A/N: This is the second last chapter. It's dedicated to all those people who waited for that phone call and it never came. On another note, I retract my statement about the final chapter being 'perfect,' there is such a big build up now and i'm slightly worried about the downfall. But I will try to get it out soon.
Music Influences: Private Education- Josh Pyke, My Girls- Animal Collective, Lousy Reputation- We are Scientists, Soon We'll be Found- Sia and obviously Firecracker- Voxtrot. (Jake's song)
Disclaimer: I'm not Smeyer nor Voxtrot.
Chapter Seven. "She Moves in her own Way"
The night was destined to be hell.
Pure and simple.
Not only was I was jammed into the same car with Edward. Not only was Alice also pressed up against my side, squishing me against the window because the backseat of Emmett's jeep did not fit the three of us. Thank god Alice had decided to sit in the middle. Separating us; me from him. However, the car ride wasn't the main reason for this night to be hellish. Even Edward's actual presence after a fortnight of near silence, wasn't the reason. No, the main reason was a combination of those with me and tonight's destination; the Wolves gig.
I didn't really have a choice though Rose had demanded I go.
It had been a fortnight since that night. Two weeks since I'd had any other mood except miserable. I'd switched my phone on following the pseudo break and it had revealed about eighteen missed calls and fifteen messages.
Not a single one was from Edward.
In fact, we had spoken for exactly three minutes in the last fourteen days. One conversation started by Alice had led to a three way, it had been a subdued discussion regarding future meetings because apparently I had cracked a tantrum when I'd heard he was going out for dinner with my friends and hadn't asked me. I had no recollection of this happening. I had thought I'd dealt with the snub quite well. Apparently not. I'd spent the whole phone call biting my lip to stop him hearing the tears. He sounded indifferent. The result of the conversation had led to a joint decision to be civil to each other. Well that was Alice's idea. He had grunted in what I assume was a response. The second time he'd called after one in the morning, his voice was droopy like he was drunk and demanded to know if I was seeing Jake again. I hung up on him.
But tonight, I would try to be civil because Rose and Emmett asked me nicely. They were going strong and wanted to hang out with their best friends. So I'd said I'd put on the big kid pants and do it for a night. But Christ, the hurt was still there. I think it would be for a while. Rose and Alice hadn't known what to say to me. I hadn't told them what had actually happened. No one knew the exact wording of our fight. The 'L' word wasn't discussed. I wasn't aware than anyone had inside information. I certainly wasn't willingly giving away that information. Rose and Alice sort of spoke around Edward's name, spoke around his actions as though tip toeing around a child sleeping. And I didn't think Edward would tell anyone. So the two girls felt guilty about demanding I confront him because they saw that as the catalyst. I didn't want to tell them it was my fault. I'd misinterpreted the signs. He hadn't meant what I'd thought. I'd misunderstood and it had taken me too long to confront it.
So I ignored it all. And tried to focus on studying for my last few exams. The term was almost over and then I'd have two weeks to recover from the multiple emotional roller coasters I'd recently experienced.
At least I wasn't crying anymore. The tears had stopped last night.
I think my tear ducts were broken. Along with my heart.
Its so cliché isn't it? To say your heart is broken but it's honest to god what it felt like. Pain was raw like it had just happened. I reacted to the stupidest things. I had almost put my foot through the television when a red headed cop appeared on Charlie's favourite TV show. I'd burst into tears when Charlie asked me if Edward was behaving. I'd kissed Jake unexpectantly when he'd shown up with his father before screaming at him that I hated all men. I couldn't listen to any songs by Ida Maria nor could I watch Damages without the tears pooling on my eyes. I'd written my English practice exam in French. School was back to normal, I faded into the background with news of a bigger scandal. Though I must admit girls were weary of mentioning their boyfriend's names around me. I'd forgotten to show up to three of my shifts at work. I played Damien Rice over and over until the sound of his songs slipped into my subconscious. I avoided my iPod like the plague and local radio was also out; the Cullen's music was on constant loop. I couldn't focus on my work. I would be staring at the blank page for half an hour, willing the words to sink. They wouldn't and I'd be left with that pain in my gut that never left. My mind was crushing itself, screaming 'what is wrong with me' over and over until even my internal monologue was sick of it.
