It's been two hours since Bella locked herself away in the bathroom. I wanted to reach out to her, but I didn't know where to begin. I could hear her pacing across the marble floor and I could tell by her accelerating heartbeat that she was about to make a difficult decision regarding 'us'.
This trip to Carlisle and Esme's cabin in Alaska was meant to be a time for us to bond, but apparently Bella's idea of bonding differs from mine. She doesn't understand. I can't be what she needs me to be. I can't risk her getting hurt. But I also don't understand why she feels the need to always be physical. She's insatiable. She reminds me a bit of Tanya, actually, and I'm beginning to think she has a problem. I'm beginning to wonder what she'd really be like if I were to change her. Could I meet her needs? Would I want to? I'm a man, but I worry that that's all she'll see me as - not her husband. She doesn't even really want to marry me. That should tell me something...
I had picked up this book a few years ago, attempting to understand Rose and Emmett's relationship. I know they love each other, but they're too physical for my taste. I hadn't decided to read it until now, having forgotten it here the last time we were all in Alaska. This morning, Bella had woken up slowly. She had turned towards me, eyes still closed, and had placed her hand on my stomach. I had closed my eyes, enjoying the feel of her warmth spreading through my t-shirt and onto my skin...until she decided to move her hand lower, across my skin that was exposed between my t-shirt and jeans, and then under and into my boxer shorts. My eyes had snapped open and my hand was on hers in an instant, stopping any further movement. My suddenness had caused her to recoil and she had tried to pull her hand away, but I had held on tight, strengthening my hold even further. I had to make her understand. I could tell she was shocked; her breathing had shallowed out.
"Bella, that's enough."
And that was all it took. She tried pulling away again, and this time I let her. She rolled over quickly and jumped out of bed, heading straight to the bathroom. Once inside, she turned and swiftly slammed the door shut, but not before I saw that her face was beet red and that she was struggling hard not to cry, her face a twisted mask of pain.
Seriously, Bella? Not even a 'Good morning, Edward'? And she thinks I have the problem.
So says this book.
So here I sit outside. I scratch my head, trying to reconcile the Bella I want her to be with the Bella I know she is. She is powerless over her behaviour. Christ, she seeks me out even when she's half asleep. She can't control her behaviour; it seems as though sex has consumed her way of life. And despite the consequences of her actions, she keeps trying and trying to seduce me. Maybe she likes my refusals, addicted to them even? Her failed promises and attempts to stop acting out cause me to think this way. She's preoccupied with sex, and lately I have been able to smell her arousal on her fingertips after so-called bathroom trips...
Yes, it certainly sounds 'ritualistic' to me.
Jasper tells me that Bella consistently exudes feelings of shame, pain, and self-loathing. He tells me that I need to reach out to her, that I don't understand how my actions are causing a riptide in my relationship, that Bella has needs…that I have needs.
I don't. I haven't for 90 years.
I am a monster and she is an angel.
I don't know who she is anymore. Maybe our upbringings are too disparate, the battle between Victorian values and the values of these most recent generations something that can't be won. I don't understand how I'm the cause of any pain for Bella. I treat her like the princess I know she can be, yet this never seems good enough for her. She insists that we need to proceed physically for our relationship to strengthen, but sex doesn't bind two people together. She tells me that it's not the sex that binds us together but the combination of the physical with the emotional. I can't be physical with her...and I can tell that she's been pulling away from me emotionally.
We're at an impasse, neither of us willing to budge.
I hear a sharp intake of breath from inside and above. Her decision's been made. The bathroom doorknob turns slowly and she pulls the door open, pausing at the sight of our empty bed. She sniffles and then moves across the room. My cell phone breaks the dead silence of my surroundings. Odd, I hadn't noticed until now the lack of life, of sound… It seems to be an omen. I flip open the phone and know before even looking who the caller is. I'm not surprised. In slow motion, I raise the phone to my ear. I have no greeting to give her.
"It's over," she whispers lowly, a ragged breath distorting her simple statement. There is nothing simple about that statement, its impact huge.
I pause before snapping the phone shut and then close my eyes. I can hear Bella packing her things. When she's done, she makes her way down the stairs and opens the front door. She steps outside, pausing, but I stare straight ahead. Suitcase in hand, she purposefully strides to the car and deposits her things before stepping inside, shutting the door, and starting the engine. She stares at me and sees the book's cover.
She looks into my eyes and mouths, "Fuck you, Edward," before backing up, turning the car, and driving away.