The Break-Up Contest

Title of Entry: Sometime Around Midnight

Penname: JustForkIt

Word Count: 2,115 approx

Genre: AU/AH- Romace/Angst

*** Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight; if I did we wouldn't have been fading to black. I also do not own the song Sometime Around Midnight by The Airborne Toxic Event. But, their music really inspired this piece. Check out the song if you haven't heard it before.

"You'll be glad you decided to come." Those were the words my best friend had told me over three hours ago, and up until about fifteen seconds ago, he would have been right. Now I just wanted to leave. I wanted to be able to walk out of this fucking club, get in a cab, go home, and drink myself into an oblivious stupor. All so I could avoid having to relive the pain of losing her.

Have you ever loved someone so completely that when they leave, it feels like a piece of you left with them? It's like in books, when the author leaves pages blank because the emotions of what the character is feeling cannot possibly be described? That was me. I was blank and empty.

Bella was my life. I don't mean that in a stupid, romantic movie sort of way; I mean, the way that the only reason you fucking got up in the morning was because you knew she needed you. I met Bella when I was fifteen, not giving it a second thought when my parent's introduced me to the daughter of some of their friends. How could I have known that three years later our lives would be intertwined to the point of codependency?

Our parent's were friends, going to dinners and movies together; it had become a weekend ritual that came and went without many changes. Sunday morning, my mom would give me the details of the movies they had seen and I would pretend to be interested. That was our life--until December 28th 1999.

It was another Saturday night; I was at Jasper's house playing video games, smoking weed and just being a typical teenager. I stayed till midnight then walked the two blocks back to my house. I turned the corner, expecting to see my parent's cars in the driveway; only instead of their cars I saw two cop cars. I woke up that morning—eighteen--five months away from graduating high school and not really having a care in the world. In the time that it took my parent's car to hit a patch of ice and take a nose dive off an overpass, I became an orphan.

Numbness was the only thing I felt for hours, days, weeks, even months. I did what people expected at the funeral, holding it together and trying to be the man that my father had raised. I finished high school, because I knew it's what my parent's would have wanted. And for six months, I existed without really living.

I had forgotten about Bella, who I hadn't seen or talked to since I went to her parent's funeral, until I saw her sitting on the floor of the library of the university we were both attending. I didn't know if I should say hello to her or not, but when she saw me and awkwardly waved, I didn't have a choice but to acknowledge her. That was it--our first reconnection and the day we became friends.

In the beginning she pissed me off, always wanting to talk about what had happened. It bothered her that I hadn't been through the grieving process, that I never talked about my parents, and that I was living in a shell of myself.

"Edward, you aren't even dealing with this; you're acting like nothing even happened!" she yelled at me while I was supposed to be looking over her English Lit paper a few months after I had seen her in the library. "You can't just walk around acting like your parents never existed!"

I slammed the book shut and glared up at her. "You have no right to talk to me about this." I pushed myself away from her desk and grabbed my jacket off the back of the chair.

She moved in front of the door, refusing to let me leave.

"I have every right to talk to you about this… those were…"she shook her head and stared at me as tears welled in her eyes. "You are the only person who can even remotely understand how hard this is! And I need…" she gasped as sobs took over her body. I watched dumbly as her body slid down the door and into a small heap on the floor.

I felt like an ass, and even if she annoyed the shit out of me by constantly badgering me to talk about my feelings, I didn't like seeing her cry. I dropped my jacket on the floor and kneeled down in front of her.

"Bella…" I said hesitantly as she covered her eyes and shook her head. I gently took her hands and pulled them away from her face, making her look at me. "I didn't mean to make you upset, it's just that… I've never really dealt with the fact that they are gone."

She sniffed loudly and wiped her cheeks with the sleeves of her shirt and shook her head. "Edward… I've alienated all of my friends because they keep trying to get me to talk to them, and every time I try, I just can't because they don't get it. I've tried going to therapy… nothing helps."

"I just don't see how the two of us sitting around and crying about the fact that our parents were killed in a tragic accident can help either one of us," I told her, trying to be as honest as I could without hurting her again.

"Don't you miss them?" she asked quietly. "I miss them every single day. It's like the pieces of my life don't fit together anymore and I have no idea how to fix it… I just… I need someone to talk to and… I think you do, too."

I sighed, moved to the floor and leaned back against her bed. "So talk."

And that's how it started. A friendship was forged out of a grief that neither one of us knew how to deal with. It wasn't easy, watching Bella go from having a perfectly normal day to ending up crying so hard she was dry heaving because something just set her off; but when it came down to it, all we had was each other and I couldn't just give up on her.