I was over feeling like this. Over feeling like I wasn't worth it. In all, I was a mess and that's why Rose had decided I needed to go out tonight.
She had conveniently forgotten to mention that Edward would be joining us until about an hour before she picked me up. At first I had thought she was joking. As in, I actually barked out a laugh, one of those one syllable ones. When she assured me she wasn't, I cracked it at her. I almost had a panic attack on the phone before snapping and seeing red. I screamed obscenities down the phone.
Alice decided to confront me. "Bella, it's not healthy love."
"I don't care." Jesus, I sounded like a spoilt brat. But couldn't they see it was still hurting? Everything I had been put through had been so Edward would be with me and to have nothing for my actions. Fuck it hurt.
Rose didn't seem to care, her bitchy attitude echoing down the phone. "You can't stay locked in your room hiding."
Alice tried a different angle. "You are, Bella, you need to start moving on. Rose and I understand-"
Rose interrupted sounding annoyed that Alice was speaking for her. "Alice, we discussed this. I don't think she should. They should be together…he is just as messed up."
"I'm not messed up!"
"Bullshit." Rose snapped back at me. If we had been standing face to face I would have stuck my tongue out alas we weren't so I had to suffer the retort in silence.
I didn't want to go. I didn't want to see him. I didn't really want to see anyone; I wasn't in the social mood. "You're both bitches talking about me behind my back. I am not going tonight and that is final."
Alice sounded concerned. "Bella, please you need to face him."
I guess Rose had, had enough. "Yes Isabella, we are picking you up in an hour. Be ready."
"I am not coming!"
"You are! I don't care if I have to drag you out of the house by your hair, if the boys can get Mr. prissy in the car, I can get you."
I took a deep breath, feeling like I should scream I lowered my voice so it was calm. "Seriously, Rose I don't want to face him."
She sighed in response. "I know that sweetie, but you need to."
I swallowed the lump in my throat that knew she was right, I needed to get over the first meet. "I'm hurt."
Alice was strangely silent on the phone, letting Rose spew her wisdom at me I guess. Rose was trying to comfort me, in her own manipulative way. "I know. But you hurt me to get him. So now you need to build a bridge and get over it, otherwise you are never going to recover. Besides he knows your coming so if you bail it will look like you chickened out."
I responded, my voice numb. "I am."
Rose snapped back at me. "I am not letting you be the wimp here Isabella. I mean it. You are coming. You promised Emmett and me, you agreed to this expedition. So that is that."
"Please." I was at the end of my begging.
Alice butted in, usually she sided with me but this time I guess she had, had enough. "Bella, Rose is right, everyone knows you're expected, it will just be worse if you don't show."
"Thanks a lot."
I recognized a muffled laugh that sounded like Rose before she said "See you in an hour."
I pulled my doona over my head and sung as loudly as I could. I screamed insults into my pillow until Charlie came in and asked what was happening.
They both showed up less than an hour later. I hadn't moved. I was comatose in bed. I claimed sickness. I said I felt like I was going to throw up. I also claimed a headache thinking the double wammy would work. Rose laughed at me and started rummaging in my cupboard, pulling stuff out for me to wear while Alice got me a panadol. I screamed for Charlie, he asked what was wrong. Alice unleashed her charm and he went away. I begged. All the years I had kept their secrets were suddenly in full force; I hoped the info I had stored up would blackmail them enough that I didn't have to go. Then Rose had dropped the bomb, told me something that Alice snapped at her for.
Spilled the so call 'big secret.'
Ruined the one memory I had clung to. She knew it was something that meant a lot to me.
"Bella, Edward took someone else to the clearing."
I decided then and there that I was through with everything related to him.
So here I was standing in my bedroom watching Alice put together a new outfit for me. I had been wearing my most unattractive clothing before they had got there. Why would I care what I looked like? Why would I bother to change? I had no one to impress. Alice had a different take on this though. Apparently, I was to dress as though I didn't care what Edward thought. Appear indifferent yet dress up so he realized what he was missing out on. I asked Alice if she had learnt that technique from a James Bond film. Rose rolled her eyes and asked me to focus. I wanted him to want me. So I wore blue. Because Edward sung a song about liking blue.
Alice said, he was also a mess and this would kick his butt into action. And for some ungodly reason, I was taking Alice's words as gospel.
