Author's Note: This fic is based on the song "You Will Make It" by Jem. Contains brief mentions/hints at suicide.
Go to bed, everything's all right
Don't know the whole world's changing
As you sleep through the night
Wake up slowly and it's a different world.
Bloodshot eyes parted slowly, squinting, aching in the grey, early morning light. Purple crescents hung low under each orb, the skin puffy and swollen. Each time the lid closed over the lens, a dull ache registered somewhere in the brain, which longed to slip back into unconsciousness, a coping mechanism to spare the body pain.
Beneath her ribcage, a heart beat with throbbing slowness, each palpitation a painful reminder that it ran simply on autopilot now, that nothing, no one, caused it to hum with cheerful syncopation. There was no face, no voice, no touch to make her breath hitch; she was suffocating little by little from holding her breath in hopes of his return.
She was raw, sore, cut open, left bleeding, her heart ripped out in some horrible human sacrifice for love. One day everything had been normal, perfect even, and the next—despair and longing had set in.
Bella had fallen asleep one night in her vampire angel's arms—safe and nervous as he stewed over the events of her birthday, his own brother battling his nature at the scent of her blood. She'd fought to stay awake to downplay her pain and the seriousness of the situation, knowing that he'd agonize over them, point out the danger, and question the ever-fluid morals of right and wrong.
It was when her eyes fluttered open the next morning and he was content to leave her bedside with a chaste kiss that nothing quite seemed right. She would wonder for days, weeks, months, what he'd thought about while she slept.
That day was forever etched in her subconscious. Not with a fine, filigree engraving, but with a rusty blade of harsh words leaving her scarred; emotional gashes gaping open for everyone to see every time she ducked her head at the mention of his name. She didn't know which was worse—the quick way she was hacked up, left for dead, alone, or the sloppy way she'd been put back together by parents and friends who didn't understand that kind of love. And in truth, it wasn't just the loss of his love that fractured her soul; it was the loss of their love that was salt in the wounds. A family of soul mates who left without a goodbye or second thought.
Life. She would never be the same without him—any of them. Surely she would be lost, a victim to the swirling grey mass of loneliness and despair, black thoughts creeping in like soulless wraiths, ready to suggest a solution too rash, too hurtful, a permanent solution to the pain. The scheme rooted itself in the darkest recesses of her mind, ready to slither to the surface if needed.
Hear the news and the floods begin
Scream so loud, but only felt within
Heart is shattered, the pieces can't be found
"You don't want me?"
It was at that precise moment that Bella knew souls existed; it was in that moment that hers shattered, fractured into one hundred shards, each edge so razor sharp that if she tried to stuff them back inside herself, inside the remainder of her metaphorical heart, it would slice the wounds anew, the life blood he once craved pouring out for those who had no desire for it.
The words had called a deluge of tears that stormed for days.
She had been left alone in the woods—the one place he told her never to go alone— stricken blind by a slippery veil of tears, overexposed like a blurry photograph. She'd screamed for him, screamed, but no sound burst forth, only the silent roar of pain that reverberated through her body, shaking it to its foundation, bringing her to her knees.
Her fingers dug into the cold, damp earth, grasping for something—the scattered pieces of her shattered soul? It didn't matter; she didn't want the fragments without him to mend it. Maybe he'd clung to the biggest piece, stuffed it in his pocket as a trinket, an amusing reminder of the silly, idiotic human who fell in love with him.
She'd always felt he was so far above her, so perfect, too perfect, and now she was suffering for daring to love someone so thoroughly beautiful like him. She always thought she had been unworthy of his love, simple, needy, weak, imperfect human that she was, but as she lie alone, cold, and wet on the forest floor it was never more evident. No wonder he'd left her— she was a cheap imitation of what he deserved and wanted. And now he could pursue other interests.
She was like a second-hand puzzle. There were pieces missing, but if one put the remaining pieces together correctly, you could get the gist of the picture. She could almost appear intact, but she would never be whole without him.
You will make it
You will make it through
I promise you he would want you to
She was broken, defeated, alone, and each day it got a little more difficult to keep up the charade for Charlie, for Renee, and for the friends that quit coming by. It was the most mundane things that seemed toughest to do: frying eggs for Charlie, going to school, remembering to sit down and eat. Those routine tasks gave her the opportunity to think, while her body could run on autopilot. Everything, everywhere, was a painful reminder of his overwhelming, mind-boggling presence in her life.
Never mind the quilt she refused to launder, not even conscientiously acknowledging to herself that it still smelled sweet like his breath; washing it was just out of the question. But there was also the kitchen chair where he once sat looking so out of place, the sofa where they'd snuggled in to watch Romeo and Juliet—another tragic love story—the empty rocking chair in her bedroom, the lonely passenger seat of the aging truck he so hated, and the blue blouse she passed by every day in her closet. He had permeated every fraction of her life—not just with his mouth-watering scent but with the memories that dusted every aspect of her existence. She had lived Edward Cullen, not only loved him. And she thought he had lived her too. God, how could she be so wrong? How could she imagine a life without him?
