusted for sure. But not… not during.
With Edward I wanted. I wanted to be the one to touch him, to please him, to know which spots were sensitive and which made him laugh and which made him moan. I wanted him to know me. I wanted him to love me.
-0- -0- -0-
"Edward!" I laughed, grinning as he swung from the top of a tree, bending the precarious branches side to side. "What are you doing?"
He was happy today, happier than usual. He was so thrilled about the wedding, and although he still felt guilty about the fact Jake had run away (and that I had been so upset about it), he had gotten over it and was now just… giddy.
"Not giddy!" He said smirking, as he swung harder. "Happy, ecstatic, joyous! So I'm just… swinging."
I burst out into laughter. "Edward, you are the most pathetic excuse for a man I've ever met! Pussy whipped, I swear to god."
He slid down the tree, leaving deep grooves with his strong fingers and collecting thin branches and leaves on the way. I couldn't help but chuckle at his dishevelled appearance.
"I'm beautifully dishevelled thank you very much." He said, smiling and ignoring my previous comment.
I sighed, and then rolled my eyes. "I'm sure Bella would appreciate it."
Edward laughed, then turned towards me. "Seth…" He said, his voice questioning. He slid down to sit on the ground, his back against the tree.
"Yeah?" I asked, taking my place next to him.
"Do you think you'll ever… you know, imprint?" He asked, trying to keep his voice light. I flinched and looked the opposite direction.
"I hope not." I said softly.
"Why?" He asked gently.
I didn't have the courage to say it out loud, to verbally express what I wanted to say. I don't want to imprint because I'm afraid. Because of the commitment it meant. Because it meant losing myself in the process. Because I don't want to cause anyone to be bitter like Leah. Because I don't want to end up like Leah.
"It doesn't always happen like that, Seth" Edward said gently. "Look at Sam and Emily's happiness."
"Look at Leah." I whispered. "Listen to the regret and heartache in Sam's thoughts. Listen to the shame in Emily's."
"But it's true love, Seth. Your mate, your completion." Edward tried to remind. It wasn't helping.
What is this true love business but a loss of self? I questioned silently. What is imprinting but a neglecting of your own needs in replace of someone else's? Imprinting is giving up control. It's having your whole life focus on one person – revolve around one person. "And I don't want that." I whispered.
Edward sighed, the human gesture an odd contrast to the stillness of his vampiric body. "It's about giving yourself over and having someone do the same in return." He murmured. "It's about loving selflessly, and without control, and with an intensity that frightens but thrills."
I nodded. "I don't want it."
Edward smiled. "You're young. You'll want it one day."
-0- -0- -0-
I'd first noticed Edward was beautiful – completely and utterly breathtakingly beautiful and arousing on a completely fucking normal afternoon. It had shocked me, how fucking hard I was and how… tender I'd felt. Like I'd wanted to caress his pale skin, and crush him against my chest, and envelope us in a slow burn as our two contrasting temperatures met.
And Edward hadn't even acknowledge these thoughts, the first thoughts I'd had beyond friendship. I'd been freaking the fuck out, wondering why I was thinking of a man this way, a vampire, a friend. And Edward had dived into the river we were sitting by, now saying a word, while I'd floundered on the bank like a dead fish.
And I'd been so painfully hard as I'd envisioned him holding me, kissing me, stroking me languidly. But then fear had overwhelmed me, fear of what the hell was happening and why I was feeling like this and whether there was some glitch in my brain that made me lust for my complete and utter opposite.
I'd known I would fuck up the friendship, and it was the best thing I had in my life right then. The only thing that had kept me sane when there were so many pack duties, and Leah had been falling further and further away from me, and Mom had been mourning and Dad… Dad was gone. Edward was the only thing that had kept me there, on the ground, smiling, shrugging everything off – shrugging off Jakes absence and Sam's unreasonable orders and Paul's fucking bullying. I knew that if I lusted him, wanted him the way I was wanting him, we couldn't be friends anymore. So I'd been afraid.
Edward had emerged from the water, his fucked up copper hair so beautiful, and his chest glistening and he was dripping for fuck's sake. And his eyes had immediately caught mine, staring wordlessly. Expressionlessly. I knew that he had heard, every thought, every fear, every lust. So I had gotten up and ran, bounding into wolf form mid stride, my thoughts jumbled – in a haze. And Sam had been there, in my mind, questioning, questioning, questioning. And I'd growled to myself and snarled and clawed at trees and sobbed because it was wrong! But it had felt so fucking good.
-0- -0- -0-
"You haven't been around in a while." Jasper said carefully, perched on the corner of the couch. He looked like he was waiting for something to happen – some big catastrophe to erupt so he could leap into action.
"I was busy." I said quietly, feeling the worry and hurt seeping into me at his words. If Jasper had noticed that I hadn't been hanging with them like usual, then what had Edward thought? It had been… what, three weeks? It had been such a long three weeks… lonely.
"He missed you too." Jasper said softly.
I perked up and turned to face the most dangerous vampire in the house. For us, he was the ultimate threat. When we first talked about the Cullen's, and came up with strategies about how we would fight them if it ever came to that, Jasper had three wolves on him alone. Three. That's a hell of a lot of wolves to fight at once.