Despite living in denial. I refused to admit I was that much of a mess. I didn't need there so called 'intervention' to get out of the house, I was fine. Upset, sure, but fine. Considering. Rose scoffed at me when I pointed this out. She acknowledged my unwashed hair and noted my nails were bitten to the bone. Alice also recounted the whole practice exam scenario. Conceding, I decided then, that I was most definitely not over him. I wanted him to want me. To beg me to forgive him. I hated the brief spurt of hope that engulfed the pain at hearing how he was a mess also. But I denied it. I was going to be strong.
Yet I had decided to go along with Alice's game of Bella Barbie, even if it was to make her happy. I owed it to Rose to at least try and maintain some sort of friendship with the boy. If Emmett was to continue to be around, it was more than likely that I'd see Edward again. The longer I held onto the pain. The harder it would be. Plus I kind of missed hanging out with the band.
That said, the car trip had been tense. Edward had said five words. They were all variations of yes.
I, too, could have won a chatty Cathy prize.
I couldn't help but stare at him from the corner of my eye. His five o'clock shadow highlighting his jaw line. His hair had been cut since I'd last seen him. Deep indents under his eyes. A cigarette plastered to his lips. He'd already knocked back a few drinks with Emmett. He'd sat tense in the car. Agitated by my presence. He scowled when Alice asked me a direct question. I'd lost my thought process when he looked back at me.
The car had been far too quiet for five people.
Alice provided the constant talking, discussing the bands gig tomorrow. Emmett made jokes and repetitively asked if everyone was coming tomorrow. Apparently the Cullen's were performing some mass gig. I coughed instead of answering. Rose rolled her eyes. Edward sat in silence fuming.
Jasper was meeting us there. So Alice was chatting away on her phone to him. The rest of us tried to pretend we couldn't hear all the mushy stuff the two were saying to each other. Emmett's radio had issues trying to maintain reception and the only cd in the car was their own. He said it was pretentious to play their own music, so we basically sat in silence. And I sat pretending to look out the window but instead staring at him. At least Alice had sat in the middle.
The Wolves were already on stage half way through an original song when we'd walked in. The choice of band had been another of Rose's brilliant ideas to get Edward jealous. I didn't understand.
Apparently Edward had only agreed to come when he heard the words Jake and Bella in the same sentence. That Esme would later volunteer willingly. I wondered if all my friends were dead set on getting us back together. I wanted to tell them all I was game. Edward was not. End of story.
We all got drinks and stood around, facing the stage. Jake looked well. His hair was growing longer and I chuckled into my glass remembering how he hated me touching it. I couldn't see any of the usual tag along to the band but I guessed they were back stage. I messaged Claire but got no response. I heard the opening rift of the next song and my heart dropped through my stomach. It was thumping. Oh shit. I knew my eyes had widened to the size of golf balls, I glanced at Alice and she flashed me a panicky look. Of course she knew its meaning, this was Alice.
I had a lust I had a firecracker
Jakes gravelly voice picked up the beat of the song. The tune he had written for me. I wanted to melt into the floor. Suddenly I needed to do something with my hands; they clasped the glass I was holding, tightly. I fidgeted with the rim, the tips of my fingers slowly getting wet. I felt Edward stand closer. He must have noticed the way my hands were gripping my glass because he briefly grabbed one of my hands as a distraction. I clung to it for the shortest of seconds. I hoped he didn't feel how sweaty it was. And then I ripped my hand away when I remembered. No one noticed my reaction except him. He ran his hand through his hair. I looked at the bar and centered myself, when I looked back to the group Alice was drilling her eyes into mine. Shit, I'd forgotten about this song. My heart was still thumping so I couldn't digest what she was trying to say without words. The song continued on around me.
I'm still in love
I took a sip. I wanted the song to end. I wanted to slap Jake. I wanted so scream loudly and scare everyone. My skin felt like it was covered in insects and I started fidgeting again. I was angry. How dare he play that song tonight? He knew I was going to be here. Knowing Jake, that was probably his plan. My eyes darted around the room. I was looking anywhere but at the stage. I zoned out for a few seconds, focusing on Edward's hair. Trying to ignore the fear that was creeping over the feelings of contentment. Edward said he couldn't commit. He glanced wearily at me; I crossed my arms over my chest. No response.
