The wind whipped at my face and tussled my hair. The sky was dark; there were snowflakes flowing through the wind in the strong gusts. The usual gracefulness and peace the snow brought me didn't exist today. Today it was mourning the loss of someone special. Today it was daunting and angry. Everything was ghastly and macabre. There was no escaping it.
The glacial chills couldn't affect me. You could say that I didn't even feel it. I was numb, inside and out.
I watched with blurry eyes as the polished wooden casket was preparing to be lowered into the earth, for forever. My love inside it.
People began heading back to the church, claiming the cold was getting too strong. So, I was left alone, once again. The man in charge of taking care of the casket nodded my way and spoke with the usual, practiced comforting words, but I didn't hear them. He too left me alone soon enough.
My knees buckled beneath me and I fell to the ground, my black slacks becoming muddy as they sunk into the frosted soil. Sobs racked my body, shaking me like the wind did to the leaves on the ground.
I was a lost cause. I would be alone forever… no, I would just die alone. And I hoped my end would come soon.
The graveyard was completely empty now, except for me and the snow. It fell around my tremulous figure, but seemingly, never on me. My mind was going… it was lost amongst all others. I was as dead as the man lying in the box in front of me.
I cried out again. My scream pierced the hushed air. My hands beat against the dead grass. I felt like a small child having a tantrum over something insignificant their parents told them they couldn't have.
Suddenly, I was being lifted from the brown earth. My feet were unsteady, but long, leather clad arms held me up. And for a brief moment, I thought I was living a dream. Jacob was back. His abs pressed into my back, giving me that security and warmth that they always produced in me. His hands gripped my arms and I could feel his fervent breath cascade across my neck and soaking my hairs with their scent, his musky, woodland smell assaulting my nostrils in the best of ways.
But then the dream was shattered. Dust surrounded my vision and fell away in a cloud, bringing me back to reality.
A stranger was holding me. His muscles were pressing against my back, until he turned me around to face him. His hands were a vice on my wrists and his warm, minty breath was caressing my neck and face, warming to the slightest. Yet a shiver ran through me and shot through my body with a firework spark.
"I'm sorry to interrupt, ma'am, but… really you shouldn't be laying on the ground in your condition. You body can't handle the cold without the adequate coverage. We wouldn't want you sick, now would we?"
I couldn't voice my opinion so I nodded.
"Can I take you somewhere? Somewhere warm, maybe?"
"I have nowhere to go." I answered, without thinking.
I didn't want attention or pity from any of my friends or family. That would be the only thing I would receive from Alice or my mother. And going back home, if you could even call it that now, was completely out of the question.
He still lingered there. His scent. His belongings. His presence. His face forever captured in the pictures hanging on the walls. His clothing placed messily in his own neat way around our bedroom. I couldn't go back there. Not now.
Could I ever?
"Miss, you can't stay out in this weather. Please, let me take you back to my place. It's warm, has food, and you can change into something more comfortable. I sure will not mind your presence. Actually, I need to speak with you, more privately. So please, let me take you into my care for the day."
Without consideration, I obliged. Was I really that lost in my brain to have said yes to a complete stranger that he could take me back to his home? His could have been a sadist rapist or murderer who got off on going to funerals and finding disgruntled victims. Did it really matter if I continued living? After losing my one true love?
The stranger held my shoulders firmly, directing me towards his car. I felt like a porcelain doll in his care. His holds made me feel breakable, more fragile, than I probably was, but at the same time, I felt safe and an intense tightening in my chest.
Did he introduce himself? Do I know his name? Perhaps I had met him before? No, I didn't know his name. He never said. I was sure.
He left his hand on my shoulder for a moment as he leaned down to open the door of a car. Silver, I think it was. Everything seemed black and white now. Nothing had color. Jacob had brought color into my sight.
I registered my knees bending and the cool of the leather seat against my hands, the closing of a door and the blast of heat against my face. But everything else was muddled, blurred into lines and unattainable sounds. I couldn't seem to come back to reality. His voice was far away and my sight was impaired. I was broken. Unreachable. Forever lost.
I groaned out loud. My hand went to my forehead. I felt like I had a hangover. Damn, my head hurt. What had happened? I couldn't seem to remember anything past that horrid dream I had had. My love had passed; I went to his funeral… it all seemed so real and undeniable, but at the same time impossible. My Jacob wouldn't leave me.
