A/N-So my brain doesn't want to shut up and this idea sprang forth. It's a little different, a bit more angst-y than my other stories but I believe it'll be really good. Anyways, don't fret on my other stories! The ones that need to be updated and you may even get a little more…if you're lucky. (: So, now unto this tragic tale of love and woe… (Not really but I thought I'd set the mood). Enjoy!
Chapter 1: Choosing (Bella POV)
As I walked out of Jacob's room, I couldn't get the image of his face out of my mind. The way it was so blank and expressionless. The way his eyes were black and unreadable. But I knew there was more to his pain than what I saw. I knew that his heart was breaking and he was moments from breaking down, if not already. I felt a force stop me, root me to the spot and I couldn't move. More rather, I didn't want to move. I couldn't leave Jacob in that kind of pain and I didn't want to. Every time we parted on bad terms, I couldn't think of anything but going to see him so the next time we parted, we were on good terms. I didn't want to leave him that way, broken and alone. I had to be there for him and I suddenly realized, with perfect clarity, that I wanted to be there for him.
I turned around with sudden determination and opened his door. I saw that he was crying softly and my heart broke at the sight. It hurt me to know that I caused this, to know how much hurt I was inflicting on the people I loved. I sighed softly and stepped into the room.
"Jacob?" I called. His head shot up so fast I thought for sure that he was going to get whiplash.
"B-bella? What are you doing back here?" He stammered, obviously confused. I couldn't help but smile at his confused expression. He looked like a little puppy with its head tilted to the side.
"Silly Jacob," I laughed, "isn't it obvious? I came back for you. I want you." A thousand different emotions played across his face. Shock, bewilderment, doubt, but the one that was most clear was happiness. No, happiness didn't describe it. He was more like…elated. Yes, that was it, he was elated at my choice and that caused me to be elated because my Jacob was happy. I sauntered over to him, shaking my hips a bit just to be playful, and sat as well as I could on his bed. He smiled at me and the contrast between his pearly white teeth and his russet skin was a bit startling.
"So, you've got the girl of your dreams in your bed and all you can do is smile?" I asked teasingly. If at all possible, his smile grew bigger and stretched across his large face.
"Well, there are quite a few things I would like to do, but seeing as how I am injured and braced galore, I can't really do much."
"Is there anything I could do to help?"
"You could get your tiny little butt up here and kiss me." My mouth dropped in mock indignation.
"My butt isn't tiny!"
"Yes it is. Now shut up and kiss me."
"I thought you'd never ask," I said as I raised myself to meet his lips. Kissing Jacob was a whole other experience entirely. Because he was a werewolf, his skin was so hot and add that to the heat of two mouths makes it truly incredible. Also, even though Jacob can be very rough, he makes up for it by being so gentle. The way he held me close with his large paws without actually hurting me was fantastic all on its own. He knew how to be gentle and loving; I had just never given him the chance. After I had granted his request, I rested in his arms (the best I could, seeing as how he was in a cast and various slings) and enjoyed being content with him. He disrupted our nice moment with the question that I knew was coming.
"What are you going to do about the leech?"
"Edward," I correctly sternly. "And I'm going to have to tell him. There's really nothing else I can do."
"You could always just ignore him," he suggested casually.
"No, I couldn't. It wouldn't be fair to him if I just cut him off completely. He needs a proper goodbye. Besides, he'd probably come to my house after he hadn't heard from me in a few days."
"He could probably take a hint," he muttered.
"True as that may be, I'm going to tell him goodbye the right way, the way that I was almost done telling you a few minutes ago." A flicker of pain flashed in his eyes but it was gone as quickly as it cane.
"Listen," I said, taking his face in both of my hands, "I know how you feel about him and I know it's going to be hard for you, but I will come back to you. I love you."
"You love him too," he put in. I sighed and stood up.
"I know that. I love both of you and there's nothing I can do about that. You both will always be in my heart whether you like it or not. But I'm going home to break the news to him."
"Do you think he'll be mad?" He asked. I detected a trace of hope in his voice. I ignored it.
"No," I sighed again. "He'll probably tell me he understands and that he loves me and he always wants me to be happy. That's all he'll ever want from me." As I said all of this, I felt a single tear escape and slide down my cheek. I wiped it away quickly before Jacob could notice. He wouldn't take it as well as Edward that I was crying over someone else.
"I have to go," I said, making my way to the door. I walked back to give him a quick kiss on the cheek before turning back around and opening the door.
"I love you," I said before I exited his room. I didn't wait to hear his reply. Once in the solitude of my truck, I let the single tear shed in Jacob's room multiply and run down my face freely. It hurt so much because I was right and I knew that Edward would understand. He will tell me all the things I told Jacob and that realization hurt more than I wanted it to. And of course, it hurt because I loved him so much, so completely. I had become more or less a shell when he left me after my eighteenth birthday. Who's to say that won't happen again? No, the rational voice in the back of my head said. This time, you're letting him go. He's going to leave you because he will feel that he's no longer needed. As he said before, he'd stay as long as you want him to. Damn that annoying rational voice. It was right, as always. I tried to stop crying in an effort for Charlie's sake and made my way home.