I couldn't tell you at what point our relationship went from being platonic to something more, but to this day I can vividly remember how genuinely happy I felt when I kissed her for the first time. I can still remember how her lips fit against mine, how her tongue tasted that first time, and how soft her moans were as the kiss deepened. If I was Bella's way of dealing with her problems, then being with her like that was my way of being out of the stupor I had been in since losing my parents. For the first time in years, I actually felt something, and I craved more.

It started out innocently enough, dating and taking things slow, but as we continued to feed off of each other it took its toll. No relationship can work when both people in it are intentionally using the other. Bella knew I was a security blanket to her, and I knew that being with her was like kick starting my dead heart and imagination. We ignored all of the problems in our relationship, covering them up with soft kisses and soulful love making. Because what could possibly hurt us if we felt that much love?

A relationship with that much pressure couldn't last, and after five years of being the happiest I ever was and a few days shy of asking Bella to marry me, she left.

I was a shell again, existing without living and wondering what the whole fucking point had been. Why did we spend six years being friends, lovers… soul mates, if she was just going to walk away?

In the span of three months I went through every single step of the grieving process. I grieved for her, for my parents, for the future I had been robbed of the night they died. I grieved for me. Because I knew that this wasn't me; this wasn't the son my parents had raised or the person that any of my friends knew.

That led to Jasper convincing me to go out with him. I admitted that hanging out with him and our other friends, drinking and laughing, made me feel almost normal. That was until I saw her.

She walked in, wearing a dress that was familiar to me in a way that my chest ached because I could remember how it looked sliding off of her body. I shook my head, turning away from her.

My senses were flooded with her smell, her touch, her taste, as if she was standing next to me, as if she was still mine. I gripped the edge of the bar and closed my eyes. Both loving and hating the way my body craved her, like it knew that if I could just touch her it could begin healing. The only problem with that was that I knew it wouldn't ever happen, and that made the aching worse.

"Dude, are you okay?" Jasper asked, leaning down to be able to see my face. "Edward, what's wrong? You look like you've seen a ghost."

I shook my head slightly at his ironic choice of words. A ghost, a fucking ghost of what my life would have been. It would be my hand that she was holding, my joke that she was laughing at, and my home that she would be going home to.

"Bella's here," I told him in a voice mixed with regret and anger.

Jasper pushed away from the bar, looking around the crowded room. I guess he spotted her, because a few seconds later I heard him mutter something like "oh fuck."

"Edward?"

The sound of her voice made goose bumps erupt along my arms and neck. I could either ignore her, dealing her the same sense of hurt and betrayal that she had given me, or I could be the person my parents had raised, respectful and dutiful.

I slowly turned around and looked at her, without really looking at her. I couldn't look at her eyes or her mouth, both reminding me of what I no longer had. I couldn't look at her neck because I would notice the three small moles that she had there, that would lead to me remembering how her back was spattered with freckles that made odd shapes when you connected them.

"How are you?" she asked while watching as Jasper made an eloquent exit.

How was I? I was broken and lost and absolutely aching for something to make all of the pain disappear. I felt helpless, defeated, and utterly fucking alone.

"Why?" I asked her before I even had a chance to stop myself. I wanted answers and understanding. I wanted closure and I knew she was the only way I could get that.

Her gaze dropped to the floor.

"Don't I deserve an answer, Bella? An explanation of why you just threw away six years?" I asked angrily.

She looked at me and shook her head.

"Tell me why," I demanded, rather than asked.

"Edward, please just… I can't do this… not here," she said softly before turning and walking away.

I let her walk away, watching as she stopped and grabbed the arm of the guy she had shown up with. I watched them leave and wanted to scream at her as she looked back over her shoulder at me.

I followed out the door behind them, watching from the shadow of the building as she held onto his arm and waited for a cab. My entire body ached with pain as I watched her lean up on her toes to kiss him.

I wanted to take a step forward, to tell him to get his hands off of her, but before I could make myself move, they both got into a cab. I watched, in agony, as she left with him.

Whoever said that it was better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all was out of their fucking mind. I was better off living as a ghost than what I am now without her. It was easier to pretend that nothing had happened, but now that she had forced all of those issues out into the open, I couldn't make them go away. I was scared. My heart was mutilated to the point that there was never a way it could be fixed, but it would always be hers.

A/N: Thanks to Little Miss Whitlock and Becca for really helping me with this. Mad love to you girls!