Maybe he really didn't care. Then Rose felt the need to bring attention to what I was trying to forget.
Break down on the record company
Did you turn you back on me? Or did I turn myself against myself?
Rose finally tuning into the music suddenly sprayed her drink all over Emmett. Her eyebrows had risen to her hair line. "Fuck Bella, is this that song?" I refused to look at her. I knew Alice elbowed her but I hoped no one saw. Edward sulked. Instead of reacting, I took a steady sip from my drink. I pretended I hadn't heard. The prayer in my head suddenly jumping into overdrive. Don't draw attention to it. Don't acknowledge that she has spoken. Please no one acknowledge she has spoken. Especially not Edward, it's embarrassing. I was hearing my ex sing a song written for me. A song he finished the week before I broke up with him for another guy. A guy, who had broken my heart and rejected me like I was a mere fancy, a guy who I was currently listening to the song with. Frak. Karma's a bitch. I prayed that everyone would just let this song pass and everything would be fine. I felt Edwards eyes gaze at me. I took a step back. He didn't move. I really didn't want to face this embarrassment.
"What song?" I had never wanted to hit Emmett more than I had in that second. He had obviously been too busy wiping his shirt down alas his delayed questioning. With all the calmness I looked at Rose. She shuddered under my gaze. I knew she wanted to tell everyone. Get a reaction from Edward. I didn't want this. I wasn't her. The look said, please don't say anything. For fear of death. She nodded subtly.
"Nothing. Ignore her." Alice looked at me again. I ignored it. I bit my lip and took another sip. My stare resting on the bar.
But I knew it would come out now. Emmett wouldn't leave it, let alone Edward. He approached the question cautiously. His voice causing a thousand memories to filter through my head, it caused the ache in my heart to deepen. "Bella, what is so special about this song?"
I tried to ignore how this was the first time he had directly spoken to me since that night. I wanted to scream traitor at Rose and Alice as they gestured towards the bar and steered Emmett there. Alice looked back at me for a second and I saw pity in her eyes. I took my phone out, intending to message Esme. Edward reached over and took it from my hand.
I didn't even glare at him.
Avoiding eye contact was the trick.
I couldn't have a conversation if I didn't look at him. He repeated his question, louder, more agitated; "Isabella, do you know this song?"
I wittily responded. "Yes of course Edward. Your band's songs are not the only music I listen to."
"You know what I mean! Can you just answer me….please?" he tacked the last bit on at the end, knowing I couldn't refuse a begging Edward.
How do you respond? Oh yes Edward, I know this song because it's written about me. For me. To apologise to me. Is that how I tell him? Is that what I was meant to say? Instead the words sort of fumbled out. "I…Jake…It..Wrote…he…me…I…" I wanted to cry out because I knew the second chorus was over. I knew the lyrics that were coming.
I'm still in love
I set the love in motion
"Jake wrote this song for you?" I heard the anger. I didn't want to be on the receiving end. I just nodded and closed my eyes. How mortifying.
I stare at love with the future we planned
Tell me you feel, this ain't complete emotion
I'm still in love with you baby I am
Oh, did you turn your back on me?
"What?" Edwards face was amused; he thought we were messing around. I didn't want to tell him.
I'm still in love
I'm still in love with you baby I am
Oh, did you turn your back on me?
Ironic, wasn't it?
The night was ruined. I took a glance at Edward. He was fuming. His head was in his hands. His fingers pulling at his hair. An anguished groan was escaping his lips.
"This is bullshit, how can you let him say shit like this to you like that after everything that he has do-"
I blinked. He glared. Oh, he was serious.
"I find that is a tiny bit HYPOCRITICAL don't you think? How can you stand there and say that to me? You're the one who said, No "I can't commit." You wanted to stay friends. Friends, that's all. You let me give up everything I had and then you said oh I can't commit to you. I was all for it. But no you couldn't commit to more, right? And now you're agitated because my ex is singing a song about me? Why do you even care Edward? Why?" I was unaware of how loud I was shouting until I realized the few people that had been standing around us had stopped every conversation they were having and were staring. Jasper and Alice's eyes were falling out of their sockets. Rose's jaw had dropped. She had never seen me so mad.
