Author's Note: This story has been redone and is now so much better :) Enjoy the heartache!
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No copyright infringement is intended.
Thanks to not done baking, vjgm1 for the initial beta on this and Eowyn77 for keeping me in canon!
Goodbye Hurts by Heartbroken1
Chapter Two - Guilt
When we arrived back at the house, my brothers were blowing off steam with their newest video games. The sound of laser beams and explosions radiated through the house. I sat down on the couch and watched their amusement.
Alice's thoughts entered the room before she did, well, she's on her way to see him.
It bothered Alice that she wouldn't be able to see Bella's conversation with Jacob. The fact that she was 'blind' disturbed her immensely.
I closed my eyes and listened to nothing but the sound coming from the television.
Suddenly, Alice jumped to her feet. "Edward, go!" she shouted. I turned to her, seeing her vision replay through her mind. I ran as fast as I could to find Bella.
As I approached her truck, I could hear her heartbreaking sobs. Her heart was literally breaking. I opened the door and scooped her into my arms, holding her close. She attempted to push me away, but I held her tighter, refusing to release her.
I desperately wanted to know what she was thinking, but was afraid of what I might see.
I held her, saying nothing. I listened helplessly to her cry, wishing I could take her pain away. She finally controlled her sobs enough to mutter Charlie's name.
I gently placed her in the truck, wrapping my arm around her and started the engine. For the first time since becoming a vampire, I had no desire to go fast. I drove slowly, not even getting close to the 55 mile per hour limit set by the old engine.
When we finally did get to Bella's house, she had managed to control her sobs. However, her tears flowed like tiny rivers over her beautiful cheeks. She avoided my eyes and asked me to meet her upstairs. As much as I wanted to scoop her into my arms and protectively carry her through the door and up to her bed, I knew Charlie would probably shoot me. So I scaled the wall and waited for my brokenhearted love.
The door opened and her tear-filled eyes locked on mine. She immediately began fumbling violently with the clasp of the charm bracelet Jacob had given her.
I should have felt some kind of relief, perhaps even smug because it seemed she was choosing me, but instead every cell was experiencing pain. Complete and utter agony.
I took Bella's hand gently into mine, discouraging her. Every ounce of me wanted to pummel something -- anything. But whenever I pulled away, Bella grasped at me and another onslaught of tears erupted.
With no other choice, I wrapped my arms around her, needing to comfort the hurt away as her sobs began again. I held her tightly, hoping my presence was helping. But as she muttered his name over and over, what was left of my heart shattered into tiny pieces.
I considered more than once leaving her to be with him. If only I hadn't promised that I would never leave her again.
The sun faded and darkness overtook us in the tiny room. Charlie's thoughts haunted me as he stopped outside the door. I wish I knew what to say to help her. If only Cullen… he snarled my name, had stayed away. She wouldn't be heartbroken now. He sighed. I hope Jacob's okay.
He placed his hand on the handle and I prepared to flee, but Bella let out another sob, deterring him. I would probably only make things worse his mind grumbled as he beat himself up for his lack of parenting skills. His thoughts grew softer when he shut the door to his own room.
I remained silent while Bella mourned. Like Charlie, I had no idea how to make it better. She nestled her body against mine and I responded by holding her as close as I dared. Her tears continued to flow until she finally drifted off into an uneasy slumber.
Her muttering didn't stop, however and with each mention of his name, I wondered what I was doing to her. This was my fault when all the layers were peeled away. She would never blame me, but she didn't have to. I blamed myself. If I hadn't been so stupid as to leave her in the first place, she wouldn't have needed to seek comfort from another man. A man who, even though he was a werewolf, was better for her than I was.
If I bowed out and allowed Bella to remain with Jacob, she could keep her soul, something I wanted desperately. The pain she was enduring because she'd chosen me was unbearable to watch. I would give her up, if she desired it. It would be even more difficult now than the first time, but I would do it. Come hell or high water, I would.
My eyes drifted closed as I prayed that it wouldn't come to that.
I pressed my lips to her head, inhaling the intoxication of her scent and pulled her even closer, melting her body into mine. My every cell ached for her. I loved Bella more than life itself. I would do anything for her -- to make her happy. I kissed her again.
A tear rolled down her cheek and she sighed.
The first rays of sunlight peeked in through the window and Bella began to stir. I continued to hold her, waiting for her to push me away. Her eyes fluttered open and they were finally tearless.
She mumbled a hello, but I said nothing. I carefully watched her, anticipating another outburst and prepared what I could say to comfort her. She told me that she was okay and that it wouldn't happen again.
I narrowed my eyes, disbelievingly.
"I'm sorry that you had to see that," she apologized. I shook my head. Once again she was being utterly selfless. "That wasn't fair to you."
Fair to me? I thought. None of this is fair to anyone.
I placed my hands on each side of her face. A thousand thoughts were running through my mind. "Bella...are you sure? Did you make the right choice? I've never seen you in so much pain --" My voice cracked as I remembered again the agony she had experienced the night before and realizing that ultimately, I played a huge part in it.
She nodded, placing her delicate fingers on my lips. "Yes," she insisted.
"I don't know... If it hurts you so much, how can it possibly be the right thing for you?" my throat tightened around the words.
"Edward, I know who I can't live without." She smiled weakly.
"But..." I protested.
She shook her head. "You don't understand. You may be brave enough or strong enough to live without me, if that's what's best. But I could never be that self-sacrificing. I have to be with you. It's the only way I can live."
I wasn't sure I believed her or not. The memory of her devastation last night would forever be etched in my mind.
Watching her battle with her emotions had given me a glimpse into how she'd been after I left. For the first and last time, ever, I allowed myself to think of the memories Jacob Black had supplied. The ones of Bella the night I'd left, the day she showed up at his house, even the day he pulled her out of the ocean. She was still the beautiful woman sitting before me, just a shell of her though.
I would never get over the guilt of leaving her -- alone and distraught. Nor would I ever forgive myself for hurting her.
"Hand me that book, will you?" she asked, pointing over my shoulder.
I didn't understand what she was getting at, but handed it to her quickly.
"This again?" I asked.
She rolled her eyes at me and flipped to a page that had been dog-eared. She read to me about Cathy not being able to live without Heathcliff. "And I know who I can't live without."
How could I argue with that? She had made her feelings perfectly clear. I took the book from her and tossed it lightly onto the desk. I smiled at her, trying to give the illusion of serenity. I still worried that she had made the right decision. However, I decided not to protest any further. I wrapped my arms around her waist, pulling her to me.
"Heathcliff had his moments, too," I said, pausing to make sure the words were right in my head. I leaned down, whispering in her ear, "I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!'"
"Yes. That's exactly my point," she told me.
I understood what she was saying, but I wasn't so sure she fully did. "Bella, I can't stand for you to be miserable. Maybe..."
"No, Edward. I've made a real mess of things, and I'm going to have to live with that. But
I know what I want and what I need...and what I'm going to do now."
"What are we going to do now?" She smiled at how I had rephrased her statement. I sighed as she smiled, kissing my nose.
"We are going to see Alice."