Charlie was sitting on the couch watching a game, a ritual on his part. I tried to walk past him unnoticed but my shoes squeaked on the floor. Damn.
"Bells, is that you?" Who else would it be? I mentally rolled my eyes.
"Yeah, Dad," I called back. I heard the groan of the couch and knew that Charlie was getting up and heading my way. I prepared myself for the onslaught I knew was coming.
"So, how's Jacob?" He asked, stuffing his hands in his pocket.
"Healing," I said.
"You two…alright?" He shifted from one foot to the other, obviously uncomfortable.
"Yeah Dad, we're fine," I said, impatient and silently begging him to leave me and go back to the game.
"So uh, no bad feelings between you two?" He tried again.
"No, Dad. Now, if you haven't had dinner, I'm going to make some, but if you have, then I'm going up to my room." I looked at him, as if saying, "I dare you to say something else about Jake." He looked away dejected and stomped back to his game. I took that as a sign that he had already had dinner. I hurried myself upstairs so I could change and wait for Edward. I wasn't paying attention to anything, just grabbing things hastily and hurrying to the bathroom. My shower wasn't as short as I would've liked it to have been. I had to shampoo and condition my hair an extra time due to the mass it became up on the mountain. Thinking about the mountain caused my heart to pound into overdrive and I quickly washed the rest of my body before getting out and toweling fast.
I walked back into my room and jumped nearly six feet when I saw him standing near my window, motionless as ever.
"Holy crow! I had no idea you were there!" I whisper-yelled.
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to frighten you," his face rose to meet mine and I nearly gasped at the sight of his eyes. They were so dark and….vast. Empty. The eyes that usually held unbelievable amounts of love for me were nothing but black pits of…despair. He knows that rational voice gasped softly. Of course he knew. There was no way that he couldn't…not know. Alice must have seen something that rational voice spoke calmly now in my mind. It's obvious she would've seen something in my future change. Something like my Anne of Greene Gables vision I had not too long ago. I couldn't look him in the eyes. I didn't dare look at the beautiful angel I had broken. My already fragile heart shattered into a million tiny pieces at the mere thought of him.
"I'm not exactly sure why I'm here," he started into the silence. "I already know who you've chosen, of course. Alice saw it." He sounded so…lost. Broken. I had never heard Edward sound that way, not even after we had returned from Italy.
"I suppose I'm here merely for your sake. You wanting to give me a proper goodbye and all." I could only nod mutely. I couldn't find the voice I thought I had only moment ago.
"Edward," I said. What came out was a choked version of his name. He looked at me then, at the sound of his name. I much as I wanted to look away, I couldn't. His eyes were an open book and every single thing between us was playing out before us. The first time we met, Biology class, our conversations at lunch, my rescue from Tyler's van, our first time in the meadow, his first time in my room, my first time meeting his family, the baseball game and meeting James, Victoria, and Laurent, the chase, the ballet studio, Edward sucking away James venom, Prom, my eighteenth birthday, Edward leaving, the voices I head, Alice coming back, our trip to Volterra, our re-meeting, meeting the Volturi, coming home, all those nights at his house, graduation, the graduation party, the training sessions, the mountain, the battle, and finally, the news at hearing of Jacob's accident. Everything played in my mind like a video on fast forward and each memory cut deeper than the last. Finally, as the last memory played out, a sob chocked out of my chest and past my lips. The tears were red hot and burning down my face.
I felt his solid grip on me, and it was literally the best sensation. His cold skin was already cooling my overheated one and I wanted nothing more than to wrap up in his arms and have him cool me forever.
"Shh, my sweet Bella, it's alright, I'm here." This only caused me to cry harder. Him calling me his Bella tore at my heart even more and his words, however comforting they should be, did not comfort me at all because I knew that it wasn't all right and I knew that he wasn't going to be there, not anymore. I continued to cry and he continued to lie to me, though I didn't mind. For now, I would accept any lies from him.
"Edward," I croaked. My voice was raspy from all my crying. The way it sounded didn't fit him. I didn't like the way I said it.
"Yes, my sweet Bella?" He soothed my hair down as he coaxed me gently. The tears came harder still but I made them silent.
"I'm so sorry. I never meant to cause you this much pain, I never wanted to-"
"Hush now, Bella. You've been the greatest thing to happen to my existence. I have no regrets about us or anything else that's happened." I noticed how he didn't say I had never caused him any pain. I knew that even Edward could be broken my hands, I just didn't think I'd be that cruel and actually break him.
"Edward, I never wanted this to happen! I wanted us to be happy, forever. I knew that was asking for a lot but it's still what I wanted. "
"But it's not what you want now," he countered gently.
"It's not all that I want," I corrected. I couldn't ignore that part of my heart that wanted Jacob. That part has gotten louder over the past few days and now it won't be silenced, and what's worse, I won't silence it.
"Regardless of me, Jacob Black is in your heart now and he's not going anywhere. I suppose part of that is my fault. If I hadn't left-"
"Please don't!" I begged. "Don't blame yourself, I beg you. It's not your fault."