"Bella, I…" his eyes flickered back to where Jake stood singing into the microphone. He was preoccupied by the battle he had with Jake. He trailed off, oblivious to the anger that was pulsing in my veins. "What a complete fuck head, he knew we were both going to be here tonight."
I'd had enough. A fortnight of silence. A car ride of glares and now this.
"When will you realise, there is no 'we' Edward. You made that pretty clear." I stormed over to the bar. "ALICE, we're leaving."
"Bella, just wait please." He called out behind me.
"No. I don't have to. And I'm not."
She hailed a cab and we had left in ten minutes.
He called at five past two; I had to muffle my ringtone so Charlie didn't rush into my room. I knew the exact time because I had been clock watching ever since we had gotten home. Alice had helped me into bed, the sobs tripping me up. Fucking broken tear ducts. She hugged me tight when I'd repeatedly asked her why he acted that way. And now I couldn't sleep. Too many thoughts running through my mind. Too many tears still to be spilt. The night's events had only made it worse.
I only answered to hear what he had to say.
Well, that's how I justified it to myself.
I guess that anxious energy had taken over. The kind of energy that makes you unable to lie still. The kind that holds your heart ransom even when you know there is nothing between the two of you anymore. The emotion that abandons the concept of self preservation. My heart raced. My palms sweated. The butterflies in my stomach started doing back flips. The smile spread over my face. The emotions that get your heart pumping, that overwhelm, capture, take in every sense of the word. All insecurities are momentarily tossed aside, to be mulled over later. The excitement because even though he crushed you, even though he fractured your heart, you still have the feelings. You still want him. You still crave him. As disturbing as it is, I wanted to hear Edward's voice.
He sounded anxious.
"I don't know what to say. I am sorry about my reaction before. I just...Song writing is close to the heart you know?" I didn't answer. He let out a long agitated breath. "Let's not fight, please Bella."
"I didn't say anything Edward."
He mumbled his response, sounding even more agitated. "Yeah.... sure.... clearly I can tell you're pissed about something."
I sighed in annoyance. "Embarrassed and hurt more likely Edward."
"Bella," He nervously chuckled. "I'd planned on telling you tonight." He didn't say anything more.
I sighed in frustration. "Telling me what Edward? I am over these games alright, so just tell me. I'm tired. Say what you want then I want to go to sleep."
"I can't sleep."
"Obviously not with the two in the morning phone calls these days."
"Shit. Shit.... I'm sorry I wasn't looking at the time...all I wanted to hear was your voice."
I felt my heart retract at what he was saying. "Can you not?"
"Can I not, what? I just wanted to speak to you."
"Well speak. I don't want to hear these half hearted apologies Edward. I don't want to hear these ohhh all I want to h ear is your voice... I just…I can't anymore alright. Tell me what you want and let me go."
"I can't do that….because….Bella, what I want is to be right there with you." I was silent. My heart thumped loudly. My chest physically hurt. I felt like I should want to scream, cry and jump up and down all at once. Instead I was numb. My breathing was even, my heart thumped with nerves. With realizations. With the tiniest bit of hope.
He made me question my own worth. He made me feel pain because I wasn't something good enough. His apology wasn't something I welcomed, sure I wanted it. Just like every girl wants the fairy tale, but I didn't know if it was enough. "So you what, changed your mind suddenly? It's not enough."
He breathed out his response. "I'm sorry."
I thought about it for a second. I thought about all the shit we had been through. Deep down I knew it hadn't been something he planned. "I know you are."
"Bella…I wasn't thinking clearly alright? I can't get you out of my head. And when I try, these feelings feel something for you and it's not anything I can control… I've tried everything…I know it's not your fault I just can't stop thinking about what I did wrong."
What did, 'I've tried everything,' actually mean? Does that mean he was back on drugs? Does that mean he had slept with half the groupies who flocked to him? "What have you done exactly?"
"Can we not?" I heard him light a cigarette. "I promised you no drugs and I kept that promise Bella." I knew what that meant. He couldn't help himself. With ten girls throwing themselves at him. It was like a knife in the gut. I closed my eyes for the briefest of seconds, to hold the tears at bay while he continued to torment me. I knew he had. Esme had pretty much said as much, I just wanted him to understand how it felt. To know, that someone had the power to hurt you so much.
"And after fucking half the state you decide you were wrong, you're sorry and you have feelings for me?"