In rare moments of rationalization (or was it?) she wondered if living was better or worse than just fading away. Living still afforded her the luxury to dream about him and hope (albeit not confidently) for his return. If she ceased to be, what would happen next? Fear of the unknown could be more terrifying than living without him. Her dreams and prayers could just vanish, evaporate, go unnoticed—so continuing on was the only option.
Ultimately, he wanted her to move on, and how could she refuse him anything in the world? Her birthday, just before the end, while watching Romeo and Juliet and trading lines like the star-crossed lovers, he'd reluctantly admitted that he would not want her to harm herself if something happened to him. It was the first time they had spoken frankly about death. He argued it was a moot point anyhow—he wouldn't be putting her in any danger, and he was immortal. At the time he didn't seem to understand the pain it would cause if he failed to exist—and perhaps she hadn't understood his point either. Maybe he was preparing her for his departure even then.
But it helped to purge the darkest thoughts from her mind. She hadn't promised him outright that she would never harm herself, but in her distant memory there seemed to be a pained expression on his face has he considered her early end. And so, despite the emotional pain that consumed her soul—even stronger than the venom that once racked her body—the knowledge that Edward wanted her to live, to thrive, and to take care of herself was enough.
She couldn't promise that she would thrive, but she would carry on, continue, because hurting him even now was akin to self-torture. She would make it through—for him.
Months go by, still living in a daze
Don't know what you've done with the last seven days
Soul is numb and life is like a dream
He had quit marking time ages ago; he didn't know what month it was—October, November, December, January?
It didn't matter anymore; one hellish month of agony was the same as another. Only one date really mattered anyway—the day he'd thrown everything away. Love. Hope. A chance at normalcy. A jaded chance at a life. Any goodness he had left in him after his change was all gone now.
Time had passed, he knew that much, but the pain only intensified instead of lessening.
He longed for sleep as he never had, wishing to pass some of the torturous hours in the soothing arms of unconsciousness. Days passed in hazy hours of replayed memories, delusions, daydreams, and a personal disgust at what he had done to someone he professed to love. Another innocent victim of what he was.
There used to be minutes or even hours of sweet reprieve when he could fantasize about his beloved, imagining it was only moments since he had seen her. He could delude himself into savoring the sensation of the balmy temperatures not unlike one of her caresses.
His entire mind was filled with vivid memories of her—watching her eat breakfast on the day he'd taken her to meet his family, kissing the back of her neck as they cuddled on her sofa, watching over her as she slept, seeing her panicked reaction to his driving, the way the blue blouse contrasted against her pale skin, hugging her curves and highlighting her collarbone.
It didn't take long for his memory to betray him and he would be haunted by flashbacks of his brother's foiled attack, watching her writhing in pain in the ballet studio while venom coursed through her, the look on her face as he'd lied through his teeth and said he didn't love her that day in the forest, tasting her blood….
Some vampire angel he'd turned out to be. He failed at his only mission. If his self-imposed absence did any good it was that he had no desire to sample the warm, red liquid that gave her life. Tasting anyone but her would pale in comparison, and yet the thought of robbing her of that essence was stomach-turning and terrifying now more than ever.
Every day was the same pain and monotony—but he would endure it for her. Nothing distinguished a Monday from a Friday. The only day with any significance was Sunday when the church bells would chime, marking the time for mass, creating an air of familiarity and nostalgia. For the next hour he would be racked with overwhelming guilt. As the carillon rang through the town square, the sounds of her sobs resonating through the forest echoed throughout his memory.
He truly contemplated the existence of his own soul; it felt as if a part of him had been ripped out by an angry fist right through his chest, cauterizing the wound in the process, leaving the pain to fester inside. He had always believed in heaven, in a God, but never imagined this kind of vengeance. Would the pain of hell be worse than this? Did it matter? He was living a nightmare.
Helping hands, but you push them away
How could they understand?
Don't wanna share your pain
Afraid to heal, 'cause that would mean goodbye
He stopped answering his phone altogether and lost count of how many missed calls there were from Alice, Esme, and Carlisle. The calls were cheerful and hopeful once upon a time, wishing him well, wishing him luck on his tracking, and politely requesting him to return the call when he was 'free' or 'felt up to it.' For a short while, he listened to the voice mails after the fact, but the outright pleading and broken sighs were too much to bear. After a few weeks, the requests turned into demands and outright threats.
He slumped against the wall in the putrid attic of the dwelling he was hiding in and slid down to a crouching position as he dialed the familiar number, entered his password, and put the phone to his ear.
