Disclaimer: All characters are the sole property of Stephenie Meyer.
In a practically non-existent town in Washington, an empty, broken girl lay crying on her bed, unable to sleep and unsure as to how she would be able to take on the next day. She was unsure how to keep up her façade and unsure if she could continue lying to everyone. She wondered what she'd done to deserve her fate, but at the same time she felt as though she did deserve it.
And a few hours ahead of her, beneath the same moon somewhere in South America, a normally beautiful boy sat looking paler than death. His hair that is supposed to be naturally perfect lay limp on his head. His shadows were worse than they'd ever been, probably caused by his lack of food source. A few rats aren't enough to keep him sated. His normally beautiful looking skin looked sallow. He hadn't seen a mirror in many months, but if he had, he'd probably wonder how it would be possible for an immortal, unchanging person to look so sick.
Now, he hides in the filthy attic of some tenant building, too exhausted to sob. He tells himself that this is where he deserves to stay.
Weak doesn't begin to describe him. How could he have been such a fool to think he could leave her? When he'd left, he thought he'd known that the pain would surely kill him, but he'd still underestimated it.
His clothes were filthy, covered in the dust that coats the rotting wood. His eyes were closed, because seeing her face brought him some relief. Even though it was bitter-sweet—a constant reminder of what he couldn't have—just seeing her face smiling in his mind was like a drug or drink he simply couldn't have enough of. He had his arms wrapped around his knees, lying on his side, with his forehead pressed against a rotting beam.
He wondered how he ever had the strength to leave her in the first place. He wondered how much longer he could hold out. He knew that even just seeing her face again, real and beautifully flushed could keep him going for another few weeks.
He also knew that seeing her face would keep him from ever leaving her again.
He knew that brushing his fingertips against her skin—any part of her skin, even someplace as unintimate as a hand…would keep him going for years. And if he could just brush his lips against hers once more….
He silently cursed himself. He shouldn't be thinking thoughts like that; they only make it harder to think clearly, to stay away. For if he were to go back, what pleasure would there be in constant guilt?
Oh, but he knew that was merely a lie. Certainly there would be guilt, but he would be too distracted to acknowledge it.
His resolve had weakened so greatly; his mind could only think of her. He truly was a masochist, because no matter how much it hurt to think about her, he couldn't stop. He almost craved more. The pain was a just price for his sins. He deserved far worse, he told himself. And yet, the other part of his mind, were asking him what the point was in all of this? To destroy himself? To drive himself crazy?
It was working. He was slowly going insane. Each passing thought of her was like Chinese water torture. His arms felt empty without her filling them. Though he'd always felt cold, he felt glacial now. Previously his heart felt barren, like it wasn't even there, but now there was a sharp pain where his once beating heart was. It was black and oily. It expanded and grew. It was like a disease—a cancer that slowly ate away at him, making him want to cry out in agony.
Yet he was still too exhausted to sob.
He wondered constantly if she was in such pain. In his mind, part of his twisted half secretly hoped she missed him, and ached for him. Another piece of him would harp that he was only fooling himself. She was probably giddy and happy, another lucky man at her side.
And then he would feel bitter at the thought that he was once the lucky man at her side. He was the man to touch her, and breathe in her exquisite scent, and the only man who could do so and could have the pleasure of lying beside her at night. Even if he couldn't have the pleasure of dreaming about her, simply lying next to her was a good surrogate. He was lucky to have been hers, even for so short a time. He was lucky to have ever laid eyes on her. He was lucky to have ever brushed his fingertips against her perfect, warm skin.
And he knew that he should have been grateful for that. That he'd been blessed with the greatest gift one could ever give, but it still wasn't enough for him. He wanted more. He wanted to run back, take her into his arms and not let go. He wished to kiss every inch of her body, and then go back and do it again, until every inch of her was saturated with his love for her.
He let out an exhausted sigh, and it came out slightly as a whimper.
He knew that he couldn't keep this up for much longer. He'd realized that he would soon give up, and return to her. The black substance in his chest receded slightly at the mere thought.
And every time his mind traveled down that ostensibly bright path, he wondered why he bothered waiting. If he were to return, why prolong the pain and agony?
He hadn't thought it consciously, but there was the…impulse that he might have been replaced. And then what? He begs on his knees for her to reconsider? He pleads for her to accept him, and love him and only him? He certainly wasn't beneath the idea. He would go to every extent to get her back, unless she specifically told him she didn't want him anymore.
Then, he would find some way to go on without her, even though he knew there would be no distraction; no way without her.
He hadn't realized when she'd become a part of him. He was so wrapped around her, that he hadn't realized when she became his beating heart, his needed breath, his warmth and innocence. He hadn't realized when she became his whole being, practically. He was too busy basking in the love; too busy enjoying the feelings and not thinking of what would ultimately happen.
Well, that wasn't entirely true. He did think of what would happen. He thought of the future, of what it would be like after she'd passed on, because he certainly couldn't think to cause her as much pain as the torture of damning her to an eternity of darkness. He wondered briefly how he would survive. But the thought of her not being in his existence was too painful, and he promised himself he would think of something when the time came.
And now, he realized that he wouldn't be strong enough to exist without her ever again. When he does go back, after she's gone he simply cannot exist without her. And he knows this. And still, the thought of being without her was too painful to bear, even now when he was secluding himself in the attic of what is all but a dump.
Again, he told himself that he would cross the bridge when he comes to it.
As the moon began to end its siege across the sky, the silence grew to a point more deafening than ever before, just before it was shattered by the shrill ring of the cell phone. The lit up screen on the front spelled out the seven letters that would likely bring about the end of his universe. Rosalie.
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