"I am not going to answer you, Isabella."He sounded angry. It was enough of an answer. The final nail in my coffin.
"I can't do it anymore Edward. I can't try. Not again."
"Well, that's bullshit…you just don't want to. I can't sleep but it doesn't mean I don't try."
"You can't sleep because of the smokes and caffeine."
He laughed without humour. "Lies. All of it." He was silent, I could hear him breathing. "I'll do whatever it takes, please."
I sighed. I didn't know how to answer. I didn't know what I wanted to say. I didn't know if I could simply forget everything, simply forget how he treated me. And then there was the whole issue of what we had actually been. I was confused. "Are we meant to be friends then?"
"No Isabella, we would be a couple. We would date. I would take you out to dinner, preferably in a restaurant not a café. I would meet your father. You'd say hello to my mother as you left my house after staying over. We would discuss your brainiac English classes. We would laugh at Emmett. We would make love. I would struggle everyday to be something, anything for you. I'd dedicate songs to you. I'd call you my girlfriend on stage. I'd get fucked over and beg you to take me home in the middle of the night. You'd laugh and call me a wanker. I don't care what else; I don't really know what else…I have never felt like this. I just know I'd have you and you'd have me."
I sat in silence. It was everything I wanted. It was him. All of him. He was offering. I closed my eyes and conjured up the thought of what it had been like that day in the clearing.
Those memories were of course tarnished by Rose's truth.
"Edward it's what I wanted…"
"But? I can hear a but ….Bella I know it has taken me too long to get here but please…please." His voice pleaded. As in actually pleaded. My head screamed "DANGER WILL ROBINSON DANGER." The choice was mine; I could hang up or take him back. He could do this again. Hurt me. Or we could be what I felt. What I had wanted. What I still wanted if I could get over the heart ache.
So I stayed silent for a minute, I could hear him breathing. I wanted to know what he was thinking. But more than anything, I wanted to know the truth. "I heard from Rose that you took someone there." He didn't need any other words. He knew what I was referring too. The conversation turned back to reality. I felt my heart was being ripped out as I confronted him about someone and the field we had found together. The moments we had shared there.
"Rose should mind her own fucking business. We are no longer together so why does she still keep tabs on me, why does she continue to fuck everything up for me?" I scoffed.
I snapped back, angry that he couldn't even give me a straight answer. "Do you blame Rose for fucking other girls also?"
"It was a mistake."He answered too fast. Too quick. My heart dropped to my stomach.
"It's true?" I stayed silent trying to process what this meant. I had meant the clearing, not the girls. "You took someone else there."
"She didn't care. It was stupid. I'm sorry." I didn't need to know the name. I didn't need to know the hair colour. A 'she' was enough.
My voice was croaky. Cut up. Very close to breaking. I needed to clarify. "You took her there."
"I'm sorry. It was a mistake. I thought it might not just be you. I didn't understand Bella. I didn't understand any of it. And then you weren't answering my calls. And I wanted to see. I just didn't understand." He kept repeating he didn't understand. I cut him off because I couldn't take it. He didn't understand what exactly?
"Is it my fault because you rejected me?"
"No. It's not your fault its mine Isabella… please can we try."
"Try?" I said it like the word tasted foul in my mouth.
He obviously didn't hear my distain, he sounded almost relieved. "Yes, try!"
"I tried to get you to listen to me. I tried to get you to commit. I tried to put my friendship back together after everything. I tried to be the friend you wanted. I tried to not read into anything. I tried to let us go at our own pace. I had to try harder than anything to get Rose to trust me again. I have tried Edward. I'm not doing it anymore."
"Please what Edward? Please let you hurt me again, please let me make a fool of you again; I am done with this trying bullshit Edward. You had a chance and you didn't want it. That's all there is to it." I was silently crying now. I knew it couldn't be the end. I just didn't have it in me to lead anymore. It was up to him.
"You need sleep…I want to see you tomorrow… please go with Jasper. Just go to the gig alright? I mean it Bella. I fucking do."
"Time's up Edward. I'll go tomorrow. But only because Jasper threatened Alice if I don't come."
"As long as you will be there." He was silent for a moment, our breathing the only joint emotion. My heart raced, the butterflies strangled my heart. Before he hung up, his gravelly voice muttered. "I miss you too." And then he was gone.
A/N: please review.