I opened my eyes. Dried makeup and mush had gathered around my eyelashes. My vision was blurry and unfocused. I swallowed; my throat was raw and my mouth was dry. I felt like death.
My hands smoothed over the fabric of the couch… why was it cold? I had a blue cloth couch. This was cold and smooth… leather. When the hell did we buy a new sofa?
My eyes finally were able to pry open and I could focus on my surroundings. This was not my house! Oh dear god! I slept with someone else. I had gotten drunk and I cheated on my husband! Had we fought?
I threw the blanket off my body, finding myself fully clothed. My mind began to swirl and my stomach turned nauseously. Fuck, I felt like I was going to puke.
My feet were numb and unsteady. What had happened to me? Was I drugged?
"Hey, you're awake." The voice was unsure, silky, and extremely close to my ear.
I screamed, unable to help myself. The voice was behind me. Out of reflex I jumped back, propelling myself into the dark wood table next to the sofa.
His arms reached out to catch me and I leaped back even more, completely losing my balance. "Don't touch me! Get away from me!"
His hands gripped my arms with a gentle strength and just like a wave crashing into the shore, everything came back to me.
The dream. My Jacob. No, no, no…he couldn't… no, he couldn't be gone. He can't leave me -- he promised.
"Shh… Shh… you need to relax, sweetie. Here sit back down." I hadn't realized my mumblings were spoken out loud. Nothing was making sense.
It couldn't be true.
A sob broke through my mouth and I broke down again. I cried this time. I didn't know whether it was the first time or not, but I didn't stop for hours. The stranger held me, cradling me against his chest, lovingly. Like a lover, he comforted me, mumblings little words that meant nothing and could fix nothing. Not my soul. Not my heart. Not what had happened.
Even when my tear ducts dried, I still sobbed in his arms, yelling and whispering over and over again my lover's name. My soul mate, my everything -- he was supposed to be my everything. The man rocked me back and forth unendingly.
Time was nothing now. It meant little to me and was no longer recorded in seconds or minutes or hours. I don't know how long I sat there, but I finally stopped yelling, then sobbing, then whispering. Then the last tear dried. And the room was quiet for the moment. His arms never left me.
I dreamed again. But his presence and his arms were still around me. Not holding me back or down. Just holding. Just remaining with me.
Jacob was there, his figure ghostly and pale. He was dead. There was no use denying it. He was only a ghost in my mind. He reached for me and his fingertips ran themselves over my cheekbone and across my neck, down to my wedding ring. Its gold band seemed to glisten in the moonlight until it began to fade and then it was gone. It was as if his touch made it disappear.
He was letting me go. He was telling me that my new love would come. That he wasn't it. That he never was. That I would move on. Those were his exact words, his last words.
He kissed me on my forehead, then my cheek, then my lips. Each was pulled out, loving, and passionate in its own chaste way. Then he turned without another word, wish, or comment to me.
His figure was black as it retreated into the dark, star filled sky, leaving no footprints, no traces of him. Not even a tingle on my skin from his touch.
And I watched him go, without fighting. I let him go as I was closed in, safely, in the stranger's arms. But he would be no stranger soon. He would be the one. Jacob knew. He wanted him to be everything he was and couldn't be now.
With his permission, I awoke. I wouldn't dawdle over his death anymore. No one really died. Everyone's soul lived on, their presence always lingering. The figure might disappear under the dirt of the ground, but one's soul and mind still existed in some form or another.
I awoke in his arms, to a new day, to a new world, to a new someone.
I sat at the table, drinking a glass of water from a blue handmade glass. It was intricate in pattern. The glass reflected the sunset coming through the large glass wall of the apartment. Its tones were interesting. The name on the bottom read Elizabeth Masen. Mother? Grandmother?
I had learned that the stranger's name was Edward Masen. He was a director for a special division of the police, or something along those lines.
I was unsure of the details.
A mug was set down beside me. Steam elated from the top. Coffee. Caffeine. Yum. Good.
"That should help. And these too." Three ibuprofen tablets were placed next to the coffee. I swallowed them first try. They hurt going down.
"Thank you. Really. For everything you have done. I'm extremely sorry about my breakdown and for stealing your time and intruding your home…" I was interrupted by his pale hand suddenly clutching mine. A spark flew to my core, lighting a fire that I didn't know existed. Yes, Jacob was right. He would be the one.
His touch was welcoming and passionate and comforting and… different. Good different, definitely.
