Okay, I know this doesn't mean anything really, but you would have had this chapter YESTERDAY, if it wasn't for the fact that 's login was down for a 'few minutes' that turned out to be all day yesterday and all this morning when I tried to post to before I left for work. But whatever. [/end rant]
AUTHOR'S NOTE Well, I hope that I still have readers out there. I feel so bad for the wait that I have put you guys through. Things have been hectic, and this chapter was extremely difficult to write. This is actually the fourth or fifth draft. And honestly, I am still not entirely pleased with it. Hopefully, I didn't disappoint you. As always, please review, good or bad. I really would like to know what you think
DISCLAIMER The Twilight characters are the property of Stephenie Meyer. And anything else you may recognize... well, I don't own those either.
This chapter is all Bella's POV. I couldn't find a good spot to spilt it. Sorry for those who like hearing from Edward.
May 2016- Bella
It was nearing midnight, and I was still sitting in the hospital waiting room. Edward and the rest of his family had gone into Rosalie's room an hour earlier to see her and little Ethan Dale. Alice had tried to drag me along as well, but I declined. I had come to make sure she was all right, not try and worm my way back into their lives. Then why are you still here? I asked myself. It wasn't like I needed Edward to give me a ride home—it was New York City and there were cabs around every corner.
I stood, smoothing down the front of my shirt, and grabbed my purse. I had just made it to the elevator and was waiting for the doors to open when I heard my name. A moment later, I heard his footsteps as he tried to catch up with me.
"Bella," he breathed, "where are you going?"
"Home," I said flatly, as if it weren't obvious.
"A cab," I replied as the elevator doors opened. I stepped inside and pressed the first floor button.
"This late?" Edward asked, eyeing me with concern.
The doors began to close as I muttered a yes. He stuck out his arm to stop the doors. "Let me take you."
"Edward, that really isn't necessary. You should stay with your family." He ignored me however, and stepped inside.
"Nah. Ethan has already been taken to the nursery and Rosalie is about to lose her battle with the sandman." He laughed weakly at his own joke and I gave him a half-smile, not amused.
Truth be told, after what had happened this afternoon, I was terrified of being within twenty feet of him, especially alone. I couldn't even put into words what exactly it was or how exactly I felt. Having Edward take me home, I knew, had the potential to end very badly. I didn't say a word as we walked through the parking garage to his limousine. Edward opened and closed his mouth several times, as if he were going to say something. He never did, only sighing heavily instead.
"Where to?" Edward's driver asked. I gave him my address and sat back against the seat, holding my breath. We had gone three blocks when Edward spoke.
"Bella," he whispered. I didn't say anything, but I did turn to face him. He didn't say anything else though, and we rode the rest of the way in silence.
When we pulled in front of my apartment building, I reached for the handle, but Edward's hand gripped my shoulder.
"What?" I snapped.
"Bella, I think we should talk about this afternoon."
"Why?" I asked, stupidly. Edward gave me a look that clearly stated that it was important, and I rolled my eyes. "Fine. Come on," I replied, pushing the door open.
He followed me through the front doors and up the first flight of stairs. I saw Edward signal for his driver to leave. "How are you going to get home?" I asked him icily.
"A cab," he answered. I scoffed. "What?"
"Isn't a cab too good for Mr. Limo?"
I opened the door to my apartment and turned on the lights as I walked through the foyer and living room. I paused in the kitchen and asked Edward if he wanted something to drink. He declined and I showed him to the living room. He sat down on the couch and I took a seat on the other side of the room, in the rocking chair, putting as much distance between us as I could.
"This afternoon—" Edward started.
I interrupted. "This afternoon should not have happened." Edward sighed.
"What do you mean, 'maybe'?"
"You can't tell me you didn't want that."
"That doesn't matter, Edward. If I wanted it or not, it doesn't change the fact that it should not have happened."
Edward leaned back against the couch, crossed and re-crossed his legs, and took a deep breath. "What happened to us, Bella?"
My breathing hitched and I tried to swallow. This was the conversation I was trying to avoid, the conversation that was ten years in the making. This was the talk we should have happened when we signed the divorce papers, the one that we both ran away from. After all this time, I was sure it would never happen, much less in my living room, after we had had sex mere hours before.
"I don't know," I finally answered.
"That day, I never even saw it coming, Bella. I was so sure that we were made for each other. When you got pregnant, and we got married, I knew that my dreams were becoming the reality that I had wanted since the first day I met you. God, Bella, you were my first love, my first everything. I know I screwed up."
"Yeah," I whispered. "You kind of did."
I shook my head. "It's over and done with now, Edward. We can't change the past."
"And if we could," he asked, eyeing me carefully, "would you?"
I shrugged. "Edward, you know how I felt about you. Our romance was one of envy. Everyone wanted to have what we had. But, the fact of the matter is, we screwed it up together. I got pregnant, for God's sake. At eighteen. You were in college, I was headed to college. We still had so much growing up to do, so much that we hadn't accomplished yet. We both know that there was still a chance our love wouldn't have lasted. I had dreams of going to graduate school. I had no interest in settling down until at least thirty.