"It is my fault, Bella," he told me, pulling me away from the cool embrace of his chest. I felt the longing immediately. "If I hadn't left you, then you wouldn't have had to seek comfort with him. Thus, you wouldn't have gotten so close and we wouldn't be where we are right now. So, it is my fault."
"But you leaving didn't mean that I fell for Jacob," I argued. "He was the only one who could get through to me…during your absence. I didn't love him back then, not like that. So, even if you hadn't left, I'm not sure we could've prevented this from happening. We can't control who we fall in love with," I finished glumly. I realized that my argument turned into another statement in his favor. No matter what happened back then, there is no sure guarantee that I wouldn't have fallen for Jacob. Of course, there is a stronger possibility but no sure guarantee. This truth settled in and mixed in with my misery. There was nothing I could do now. I had the two most amazing men on Earth and I was about to break one of them right now. I deserved Hell. I deserved much worse than whatever fate has in store for me.
"I don't blame you, Bella," his velvet voice broke my train of thought. "Like you said, we can't help who we fall in love with. So I can't be mad at you for wanting to be with Jacob over me." There was a voice screaming inside my head, telling him that he was wrong. Saying that I didn't want Jacob over him, but it would do no good to voice that now. It would only kill us both.
"Besides, I couldn't be mad at you even if I was supposed to be. I love you far too much for that to happen." The tears became boiling water down my face. There was no point in stopping them. They'd just come back to the surface.
"Bella, please look at me," I hadn't been looking at him, or anything really. Just staring out into nothing, feeling…nothing. I was allowing the numbness to take its hold on me. I turned weakly to face him. His eyes were still black, but not empty. I saw the love he had for me, shining brighter than ever. It was as if it was shining this bright as a final goodbye. I wouldn't doubt it. He took my face in his hands – hands that I would be feeling against my skin for the last time- and looked deeply into my eyes. I'm not sure what he saw there. I hoped he was my love for him. Even if it would tear us open in the end. I wanted him to know that I loved him.
"Bella, I love you and I will always love you, no matter what. You have been the greatest thing to touch my entire existence and I thank you for giving me your heart, if only for a brief time." Another piece of my heart shattered. I wondered if I would be dead by the time he was finished with all the shattering my heart was doing. "I will not take back my heart, for I want you to have it. For there might be a day when you are ready to love me again, and until that day, my heart is in your care. I will miss everything about you, my sweet Bella. I will miss your soft brown hair that always smells as luscious as you. I will miss your deep, intense brown eyes that hold nothing but the purest love. I will miss your lovely lips, which have kissed me and filled me with complete sweetness and bliss. I'll miss your body, as I hold you at night in my arms. Your beautiful blush, even your clumsiness, for it does nothing but add to your charm. I sincerely wish you and Jacob the best. He's a good man who has just received the best girl. I will leave you in peace, only wishing you well. I hope we will meet again, my sweet. Fort this will not be our final goodbye." He stood then, and brought me with him. I couldn't feel anything, except the coolness of his touch. The numbness was allowing me to feel that.
He guided me to the window, which was already opened. Was it already opened or still opened? I didn't have the state of mind to remember or care. He looked down at me, those eyes overflowing with love for me. I wanted then to stop flowing, to make this easier but I knew that wasn't going to happen. I could tell he wanted to say something, but he fought against it and came to cup my cheek.
"I love you, you know that, right?" I nodded but realized it wasn't enough.
"Yes. Do you know that I love you?" I wanted him to know with everything that was left of my heart that I loved him. This was going to kill us both, I was sure of it, but I wanted him to know it.
"I know." He smiled softly and I wished with everything that I could return it but I was too broken to respond. "I'm going to go now. You need your rest. You've had a long day." It was hard to believe that only a few hours ago, there had been a major battle and a visit from the Volturi. It all seemed like a lifetime ago.
"Edward," I said as he made his way to my window. He turned around and looked at me. His eyes were the vast brokenness I had encountered earlier.
"I truly am sorry. For all of this. I'll keep your heart safe," I promised. He smiled that crooked grin that I loved so much but it didn't reach his eyes. I doubted anything ever would again after this.
"I know you will. I love you," Suddenly he was in front of me again and before I could blink, his cool lips found mine. It was amazing, the contrast between hot and cold, especially when Edward kissed me. He cooled off the inferno that erupted every time he touched me. I'd miss that. Instead, it would be inferno clashing with inferno. There would be no cooling effect. His tongue danced lightly over my bottom lip, and I allowed him to enter without haste. Our tongues danced, never dueled, until he finally broke away. I was breathing heavily and he was taking in unnecessary amounts of air. He placed one last chaste kiss to my lips before turning wordlessly and jumping gracefully out of my window for the last time.
"I love you," I said, though much too late. What was left of my heart shattered and I walked numbly to my bed, not caring about whatever I was wearing. I fell into the covers and buried my head into the pillows, finally allowing myself to shatter.
A/N-So, what do you think of this first chapter? Trust me it gets better! (A lot less weepy) Now, review and tell me what you think! NOTE: the title for this was inspired by the song Strawberry Waltz by the amazing Meg&Dia. I encourage all of you to go listen to it because the song is amazing and it fits really well with this story! NOW review! (: