Thank you all xx
Girl in the snow, where do you go
To find someone who will do?
To tell someone all the truth before it kills you
They listen to your crazy laugh
Before you hang a right
And disappear from sight
Fox in the Snow - Belle & Sebastian
I wish I could say we managed to resolve our issues after our 'stand off' in the kitchen. That things became easier because that evening when Edward came home, I was there waiting for him like I used to. He was surprised to see me, and then tried to hide the gentlest smile because he didn't want to seem to eager in case it scared me off, and we actually talked. Told each other we would pull through in the end. That we would get through this pain. That somehow it would be true love would conquer all.
I wished all of that were true.
The truth was we went on like we had for the long months that had passed.
We carried on like nothing was the matter while we burnt inside. While Edward tried to convince me that everything was okay, and I tried to push him away. Love doesn't conquer all if you're broken on the inside.
Yet it was that single rose, the one that he left in the toothpaste holder when he went to church on Sunday that did it. He was thoughtful, and he was kind. And kind of perfect. The guilt overburdened me.
So when he asked me to go grocery shopping with him that afternoon, I went. I went because sometimes I thought the guilt might just kill me.
At the grocery store, I put Lucky Charms in the cart as Edward pushed it along the aisle behind me. He was talking and I listened and I nodded, but my mind was elsewhere. Not anywhere more important - just not where it was meant to be.
Edward paused and looked at me from beneath his baseball cap. "Lucky Charms?"
"They're for …" I stared at the cereal on the cart as I trailed off. Neither of us ate Lucky Charms. There was only one person who ate Lucky Charms and she wasn't here.
I picked up the box and slammed it down in the bread aisle as we walked past.
"It's okay," Edward said, as we turned into the dairy aisle and I ran my hand over my hair, chastising myself.
No, it wasn't okay.
I kept doing this. It wasn't damned well okay.
I shook my head and turned to walk away and Edward held my arm and pulled me back to him. "Come here. Look at me." I took a breath and looked into deep pine and almost instantly felt calmer. I took another deep breath and then another, as he grounded me with his gaze. "It is okay, Bella. Everything about what you did is perfectly normal. You just need to be okay with your actions, your reactions. It was a slip—"
"It's always a damn slip!"
"Look, let me do groceries…. Just breathe, okay? Just … be."
"Okay," I whispered.
I took control of the cart and Edward walked around aisles, turning his back to me as I occasionally called out what we needed. Sometimes he picked out what I had said, but most of the time he picked up things that were different.
He threw pepperoni instead of margarita pizza into the trolley, then put in whole-wheat bread instead of grain. When we got to the fruit section, I scrunched my eyebrows together. He definitely had my attention now.
"What?" Edward smirked, like he was waiting for me to react like this.
"Granny Smiths?" I said.
"Since almost a year, Bella. We keep them on our bar."
We did? "You don't like sour."
"What if I've changed and you haven't noticed?"
I paused. Maybe he was right. Maybe he had changed and I hadn't noticed.
Then again, how could I have noticed? I didn't remember the last time I really looked at him. Or when we had a real conversation. We used to debate everything under the sun—from Oprah to Aristotle—but I barely remembered any of it. Or the point of it. Or anything.
He was still looking at me curiously, like he wanted an answer.
I crossed my arms over my chest. "Fine. Do what you want."
Edward shrugged and I followed him through the supermarket as he chose strange concoctions of olives and drinks that I'd never heard of, and he did it with glee. So much glee that I was completely in the moment, my mouth shut tight, as I restrained myself from telling him no one was ever going to eat seventy percent of the contents of the cart.
Why was he buying so much food?
And had I really accepted all these changes in my kitchen without even noticing?
He disappeared and when II turned to see what curious grocery item he was about to put in the trolley, he held a single white rose toward me.
"For you," Edward said, and I bit my lip because despite everything that was changing, this was somehow familiar and the same.
During our first date and everytime after, there had always been white roses. They signified forever, purity. I was lost far away in our memories, and Edward moved closer.
"Take it—before the store catches me for desecrating a bouquet of flowers."
"You stole it from a bouquet?" I asked wide-eyed.
