When Love Was New Contest

Title of Entry: The Heart Grows Fonder

Your pen name: TheRamblingBanana

If you would like to see all the stories that are a part of this contest visit: When Love Was New C2 Community
http://www(DOT)fanfiction(DOT)net/community/When_Love_Was_New_Contest_Entries/73614/

A/N: BIG hugs to TresChic who beta'd my first little story in to the fanfic world! xxx


I stepped outside and the cool evening air made me shiver. In my haste I had left my jacket behind at the party and only the cream cardigan covering my thin blue dress was my shield from the weather. I welcomed the sharp cold. Perhaps it would chill me from the outside in, freezing my insides and relieving me of the searing burn in my chest. I was sure the pain was so severe that my physical body would collapse from it. I unbuttoned the loose cardigan and wrapped it tight against my body, locking my arms around my torso. Taking breaths in short gasps I stumbled down through the meadow towards the boat dock on the lake. The moon was full and illuminated my way, casting a black shadow of myself before me.

I could feel the damp grass underneath the thin soles of my shoes and the brown reeds were tall enough now to brush against my knees.

Down the hill on the other side of the meadow was the dock. It was small and old and only used for the Cullen's rickety row boats. Now that the Cullen children had grown up and moved out of the family lake house, the boats had gone untouched. The dock was still visited frequently though. Esme would go down with her board and easel and paint the quiet lake and the beautiful surrounding flora. As often as she would sit there-, in the same spot, the result was always unique and inimitable.

I continued to walk to the end of the small dock and unstrapped my blue flats. The light material had darkened at the toe from walking through the wet meadow grass. I sat on the edge of the dock looking out at the daunting black trees on the opposite bank. They were a stark contrast to their inviting evergreen during the daylight hours. They mirrored my feelings. Just days ago I had felt light and carefree, but now I was sure there were no differences between my physical self and my black shadow outline the light of the moon projected. I dangled my feet over the edge of the dock. It creaked as I swayed them back and forth. My toes dipped in and out of the water, making the reflection of the moon ripple and then reform. The weight I felt in the pit of my stomach made me feel like simultaneously crying, screaming, and retching. I was past shivering from the bitter air at this point and now embraced the numbing sensation that covered my limbs.

Edward.

Letting my toes swish the cold water back and forth, I allowed myself to ruminate about him. My mind tried to remember the exact moment when I realized that what I felt for him was love. Maybe I had misinterpreted it? Maybe I could go back to that moment and realize that what I had felt was incorrect, a mistake? If it was a mistake, could things go back to the way they were before? Could I dispel this longing for him that caused the tightness in my chest?

While my mind was reeling my heart knew it was a moot exercise. Even through my determination to prove my heart wrong all I could remember of that moment was feeling utter completion. Peace. There was an odd but perfect sense of achievement, like I had finally realized the correct formula to an equation. What I didn't know at the time was that the sum of that equation was both love and heartbreak rolled in to one.

I had known Edward for ten years.

Ten years of stealing each others fries, pulling hair, measles, road trips, college parties, new relationships and break ups, trips to the hospital, laughing, parental divorces, summers on the boat dock whispering secrets.

When Edward had decided to leave Forks for a year to travel Europe I knew I would miss him more than I could express. On March 15th he left and my tears did not cease until my eyes were red and swollen. The next day followed in the same pattern. As did the next until finally my eyes dried. Every day I would wake up thinking of him. Where was he? What was he doing right now? I was wrecked with worry that something might happen to him while travelling on his own. I became completely consumed with his return, willing him to arrive sooner. As the weeks passed his absence became a physical pain. One that would etch my body from the time I woke and I would not find solace until my eyes closed again that night. The only small respite I had were his e-mails. He had promised to keep in touch and he did so every week. I longed to hear his voice, though, his laugh, for him to take me in his arms and rest his chin on my head. All these things I had taken for granted over the years. How had I been so blind?

Weeks turned in to months and the feeling of wasting time was a bitter pill to swallow. The remaining sadness from his departure was gradually over-ridden by excitement for his return. My arms wound tighter around my body as I remembered the day he arrived home, just three days ago.

My memory of Edward was cheap and unworthy compared to the original. The chaotic copper hair, bright green eyes, the strong jaw buried under a thick layer of stubble. He looked the same but... different. There was a subtle increase in the glint in his eye. He looked rugged, comfortably un-kept but still holding all the softness in his smile. He was intensely beautiful. I ran to him uncaring of making a scene in front of his family. I saw only him. The stretch of my impossibly wide smile had burned my cheeks. I had felt complete relief. He filled my senses when I wrapped my arms vice-like around him and buried my face in to his neck. Touching him, holding him, inhaling his warm familiar scent, had overwhelmed me. In that moment, having him home was blissful.

A faint smile twitched at my lips thinking about how utterly euphoric I was at that moment, but faded quickly at how little it had lasted.

Edward had always liked surprises. I, on the other hand, hated them. It used to bother me, knowing that when it was my birthday he would have some elaborate surprise waiting for me. I always went along with it, though, knowing that the pleasure he got from giving surprises was equal to when he would receive one himself.

And three days ago, that was Tanya. A surprise. It wasn't until I pulled away from Edward that I noticed the tall beautiful blonde by his side. Intimidating beautiful. She was introduced as his new fiancé. She was from Chicago, but they had met in an Art Gallery in Vienna five months ago. My eyes brimmed with tears and I passed them off as happiness as I embraced Edward once again in congratulations. I still couldn't understand why he hadn't mentioned her in his emails when apparently she had heard all about me. I don't know if that made me feel satisfied or slightly more uncomfortable. The Cullen family embraced her with delight, exclaiming it must have been fate for them to meet and a party for them was to be held as soon as possible.

For the past three days I had battled with what to say to Edward. Do I tell him how I feel? Do I continue to live my life watching him and Tanya making their life together? I didn't have the courage to voice my feelings nor did I have the courage to keep away from him. I was floating in an abyss.

A sudden gust of icy wind broke my thoughts and brought me back to reality.

'This is my life now', I thought standing and retying my shoes, tears stinging my eyes.

I took one more look out over the lake with blurry vision, home to so many happy memories.

'I will always love you Edward Cullen, even if it is from afar.'

As I started to make my way back up the hill to the meadow my cell phone chimed. Finding the cell in my cardigan pocket and smiled to myself when I saw the caller ID.

"Jake," I answered with a sigh. "I'm so happy you called."