But for me, now, Jasper was the most intriguing vampire out of them all.
Edward, he told me everything, I knew him inside and out. Emmett said whatever was on his mind, and his mate Rosalie… well, I didn't really want to know her – she scared the fucking shit out of me. Esme and Carlisle were like the parentals, and you never want to know about the parents. And Alice, well she was kind, but a bit of a mystery – though not as much as her mate. Jasper – he was the one who let no one in, and pretended to be the badass, take-no-shit soldier. But the way he looks at Alice, and jokes around with Emmett, and is so… older-brotherly to Edward, well, I reckon he's a bit of a softie.
"He missed me?" I asked, trying to contain the hope in my voice.
Jasper sighed, and turned his freaky-yellow eyes to look at me. "Seth…" He started.
"Don't." I interrupted, suddenly afraid of what he would say.
"I just want to talk to you." He said quietly, soothingly. It was odd.
I looked out the window. "How long until Edward gets home?" I asked. Then I shook my head. "Um... until Edward gets back?" I changed. Home. I'd just said home. What the fuck?
"Not for another hour or so." Jasper said, some horrible tone of sadness in his voice.
I took a deep breath and turned to face him. "What do you want to talk about?" I asked hesitantly.
"You." He said.
"Oh… okay." I said, looking at the floor.
Jasper sighed and seemed to gather himself. "He loves Bella, you know."
I felt a sharp stab of pain in my stomach, like someone had punched me – except worse. A pain that didn't fade with the bruise.
"He… loves Bella. It's ever consuming and always giving. And she loves him exactly the same back. It's a forever kind of love, Seth." Jasper said quietly, his voice imploring.
"It… won't go away. You know that, right?"
I looked up at him. "I'm not a fucking child, Jasper. I know."
Jasper smirked, the corners of his mouth twitching up. "Compared to me, you're a newborn baby."
"And compared to Edward?" I asked.
Jasper looked sad again. "A child. A friend. A younger brother."
I felt my eyes involuntary tear up at his words, and I cursed myself for being such a fucking girl. Wolves don't cry. We're tough.
I didn't hear Jasper move as he came and sat next to me, his vampire smell overpowering – though I was slightly used to it now."Seth, what you feel, it's… love." He said softly, laying a hand on my shoulder.
I nodded, knowing that he could feel it too and feeling stupid for not remembering that.
"And love doesn't go away… it lives on forever, and stays strong. And sometimes it hurts, and sometimes it's replaced by a bigger love, a different kind of love. And sometimes it isn't, Seth. That's just the way it is. It's conflicting and painful and sometimes it pays off and sometimes it doesn't."
I nodded again. "And this won't pay off." I said to myself, feeling my tears spill over.
"No." Jasper said quietly.
I felt that sharp pain again, except this time it didn't go away. I let out a choked sob.
"I have to go." I stood up.
"Seth, listen to me please?" Jasper said quietly. "Anything, anything at all that you need to talk about, I'm here. I know it hurts, I know. But don't lock it up. Don't become…" he paused, "bitter. Don't become bitter."
I let out a burst of laughter, the desperate sound sounding strangled. "Don't become Leah." I spat.
"You're the kindest most sincere kid I've ever known." Jasper said softly.
I turned around, the word kid reverberating through my head.
-0- -0- -0-
As Bella walked down the aisle, her dress white and virginal, her father holding her arm, I'd wondered why the fuck I'd even gone to the wedding. Why? Because I was masochistic? Because I wanted to see his face, one last time? Because I wanted him to hear me?
I love you. I love you. I love you. I'd repeated over and over in my head, until he'd looked at me. And his eyes had been so piercing and black. Sad.
And I'd wished, fucking wished, that he would've said something, anything to me that would have made it stop hurting, that would have stopped me turning into Leah. Because I had been, even then. The boy that was chipper and optimistic and happy was slowly becoming a mask used to keep everyone ignorant and unworried.
I love you. I love you. I love you.
And I knew he had been pretending that he was hearing Bella's thoughts when I'd repeated it, because he'd turned back to her and had looked so fucking adoring. And I'd felt like crying because this was what he wanted, and he was what I wanted, and this had all turned out wrong because I wasn't supposed to get hurt. I wasn't supposed to get hurt! But I had. And fuck, it hurts, even now.
Jasper had turned to stare at me as they said their vows, and Alice had turned with him. Her eyes had been so fucking pitying that I'd wanted to punch her, and Jasper's had been so… so fucking pained. And I knew it was the hurt I was feeling reflected back in his eyes and I'd wished that he could have it all, and keep it, so I'd never have to feel it again.
I'd felt a wave of calm acceptance wash over me, and I'd let it settle deep in my stomach as my mother clutched my hand and smiled happily, ignorantly, at the now-married couple.
And I'd wanted to throw up. Or cry. Or both.
-0- -0- -0-
"Hows it feel to be married? Ah, the holy matrimony. You didn't sin, did ya Eddie? Fuck her before she was married?" I was drunk, and the words were pouring out. Bitter, hurt and so, so fucking heartbroken. He'd been married, what? Three hours? It had felt like the longest fucking three hours of my life as I'd downed as much alcoholic substance as I could to get that nice smashed sensation – which was hard when you were a wolf and burned it off faster that Edward fell in love with Bella Swan. I shook my head, Bella Cullen.