"Yeah," he shrugged. "I'll buy it, but I know you prefer single roses. So, I guess it'll be one each day until they wither away…"
I couldn't help but smile. It was odd, creative and so Edward.
I took the flower and then flinched, staring at my index finger.
"I'm bleeding," I said, and dropped the flower in the cart, fumbling in my purse for a tissue.
"Let me see," Edward grabbed my stinging finger. I watched him bring the dot of blood closer to his face.
"Do you have … oh."
I gasped, because Edward placed my finger into his mouth and sucked. It felt too intimate in the big of the supermarket, but it also felt good.
I missed his mouth on me.
So I let him do what he was doing and then watched as he took my wet finger out. It was clean, with no trace of blood or piercing.
"There. You'll be fine." Edward smiled at me from beneath his eyelashes and then put his thumb over where it was bleeding. "If I put pressure on it, it'll make sure you won't bleed again."
"I got it," I said softly, pulling my finger away, even though I kind of didn't want to.
Edward held on tight. "Let me. I caused it."
"Really, it wasn't your fault," I insisted, trying to pull away.
"Let me hold it till it's better, B."
I reluctantly nodded and we commenced shopping with his thumb tight over my finger. Passersby might think we were holding hands, casually strolling without a care in the world, even though I couldn't remember the last time we had held hands so easily.
"Where do you want to go on vacation this year?" Edward asked as he piled the groceries into the trunk, after we had paid and made our way to lot.
"Vacation?"I hadn't really thought about it.
"Vic was raving about Scotland when she was in Europe. Or maybe we could pay Mom and Dad a visit in Ireland. They keep talking about how much they want us to visit."
"Maybe," I said, placing the last carrier into the car. I didn't really want to go anywhere. "I was thinking of taking some time away to stay with Charlie."
I sat in the passenger seat and Edward started the engine."Thats a great idea. We don't actually have to go away. We could just go to Forks—"
"I meant by myself."
Edward paused at the signal and I cleared my throat.
"Yeah, you know, just some time alone."
"Time alone or time apart?"
"Call it what you like. It will give us time to think about things."
"Think about what? You already have all the time in the world to think, to be alone."
The unsaid questions strangled and buzzed in the air.
"To think about us," I said finally.
"What about us?"
My cheeks warmed."That maybe we should be apart for a while."
Edward didn't say anything for the longest time, so long that I spoke to break the tension.
"You need to start living again, and I'm holding you back. I … maybe it would help if we were apart. Maybe it would solve things."
Help you move on to something more. Something better.
"It's not up to you to solve it like this. We need to work on this together." Edward's tone was forced as he parked in the garage of our apartment complex.
He turned off the engine and looked at me, and I could say his calm facade melting before my very eyes. And perhaps that is what I wanted. I wanted him to lose it completely so he would just leave and stop hoping for more...
"I can't anymore. I can't work on anything…. I'm so tired. I'm so tired of trying to block it all off. I just—"
"God, Bella. It's not like that. It'll get better, I promise. Therapy—"
"I don't…. you can't…. I am in therapy!"
"You need to give it more time. And there's couples therapy and those support groups that Geraldine talks about, and other medication - but you need to take it regularly. There's so much more."
I shook my head. "I can't.…"
"Pills, Bella. Have you started taking them again?"
I bit my lip. It had been weeks now.
"Your anti-depressants, B?"
"You said you would."
"Edward, I want—"
"What, Bella? You want to get better? You want us to get better, but you won't even try? Today was a good day, Bella. I thought we were doing okay and everytime I think I'm getting somewhere with you, that you might be healing a little, you drop a damned bombshell. You promised you would take the pills regularly this time."
My head hurt. "The pills aren't going to make me better, Edward. I've changed. You've changed. We need to move on."
"We haven't -"
"Please listen to me. You need to go."
"What are you saying? God."
"Do you ever notice other women?" I was crying now. "You're beautiful and I love you, but I can't be her. I can't be that Bella you fell in love with."
He was speaking under his breath, now tugging at his hair like he did when he was in depths of despair and there where was no way out. It was my fault. All my fault.
"You could move on, you know. Someone like Victoria—she's perfect. She's good. She'll be good for you and you can do Europe with her."