"Do you know what you're doing to Carlisle and Esme, or do you just not care? Get over yourself and come home already."
Rolling his eyes, he pinched the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger and advanced to the next message. Some were easier to listen to than others.
"Dude, Bro, do you realize how grouchy everyone is getting around here? It sucks without you. Check in or send a postcard or something—gimmie some reprieve."
"Edward Anthony Masen Cullen! Why aren't you taking my calls? I miss you, and I'm worried. Some days you're difficult to see, and you know how that frustrates me. Please call me."
"Edward, dear, please—"
He couldn't bear to listen to hers anymore.
"Edward…I'm so sorry. I wish I was stronger.
Next. He didn't want apologies. It was no one's fault but his.
"Edward, you're being an—"
Occasionally, one or two caused him to pause and listen, especially when it was a low blow. He could never turn away from his father; he had too much respect for him. The affection in the paternal voice was undeniable, and he couldn't bear to ignore the voice despite the surging pain.
"Son, I'm concerned, it's been weeks since we've heard from you."
He could close his eyes and imagine Carlisle in an office at Ithaca, pacing the floor as he debated the call. For as much as Edward ignored the calls, it meant one thing—they had not forgotten about him. And still, this gave him more guilt. They were even-numbered now, perfectly paired without him, but no matter what he did, he brought them misery.
"Your mother and sister are worried, and your brothers miss you, please call soon. Never forget you are loved."
There was often pause to their speech, and it struck fear in him. That pause could hold so much. He waited, terrified that they would utter her name—breathe an update, a whisper of her hopefully happier fate. It was something he both longed for and feared. It was slowly dawning on him that he could not escape her forever. No matter how far away he stayed, curiosity would get the better of him. One day he would see her name in a marriage announcement, publicizing the birth of a child, or in an obituary. The muscles in his stomach clenched uncomfortably, forcing him to take a meaningless breath to calm his nerves. He could not bear the thought, despite all the danger he possessed, of her moving on without him.
The hurt he was causing his family (and himself) was unquestionable, but it was better to push them away now—to distance himself and ignore their pleas for contact so they could acclimate to existing without him. He couldn't imagine going home. It wasn't easy to hurt them; contrarily, it only added to the all-consuming heartache he was experiencing. He couldn't imagine being with them in this state—and he couldn't imagine moving on either. He was a true vampire and was leeching away every moment of happiness and constantly reminding them of the agony he felt. Just the thought of witnessing, hearing, knowing their moments of intimacy was too much to bear—and it wasn't right for them to hide it from him. No. It was better if he were alone now.
They had never understood his attraction to 'the human,' and they didn't understand the pain he felt now. Their suggestions and comments were so simple, ranging from "get over it" to "just bite her already, you know it's inevitable." Perhaps only Carlisle knew the severity of his dilemma and the deeply rooted conviction that plagued his conscience. It was the only argument preventing him from flying home tonight and begging for her forgiveness.
Maybe that wouldn't be enough. She had asked, almost pleaded, to become like him—and that plea was damn tempting. He could remember the pain of his transformation—the ravenous burning threatening to consume the very essence of him. Flames coiled and snaked around every muscle, choking the humanity out one guttural scream at a time. He burned from the inside out, heat radiating to every limb, searing that violence and anger into whatever was left of his brain.
The pain had not destroyed him physically and, in the end, he had born it because he had no choice. But this ungodly pain of losing Bella was solely his fault—he did have a choice, and he didn't have to endure it. As he saw it, he had two choices: he could end it all now—it wouldn't be easy, but a contingency plan had formed in his mind months ago—or he could swallow his pride—accept that he was dangerous, and risk everything on the gamble that she still loved him. That still left him with a moral dilemma—could he condemn her to his fate and steal her soul for his own selfish pleasure?
His entire vampire existence was shrouded in darkness, and she was that light that made him feel alive. He couldn't truly live without her in his life. He couldn't bear the agony.
You will make it
You will make it through
I promise you, they would want you to
The constant reassurance of familial love didn't seem to matter—the affection was appreciated and returned, but it did nothing to ease the deep ache that caused them to tremble, rock, or hold themselves together. They couldn't live for fathers, mothers, brothers, terribly well-meaning and adorable sisters who couldn't help but meddle, or best friends.
They had opted to stop living and merely exist; each day passing in a daze. They wandered through life sluggishly, confused, without partaking in the experiences around them, numbing themselves with daredevil stunts and seclusion. The hope of the possibility of someone else did little to relieve the heaviness of heart and the gaping hole threatening to consume each of them.
Life itself had become an emotional anesthesia, blocking sensation, running on autopilot, a reversible lifelessness. Neither could truly live pain-free without the other but would rather exist in a depressed level of consciousness until they could meet again—in this world or the next.