"Don't you worry, about anything. You are welcome here as long as you like. I know it is hard to return to a your household after the loss… loss of a loved one. I too have gone through it. My father being the first, long time girlfriend being the second. Don't think I am trying to pull you away from you grieving. I'm just saying… well I didn't know what I am trying to say. Just that I understand to some extent I hope." His hand squeezed mine again and another flame lit. "I am here for you; I want you to know that."
"Thank you." I said again. It seemed to be one of the main words that kept coming from my mouth.
He smiled and took a sip of his coffee. I did the same.
"There is something I wanted to talk to you about though. I… there was a specific reason I took you in, to take care of you. Not that I wouldn't have done it otherwise, but there was a specific reason in your case. I can't hold it in anymore. And… screw it! You are an independent, grown woman and I think you have every right to know… Mrs.…" he trailed off and I filled in the blank; utterly confused.
"Ms. Swan. It's Ms. Swan now." He didn't say anything, only nodded, but I could see that he understood that it was part of my recovery. Excluding my love's name from my own.
"Well, then Ms. Swan, I am just going to say it. No working up to it. Your husband… I was there when he passed. Not by choice. My team was called to his hostage situation. It was just out of luck and a few other things, fate supposedly, that I was there when he died. But what I am getting too… whoa, I don't know why this is so hard to say. I shot, Mr. Black's killer. I was the main shooter. It was my job to secure Mr. Black's life, and to take in the shooter into custody. I did one of those things, Ms. Swan. And it was not securing your husband's life. It was a spur decision, the killer's, I mean. I don't believe that he ever intended to kill. But it was a single pull of the trigger and there was nothing anyone could do."
"What are you getting at Mr. Masen?" I questioned, suddenly impatient.
"What am I getting at?" he repeated my words, a perplexed look on his face. He repeated the words again, his face nearing mine and his tone rising.
"Ms. Swan, I just admitted that I could have saved your husband and you… I expected… most woman would have slapped me in the face, kicked me in the groin, yelled in my face, something. Hell, even break down crying again, but you just sit there and ask me what I am getting at? Are you going into a cationic state? Didn't you fuckin' love him?" he was yelling now, but I didn't seem to mind. I saw his point.
But at the same time it brought me to you. I wanted to say, "Mr. Masen. I loved Jacob very much. Sometimes I doubted myself how much I could physically loved him. It was easy, our love. Don't you dare question that…. everything happens for a reason, Mr. Masen. Everything happens for a reason. And he will never be really dead. He is still with me and don't think that I am going cationic or insane.
"Don't you still your loved ones' presences? I can't be the only one. Or do you just deny them?" he didn't answer and I continued.
"And really, Mr. Masen, I never was one to act like other women. You may think that I really have gone insane. But I am already over him. He asked me to move on and I could never deny him anything, especially his last wishes. Since, I think that something else awaits me. Someone else. He wasn't the one. Fate isn't that cruel. It doesn't take soul mates. Now if you had asked me that 72 hours ago, I might have given you a different answer, but I have now seen a different side. Jacob has spoken with me."
He starred at me dumbfounded, but I couldn't care. He would come around. I knew that he and I would fall in love, if we weren't already. He would be my savior in many ways, just as he already had been. My world had not crashed, it had simply momentarily stopped spinning.
I had never been superstitious before. It was not a week ago that I believed that once you died, that was that. No heaven, no hell. You were buried in the ground while others lived on. Never had I ever believed in ghosts or souls or other worlds. But things change— Jacob always believed in silly things placed in fairytales and fantasy lands. Now I could see where he was coming from.
"Ms. Swan, I am not sure what to think of you at the moment… I don't think that I have ever heard anyone speak in such a way. You… are you sure you are sane. I hate to remind but your husband did just pass not 72 hours ago…"
"I am well aware of the time frame, Mr. Masen. I have just seen a new… perspective. Remember when I feel asleep last. Well, I had a dream, a very real dream. You were in it. You held me. And Jacob, he was there. He spoke briefly to me and gave me the farewell kiss that he never got the chance to give. And while you may find it hard to believe, it was very real. My dreams have always held somewhat of a future pretense in them and this was no different. Believe me when I say that I never used to believe in this sort of thing, but… now I have new motives." I chuckled to myself, playing with my wedding ring.
"Jacob would have taunted me about how he told me so. Now that I believe in supernatural things, I assure you that he would have been proud." I laughed to myself again.
"You are very different. Never have I met someone like you. So in love and passionate about a human being, yet after his passing so alive and recalling memories without pain."