"Seth…" Edward murmured, sitting down next to me.
"Why aren't you inside with your wife?" I spat.
"I wanted to be with you." He said softly.
And I melted, because that was the sentence I'd wanted to hear for so long, and I knew it wasn't the way he meant it, and I wished it was, because I wanted him. I wanted to be with him.
I was crying again. What a fucking pansy I was turning out to be.
"Why do you have to say things like that Edward?" I said breathily, hopelessly, desperately. And so in love with the boy that it hurt.
"I'm… I'm sorry." He said shakily. "I'm sorry Seth. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I can't say it enough. It was never supposed to be like this. This was never supposed to happen."
"You led me on!" I accused. "You… you did nothing when you heard my confused thoughts about you, when you saw my fantasies. You said nothing. Anything would've been nice." My voice was fading by the end, melting into the tears that were streaming down my cheeks.
"I didn't know what to say, Seth. I was scared."
"And I wasn't? I was confused, I was terrified, I was hurt!"
With that my drunken mind replayed all the images I'd spent so long forcing my mind to forget. All the sounds, and sights and touches of that fucking asshole in the back of his car as he fucked me. As he hadn't cared. As he hadn't loved me.
His rough hands, and my fear, and the pain.
And Edward watched as I remembered crying on the kerb, and wishing, wishing, wishing that he would love me, and want me.
"Seth…" Edward breathed, horrified.
I stood up. "Have a good life, Edward. May you live together forever and ever. Happily ever fucking after, etcetera etcetera."
"Jesus fucking Christ, Seth!" Edward had exclaimed. The only time I had ever heard him swear.
"Eddie has a dirty fucking mouth!" I exclaimed.
"Seth!" Edward said, grabbing my shoulders and keeping me still.
He looked down and stared into my eyes, his amber ones soft but unyielding. "Never let anyone touch you like that Seth. Never. Never let them take advantage of you. You have too much self-respect. You're too good for that."
"I'm going to hell, right Eddie? Sex before marriage means hell? Being gay means I'm going to hell, right Edward?" I was yelling, and I didn't know why. Yelling and crying. Angry and hopeless. In love and hurting.
"Be quiet Seth!" Edward yelled back, shaking me. "Be quiet!"
I put my hands over my ears, squeezing my eyes shut. "I'm going to hell. I'm going to hell. I'm going to hell!" I repeated, over and over.
Then he kissed me.
He wrenched my hands off of my ears, and had put his hard mouth to mine and kissed me, taking in my bottom lip, sucking gently, before moving, always moving. His hard, unyielding flesh against mine.
It wasn't a fucking dance of lips. It wasn't desperate or needy. It wasn't gentle or loving. It was sloppy, and messy and as I pressed myself closer and pulled him to me, he slowed it down and put his hands on my shoulders, pushing me back slightly.
And I knew it was the only way he could express his sorrow, his pain, his hurt, his desperation. The only way he could show me that I did deserve affection, and that I hadn't deserved that man to use me.
Edward didn't love me. He didn't want me. He didn't even feel attracted to me. He just wanted to show me what it was like, to feel affection. To feel his lips on mine.
And so as he walked away, back to Bella and back to his future, stretched out forever ahead of him and full of love, I cried.
-0- -0- -0-
I often wondered, as time went on, how I'd kept all of this hidden from everyone.
Then I realised that they hadn't been looking. They hadn't cared. They had assumed that I was the person I often pretended to be – happy-go-lucky, fun-loving, sweet.
Even the people in my head hadn't known, because it had been locked up so tight, in a little vault in my brain that no one had access too.
It had taken the fight with the Volturi for them to realise. For them to understand why I had been so lifeless, so… sad.
Because as we'd stood – a group of vampires and wolves and the half-half, facing the royal vampires and preparing for death, I'd been afraid. Terrified.
Because I hadn't wanted to die. I had hardly even lived.
And Jacob had whined, turning his face away from his imprint and staring at me with his big eyes as I shook in fear.
I hadn't wanted to die.
And Edward had turned to glance at me as I'd thought I'm scared. I'm scared. I'm scared. Again and again.
And Leah had growled, and whined and whimpered as she saw everything that I had been through, every thought and wish and fantasy. Exposed. Open and vulnerable as my soul was laid bare.
I'd fallen. Harder than anyone who ever imprinted. Harder than Edward had fallen for Bella. Harder than Leah had fallen for Sam.
And then I'd felt fucking melodramatic for thinking that my pain wasn't equal to Leah's; wasn't equal to Edwards when he'd left Bella. Because it was equal, and it was reality, and it hurt.
And Leah had nudged me with her nose, burying into the crook of my neck as we'd shook together; the bitter Clearwaters; the ones who'd fallen in love, and were trying to fall out of love and who were extras in movies and groupies in bands.
The ones who had perfected the art of falling.
And as we'd stood there, I'd glanced at Edward and for the final time thought, I love you.