Edward looked confused."Huh?"
"I've seen you together. She's healthy and she likes you. You like her. I can tell….Anyone, Edward. Someone who can make you happy. Victoria is perfect, but it doesn't have to be her."
"Are you insane?" he said, his eyes flashing. "Vic is…. you're crazy."
"I am crazy. That's the problem!" I screamed.
"Right," Edward said, fuming as he flung his door open and slammed it so it reverberated in my bones, and disappeared, leaving the groceries in the car.
My eyes watered as I somehow got myself out of the car and got into the elevator, but Edward was there with me. It was silent as we stared at each other. The distance seemed to stretch and stretch between us and the questions were buried so deep that I didn't even know where to start.
I fell onto the couch, still sniffling, and Edward came back with a bottle of anti-depressants and a glass of water.
He tapped two pills into his hand and handed me the glass, and then handed me a sleeping pill. "It might help for tonight."
I took it and settled into the couch, and my eyes were heavy.
He was speaking, and I liked his voice. God, I liked it so much because it was warm and cozy, and my blanket of comfort.
"So I guess I'll shove pizza in the oven tonight. Boy, I've been eating a lot of pizza lately. You'll probably be out for a bit, but if you wake up early there will be some in the fridge…"
He disappeared in and out as my eyes closed, and said, "Just so you know, there is no one else and as long as we're married there won't ever be."
"We don't have to be—"
"Shh…." Edward put his finger on my lips and it set my skin on fire. "You don't know what you're saying. Please don't say anything right now, okay? Just sleep for me. Just … sleep."
I felt his lips on my forehead, and heard that which I loved to listen to and loved to regret. "Come back to me sweetheart … I love you, B."
I pottered around the apartment in shorts and a tank top, trying to find my charger, my hair already dried into waves because I had grabbed the phone call from Alice straight out of the shower and not managed to run a comb through it.
She wanted to congratulate me because I had officially passed my last exam, making me an officially certified teacher. Admittedly, we spent most of the time talking about the other surprise I would reveal to Edward tonight.
"It's like the beginning of something so new. Things—everything—is going to change for you two. It's like a whole new horizon of … new."
I laughed. "Definitely a lot of new."
"Are you excited Bella? Shit … are you nervous?"
"Both, definitely both."
Of course the conversation went on for too long, only cut short by the battery life on my iphone. It's like we were still stuck in college mode; I had no idea why Alice insisted on calling me on my cell rather than my home phone.
It would be like a double whammy of surprise for him; I couldn't wait to tell him. This wasn't planned, and I was both apprehensive and so excited to see his reaction. I had been through the scenario more than a million times in my head, but the funny thing was, when I finally told him, it wasn't like any of the scenarios. His reaction was like none of the ones I had replayed in my head.
Plugging my phone in, I flopped down onto the couch and opened up a book by one of my favourite poets, Bridge to the Soul by Rumi, and buried my nose in it, until I heard the clang of the closing door.
"Honey, I'm home!"
I grinned as his voice reverberated through the apartment and I let my book drop on to the table beside me. I watched as he walked toward me with a large grin on his beautiful features, a single white rose and a large bottle of wine, and really, I meant to do it in a ladylike manner, tell him over dinner as I declined the wine, but I couldn't help myself as I launched myself at him straight off the edge of the couch in a way that was much too precarious for someone in my condition.
Edward laughed as he caught me, and made an uneasy noise as he tried to balance me and the the flower and the champagne all at once, but then couldn't anymore because we came together on the floor in a big heap of limbs and love. The bottle and the rose dropped beside us but it didn't matter because I was already touching him and he was as responsive as he always was, like he had stayed away too long.
"These after-work greetings are getting better and better," he said as he kissed and smiled into my mouth and said in a student-like voice, "Congratulations, Mrs Cullen."
I kissed him right back, on the hardwood floor, letting my hands tangle in his hair and my tongue slip into his mouth until we were breathing hard, panting and wanting so much more.
Then I said it. I said the one thing that caused the best reaction in the world, that would change his world, mine too. I knew that I would remember that wonderful expression on his face forever when I whispered, "Congratulations, Daddy-to-be."
Thanks for my ladies Astro and Hadley :)