"You, Edward, were ready for the family life. And why wouldn't you be? Where I came from a broken home, divorced parents, a mother who still wanted to live like she was twenty, you were a part of a real family. Your parents were, and still are to this day, madly in love with each other. You have two siblings who you have a phenomenal relationship with. When I told you I was pregnant, I could see the wheels turning in your mind. You were positive you could create a family just like the one you had."
"Bella," Edward whispered, leaning forward again.
"I couldn't do that, though. My mother had always warned me that marriage was a mistake. Of course, she contradicted herself when she married Phil. I guess she didn't learn her lesson the first time." I laughed weakly. "But, I was madly in love with you Edward, and somewhere inside of myself, I hoped that things would be different. I wanted to prove to myself that I wasn't my mother. I could have a child young, get married young, have a family young, and I would make it.
"Then, we lost our baby. That changed everything, Edward. I've had ten years to think about it, and I honestly believe our love become less about each other and more about the baby. And when that baby was gone, our love was gone as well. But, we were already married, already living together, building a new relationship. But, without the baby, that relationship had a hole in it. We began to see less of the things we loved and more of each other's flaws. I'm sorry, Edward, but it was so difficult being with you, and I didn't think that I could keep going like that."
I took a deep breath and grabbed a candle off of the end table, twirling it in my fingers. I didn't dare look at Edward, scared of what he would say. It was quiet for several minutes, the hum of the refrigerator in the next room the only noise. I contemplated dropping the candle, creating a distraction. Just as I was about to do it, Edward spoke.
"I don't know what to say."
"You don't have to say anything."
"But I should. We were both apart of this."
"Edward, I loved you. For a long time. And there are days that I think I still love you. I've come to terms with the fact that what's done is done. Fate doesn't give second chances."
"What did you just say?"
"Fate doesn't give second chances."
"No, before that."
"I don't know," I said slowly, not following where he was going.
"You said that you still love me."
"No, I didn't."
He nodded fervently and he stood, closing the distance between us. He sat down on the ottoman. "God, Bella, you do not know how long I have been waiting to hear you say that. When you told me you wanted a divorce, my heart broke into a thousand pieces. All I have thought about for these last ten years is how stupid I was for signing those papers. Bella, I love you. I always have."
He reached for my hand, but I pulled away. "If you still love me, if you loved me so much then, why did you sign them? Why didn't you fight it? Why weren't you home when I got there?"
"Does it matter, Bella? Would you have changed your mind if I had refused to sign?"
I sighed. "I suppose not."
"Bella, your mind was already made up. And I guess, in the end, I felt like you deserved better. I know I was unbearable back then. Did Alice ever tell you that she refused to speak to me for months because she knew the reason you left was because I was being an asshole." I shook my head. "She pushed me to follow you. And I did."
"You did?" I was shocked.
"Yes," Edward said. "I went to your graduation."
"It took me a while to find someone willing to help me get a ticket. I was going to apologize for everything I had ever done to hurt you. I had a whole speech written."
"I never saw you," I whispered, tears forming in my eyes. "You weren't there."
"But I was, Bella. It took me two years to work up the courage to find you, to approach you. I thought that going to your graduation would be the perfect opportunity to convince you to give me another chance. I was finished with my business degree, and Emmett and I had just started up our firm. I thought that if you saw how much I had changed, you would realize that we were meant to be.
"When I saw you though, standing around with your friends, a guy's arms around you, and a smile on your face, I chickened out. As much as I wanted to go up to you and beg for forgiveness, I didn't want to ruin your life a second time. I left that day and never tried to find you again. Until that day when I walked into your office."
I wasn't fighting the tears anymore. They were flowing down my cheeks, making small puddles on my lap. I sniffled once and tried to wipe the tears away. "Oh, Edward," I muttered, falling into his arms. He held me tightly against his chest and I sobbed loudly. He patted my shoulders awkwardly. After a good ten minutes of crying, I finally pulled away and looked at him.
"What does this all mean, Edward?"
He shook his head. "I'm not sure. These past couple of months have been a whirlwind for me. Honestly, I was finally starting to get over the past and move on. I had come to terms with the fact that I was never going to see you again and never get the second chance I hoped for. But, when I realized you were the owner of S & C Architecture, I didn't know what to think. But, the emotions and the feelings came flooding back, and today, I felt alive. Having you in my arms again was the greatest feeling in the world." He smiled broadly, cupping my cheeks in his hands.
"Edward," I said, "we can't just go back to the way things were. Life doesn't work that way."
"I know, Bella, but can't we try? Can't we have a second chance?"
I bit my lip, thinking it over. I had been so furious with Edward all those years before. For not treating me the way he had, for not fighting harder, for letting me ruin what we had. But, now, here he was, back in my life and admitting that he was willing to be us again. Even if it didn't work, I had to give it a shot. I owed myself that much.
"All right," I agreed. "We can try."
END AUTHOR'S NOTE Well? Was it all right? I hope that no one thinks they are moving too fast. Yes, they had sex, and yes, they admitted they still love each other, but at least now they aren't like, "OMG! We should totally get married all over again and start a family and ignore the fact that we like, haven't seen each other in forever and that we have a lot to learn!"
ALSO—for any of those who have livejournals, please add me. The link is in my profile. I have yet to write anything in it, but I would really like some friends for when I do.