"Well, I am not alone now, am I? I have my savior next to me, do I not?"
My hand reached out to his again. It felt natural and perfect.
"Yes, I suppose you do." And somehow the air moved around us. My world kept spinning. This was new a beginning for the both of us.
2 years later.
"Edward! We have to go!"
The black dress swung slightly back and forth, although I knew that no one had been in the closet besides me and there was no air moving around in the room. Jacob still showed preferences for what I wore.
I smiled to myself. He still existed. He kissed my cheek in the morning, a light breeze gusting unusually against my jaw line as I opened my eyes, before Edward's solid lips replaced his. He never minded though. Edward knew he still shared me too, to some point. He never seemed to mind. I would always love Jacob, but Edward, he was my love; I was beyond in love with him.
"Edw—"I started but was abruptly stopped as familiar arms wrapped around my waist. His chin came to rest upon my shoulder and I sighed in comfort of our bodies close together, skin to skin.
"Yes, my darling?" his bare chest was warm against my naked back.
"Why are you not dressed yet? No shirt? Good god, Edward we have to leave in 15 minutes!" I tried to push away his arms, but they were so warm and felt so wonderful. We were still living in the honeymoon stage of our relationship. It was hard to resist the pleasure of each other's touches.
"Why are you wearing no dress?" his kissed my shoulder, making his way up my neck as his hand floated down my back sensually, lighting the flames inside my body. Suddenly the room felt too warm.
"I hadn't…. chosen… which one," I moaned. It only encouraged his hand further as he touched all the right places. He knew where to make my knees weak.
"The blue one, in front of you." He muttered against my skin.
It was the same one Jacob had picked. They always had similar taste.
I could feel his pull on my arms; he was leading me backwards—to the bed.
"No, Edward. I will not have a quickie before we leave for the concert." I pulled with much needed strength out of his arms and quickly pulled the bathroom door shut, locking him out.
We were meeting Alice, Jasper, Rose and Emmett for an elegant dinner and then a classical concert. Not quite the favorite for all of the group, but enjoyable none the less. Emmett rather preferred a club or a band concert, which was where we were going next Saturday night. It was nice to have our family back together.
It had been 3 weeks since Edward and I have returned from our honeymoon and this was the first time all of us could be together as a group once more.
I called in Edward, yelling for his help. I innocently pulled the white stick out of the door, starring at it for a moment. Unbelievable.
"What? Something wrong?"
"Nothing of the sort, although I thought you might want to see this." Like it was nothing, I handed over the manufactured stick. The thing that had changed my life. Not four hours earlier had I been sitting on the toilet, my foot tapping impatiently against the expensive tiled floor. The line had turned blue and I couldn't stop the sigh of relief the passed through my lips.
He was silent for a moment and I simply smiled. I had been almost ripping at the seams waiting to tell him that he would indeed be a father sooner than he thought. I continued apply my foundation, still clad in my bra, panties, and silk robe that Alice had bought me for Christmas. I waited patiently for it to occur to him.
"Bella…. Oh my god, Bella!" my feet left the floor and the room spun madly as Edward shouted in my ear over and over again. The makeup bottle broke on the floor, but neither of us noticed.
"Bella, we are going to have a child. You're pregnant. Holy Shit, Bella! How long have you known? How long along are you? Am I the first to find out? Oh, my god, Bella," the room stopped spinning. Everything was bright and lovely and perfect. Edward was smiling and I was happy.
What else could I ask for?
Jacob was, in sprit, at my side, congratulating me. Edward, in solid form, was holding me in his arms, thrilled that his child was growing in my stomach.
I loved both, and always would. I had moved on as both of them had told me too.
Both were my saviors in one form of another: Jacob was the ghost of my mind, and Edward, forever the love of my life.
On a bus in a dream I saw you
You were beautiful
A girl in a dress I could see through
And the colors that surround you
Like neon on the avenue
The people all around you were dust in my eyes
And I wanted to believe you
The lies that I could see through
But I never got between you and the ghost in your mind
Yeah, the ghost in your mind.
It's there in your eyes
There in your voice
But you're far away
You're far away
It's there in your eyes
There on your face
But you're far away
On a day like today I remember
How beautiful you could be to me
And the colors that surround you
Like a prince had come and found you
Picked you up and crowned you in the land of the blind
And I wanted to believe you
The lies that I could see through
But I never got between you and the ghost in your mind
Yeah, the ghost in your mind
--- Ghost in Your Mind by Black Lab