A/N: I don't own this. What I do own is an empty Cherry Pepsi can because I drank all of it in an effort to stay awake past midnight. I stayed up WAY too late last night. Darn fan fic stories and their addictive qualities.
This first chapter is the original one shot that I wrote for the Unhappily Ever After or Broken Fairytales Challenge. I never dreamed I'd get anywhere near the 100 reviews I asked for, so I'm shocked that everyone enjoyed this story so much. :)
The chapters following this will be from Edward's POV and they pick up right where this leaves off. If you want the fairy tale, I'd advise you to wait for the HEA continuation that will be coming along soon. If you like angst and crying, stay here and keep reading! I promise to provide both of those for you… :D
I gotta thank my girlies, my Northern Stars – they lead me along and never let me get lost - MeowVemulapalli, Risbee, and missveritys.
Next, thank you to my uber beta, coldplaywhore, who originally beta'd this o/s for me. Thank you for all you do for me. I couldn't be a luckier girl when it comes to awesome people helping me. I love you chickie!!
Don't forget, I'm on Twitter and this story has a thread at Twilighted. You can find both those links in my profile. Come play, it's fun. :)
Let's get this pity party started!! Enjoy!!
It had been a long day. Who was I kidding; it had been a long year. Things were finally starting to look up and I felt like the fog was actually lifting. I had never in all my life been so down and out of it. My friends were worried about me, always asking what was wrong, but I couldn't tell them. I couldn't tell anyone. I didn't even want to admit it to myself. If I did that, then I had to accept that it had really happened; everything I was ignoring was real. I had really lost him and it was really over.
Even though deep down I knew it was true, it still hurt too much to acknowledge. I still loved him and I missed him every second of every day. There were so many things I wish I had said to him, but my pride just got in the way. Our last moments together haunted me, bringing nightmares to my restless sleep every night. I couldn't even remember the last night I spent sleeping peacefully without waking up screaming. He was always there, the moment I closed my eyes I would see him. He would say horrible things to me and then his eyes would glaze over and he would turn and walk away from me, leaving me screaming, crying for him to come back, but he never did. He just vanished, and then I would wake up, still screaming and crying for him. Wishing he would come back so I could tell him all the things I needed to say. Wishing he would give me a chance to explain. Wishing he would take me back. Wishing he still loved me.
But that was never going to happen. He was gone, we were over and I was a mess.
As I fastened the straps on my new heels, I hoped that the evening would go well. Emmett was picking me up and we were going to a cocktail party for his work. I was excited to be getting dressed up; it had been so long since I had done that. My best friend Alice bought me a new dress, probably thrilled that I was doing anything outside of my apartment for a change. She had introduced me to her cousin Emmett and we hit it off immediately. He was very intimidating when I first looked at him, but the second he smiled that cheesy, dimpled smile, he had melted my heart. He was funny and sweet and smart – all the things I loved in a man; all the things that the other man wasn't. Maybe that's why I was so drawn to Emmett – he was nothing like the one who broke my heart.
My body needed a change. My heart needed something different. My mind needed a break. Emmett was exactly what I needed, and by some small miracle he seemed to need me too.
The knock on the door was a few minutes earlier than I was expecting, but my heart leaped knowing that Emmett was on the other side waiting for me. I grabbed my purse and checked my hair and lip gloss one more time before sprinting as fast as my heel covered feet would carry me. I opened the door to find Emmett leaning against the door frame, a bunch of Crazy Daisies in his hand.
"Miss Swan, you are looking gorgeous this evening, as always."
I batted my eyelashes at him as his smile grew.
"Why thank you Mr. Mc Carty. What lovely flowers you have there. Are those for anyone in particular?" I asked, knowing full well they were for me. He always brought me something and we had seen those flowers at the store on our last date, me commenting on how much I loved the bright colors.
"Yeah, we gotta stop off at my mom's house on the way, she just loves these crazy flowers," he said, teasingly to me.
"You're such a nice son, she's a lucky lady," I said sarcastically.
"Oh, alright, you got me. I brought them for you; I think I kinda like you so I thought I might bring you something pretty, though they are no where near as pretty as you are right now. Honestly Bella, you look amazing." I blushed, causing him to put his hand over his heart, clutching at his shirt. "Bells, you know what that blush of yours does to me. You gotta stop that right now or we aren't gonna get any farther than your couch tonight," he said with a strained voice.
I giggled, loving the joking way in which way we bantered with each other. I took the flowers from him and quickly put them into the refrigerator in my kitchen, planning to get a vase for them later.
I sauntered back to him, grinning as I walked past him and out into the hallway, closing my door behind us. Emmett took my hand tightly in his, entwining our fingers as he led me to a car that was not his. I was surprised that he hadn't driven his jeep that night, though I was also glad, having worried about trying to climb into it wearing the dress I had on.
"Whose car is this?" I asked.
"Oh, it's my brothers'. He wanted to take his girlfriend out camping so I offered to trade cars for the weekend. This thing might go fast but it's not really mountain material," he said with a laugh.
It really was a beautiful car, and I knew everything about the make and model of it. He had one exactly like it; only it was silver instead of black. I knew the way the leather seats smelled. I knew the curve of the dashboard. I knew the sound of the engine. I knew how far back the front seats reclined and how much space was in the back seat. I even knew how the hood felt pressed up again the bare skin of my back.
As I sat enveloped by the familiar smells and images, I knew this was going to be a long night. It would have been better for both of us if I had insisted at that moment that Emmett and I go back to my couch and spend the evening there, but I didn't. Hindsight is 20/20.
We pulled up to the hotel where the party was being held and I stepped out into the crisp night air. It was fall and the nights had started getting a lot cooler. Luckily, I had remembered my wrap, though I didn't want to wear it unless I absolutely had to. It went well with my dress, but the fabric was scratchy and I usually ended up shifting uncomfortably while I wore it. When we walked into the huge double doors Emmett asked me if I would like him to check it for me, and I immediately agreed.
He left me standing in the lobby alone, which was fine. I was used to being on my own and I didn't mind the fact that I knew no one who would be at the party, other than Emmett.
I was never outgoing or overly friendly as a child. My father always told me that I would outgrow that and blossom once I reached college and I waited for that to happen, but it never did. I was a wallflower to the core and I had learned to accept it. I never dated in high school, too afraid to approach boys. When I entered college I was slightly antisocial, which grated on my roommate's every nerve.
Rosalie, my college roommate, was Malibu Barbie incarnate. She was tall, blonde, beautiful, and had every boy on campus eating out of her hands. She tried unsuccessfully for months to get me to go with her to mixers, frat parties, football games, basically anything that would put me out into college life. I always insisted I had homework or I was tired. Finally she gave up, though we were able to maintain a close friendship.
We roomed together for 3 years before finally, in our senior year; she decided to move in with her boyfriend, Jacob. I decided to search for someone living off campus who might need a roommate and that's when I met him.
As I stood in the lobby, waiting for Emmett, I was overwhelmed by the artwork around me which only fueled the memories that were quickly flashing through my mind.
It was August when I found his number; all I knew was that he was a student looking for another person to fill a bedroom in his house. When I called, he gave me the address and told me to meet him the next afternoon and he would show me around. I only had a couple of weeks until school started and I was anxious to find a place to live. Rosalie and I were renting an apartment for the summer, but when Jacob returned for school, our lease would be up and Rose was moving in with him.
I pulled up to the house, shocked at the size of it. I was sure he had given me the wrong address, but the number matched so I figured why not, I may as well check it out. I walked up the long walkway to the front door and rang the bell. When the door opened a few moments later I was greeted by a cute girl with curly hair who was wearing a cheerleading uniform. Great, I though, it's a sorority house.
"Hi! Can I help you?" she asked in a much too cheerful tone for my liking.
"Yeah, um, I'm looking for Edward? He gave me this address?"
"Oh yeah, come on in. Let me get him."
I walked into the house and felt like the wind had been knocked out of me. It was beautiful. This was like no college house I had ever been to and I wondered if it really was college kids that lived here.
As the girl closed the door she turned to the side and yelled at the top of her lungs, "EDWARD!!!" Then she turned back to me and smiled.
"So, I'm Jessica, who are you?"
"I'm Bella. Do you live here?" I didn't think I could handle living with her perkiness day in and day out. She was already grating on my nerves and I had only been here for two minutes.
"Oh, no, my boyfriend Mike lives here. I'm just here for a nooner. I needed a little pick me up to get me through the freshman orientation crap I have to help with this afternoon. Plus Mike likes to screw me while I'm wearing my uniform," she smirked, adding a little wiggle of her perfectly manicured eyebrows.
Okay, dodged that bullet At least she doesn't live here, but wasn't that a bit much to share with a complete stranger?
"Nooner, huh? I can see how that would help with the stress of organized freshman activities," I said, the sarcasm heavy in my voice.
"Yeah, Jess has a hard time helping other people when it doesn't directly benefit herself, isn't that right Jess?" I turned my head to see a man walk around the corner, laughing at what he had just said.
"Shut it Edward, at least I help out. What do you do, huh? How are you bettering the world?" Jessica snipped back at the man, though I could sense a bit of humor in the words.
"Jess, I let those nooners happen on a regular basis under my roof, now don't I? See, I'm saving the world from having to deal with the horror of a sex-free Jessica. That's one of the greatest services I can do for mankind," he laughed. As he walked closer, I saw the bright green eyes that were piercing through me.
"Hi, you must be Bella? I'm Edward, it's a pleasure to meet you," he said as he extended his hand to me. The sight of him almost had me speechless. I managed to stutter out a greeting, "Hi… Yeah, I'm Bella, it-it's nice to meet you too. Thanks for seeing me today, I-I, um, really appreciate it."
"No problem." He grinned, turning to the girl next to me, "Jess, you were just leaving?"
"Yeah, nice to meet you Bella. Hope I get to see you around, maybe we could hang out sometime or something." She turned and disappeared out the door as I looked back to Edward, who was still looking at me.
"Are you ready?" he asked me. His eyes seared into mine and I felt my toes curl.
"Bella, you ready?" I heard the words again but from a different voice and it shook me from my memories.
"Emmett, yeah, I'm ready." I smiled and took his arm, walking towards the conference rooms. We walked past a baby grand piano that sat near the bar in the center court of the hotel. A man dressed in a suit sat playing classical tunes, stirring more memories of a certain bronze haired boy. My eyes lingered on him as we crossed the room, seeing visions of songs being played for me, while my thighs remembered the feel of those white keys pressing into them. This night was not going in my favor.
As we entered the room the party was in full swing. We were a few minutes late, though it was a come and go type gathering. Emmett knew we would be here for a few hours, so he wasn't worried about being on time. He greeted several people as we made our way through the room.
"You want something to drink, sweetie?" he asked me.
"Yes, white wine please?"
"Sure, I'll get it. Do you want to come with me or do you want to find a chair or table or something?"
"I'll go with you, if that's alright," I said.
"Come on, I think it's this way."
We waltzed around a few groups of people before finally seeing the bar tucked into the corner of the room. After getting our drinks Emmett spotted his boss and asked if he could introduce us. I was thrilled that he was so excited for me to meet his friends and co-workers. I knew it meant that he really was interested in me for the long term.
I met most of the people Emmett spent his days with, and they were all very kind to me. Only a couple of girls gave me the brush off, but I knew it was because they were jealous of my being with Emmett. I could see it in their eyes and in the way they laughed at everything he said. I had seen it before; this wasn't the first man I had been with that had that kind of draw for women.
I spotted one of the paintings on the wall closest to me and the conversation happening around me slowly faded away.
Edward began, "This is my house, well actually my parents own it. I don't really need roommates, but I lived here alone my freshman year and I felt like I really missed out on the social aspect of college. I've been renting out the rooms for the last few years and it works out great. We have 6 bedrooms, so there are 6 of us. Like I said, my parents own it and the rent amount is kind of negotiable, so if it's a problem just let me know. We can figure something out."
"Thanks Edward, this house is really beautiful. I thought at first that maybe you had given me the wrong address," I said jokingly.
"Well, I'm glad you like it," he said. "Let me show you around a bit." He noticed me looking at the painting hanging above the entry way table and he laughed. "Sorry, my mom is into artwork, there are paintings all over the common living areas. I took everything out of the bedrooms so you can do whatever you want in there. But if there is something here that you really can't stand, just say so and I'll take care of it," he said with a smile.
He showed me around the lower level, pointing out all the major living areas and two bedrooms that were down stairs. They apparently belonged to Mike, Jessica's boyfriend, and Eric. We walked up the stairs and he showed me the first two rooms, belonging to Angela and Lauren, and then two bathrooms, one smaller than the other. At the end of the hall were the last two rooms, Edward's room and the vacant room.
"My cousin Tyler was living here but he graduated in May and just moved out last month. I made sure he cleaned the room so hopefully you won't find anything growing in there. The other girls use the big bathroom so the smaller bathroom is all yours. The girls are pretty quiet, Angela is a sweetheart and a real bookworm, and Lauren is…not." He grinned a little, softly laughing.
"Did I miss something?" I asked, curious about his expression.
"Well, Lauren doesn't stay here a lot, she usually likes to stay with her girlfriend, Tanya, but her parents think she lives here, so she keeps enough stuff here to make it look that way in case they drop by. And they do, on occasion, so just be ready for that."
"Oh, okay. Can I see the room?" I questioned, curiously.
"Oh yeah, yeah, sorry, I almost forgot the most important part," he said as he shook his head and let out a laugh I imagined angels would be envious of.
He opened the door and I couldn't believe how perfect the room was. I turned to Edward and asked, "Can I move in tomorrow?"
He smiled at me, nodding his head. "Yeah, the sooner the better, Bella," he said.
"Bella?" I heard the voice call my name. "Bella, are you okay?" I blinked my eyes, suddenly aware of my surroundings again, and turned to Emmett.
"Yeah, sorry. That painting was just reminding me of something. A copy of it used to hang in the house I lived in when I was in college. It brought back some old memories. Sorry, I - I didn't mean to be rude."
The couple standing near us just laughed at my awkwardness and Emmett put his arm around my waist, drawing me closer to him. He placed a kiss on the top of my head, whispering, "Nothing's ever dull with you around, is it?"
We both laughed and excused ourselves so we could make our way over to the buffet table. After loading up our plates we found a table to sit at, chatting happily with the other people there. The food was delicious and soon I was stuffed. Emmett asked if I would like to dance since music was playing and there was a spot cleared for dancing. I tried to remind him about my two left feet and the fact that both of them were currently strapped into 4 inch heels, but he just laughed and assured me that by the end of the night he would have me out there twirling around the dance floor.
We heard a commotion in the far corner of the room, several people breaking out into a song. As I searched for the reason behind it Emmett started to laugh. I looked to him quizzically, hoping he would tell me what was going on.
"Everyone is singing to Tori, this was her last week here with the company. She's moving to New York next week. Her fiancé got a job in some big law firm and she's transferring," he explained.
"Oh, that sounds nice," I said.
I glanced over at the crowd again and almost as if in slow motion the sea of people parted, leaving an open shot straight to the one person I didn't want to see. Him. He was here. He was at the party, and he had his arm around the girl that everyone was singing to. His arm was around Tori. He smiled brightly as he bent to place a kiss on her temple and I knew – he was her fiancé. Him. Of all people, it was him.
I suddenly felt all the food I had just eaten try to make a reappearance. I quickly choked back what I knew was coming and excused myself to find the ladies room. Emmett looked at me, concerned but willing to let me take care of things myself. I rushed to the hallway, frantic to find a restroom before I made a mess that some poor janitor would have to clean up.
I ran into the bathroom and the closest stall. Luckily no one else was there, and I heaved my dinner into the porcelain bowl. After a few more times I flushed the toilet and leaned my head again the cool partition wall. I knew it was disgusting to sit on the floor of a public bathroom, but in that moment I didn't care. I had sat in worse places, thrown up in dirtier toilets, and exposed myself to far more lethal things than the germs on this hotel bathroom floor. At least this floor was probably mopped on a regular, if not hourly, basis. Most other places I had done this certainly hadn't had that type of cleaning regimen.
After about 10 minutes, I thought I should to get back to the party before Emmett came looking for me, or worse, sent someone else looking for me. I washed my hands, rinsed my mouth out, and wiped off my face. I reapplied my lip gloss and sucked on a few breath mints. I saw the little bottle of pills in my purse and decided that this was the perfect time for one of them. As I opened the bottle I figured this occasion might actually require two, or three, if I was being honest with myself. I swallowed the pills quickly with a handful of water from the sink, and made my way back to the party.
Emmett was walking towards the door as I walked out, apparently on his way to find me. "Honey, you okay?" he said with a worried look on his face. He moved his hands up to cradle my face and he stared into my eyes, searching for answers.
"Yeah, Em, I'm okay. My stomach was just acting up a bit, that's all, but I'm fine now, see? Don't I look okay?" I smiled sweetly at him, trying to convince him that I really was fine.
"I guess so, but you had me worried. Do you want to go home? If you're not feeling well we should leave. I don't mind Bella, honestly. I just want you to be happy."
He was such a good man, and I knew that I didn't deserve him. I didn't deserve anyone that was kind or decent. I wasn't worth it, but I was too selfish to push him away. I put my arms around his waist, pulling him closer to me, and whispered in his ear, "Dance with me, Em."
His face lit up like a Christmas tree and he quickly took my hand, leading me to the dance floor.
The music flowed around the room as we swayed in place. Emmett was taking things slow, knowing I wasn't a good dancer. I loved the feel of his arms around me, it made me feel safe and loved. I leaned my head against his chest and enjoyed the moment with him. When the next song began we started to move a bit more, Emmett leading me around the dance floor. I felt free and relaxed and was enjoying myself for the first time in ages. As we turned once more my eyes were met by a piercing green gaze and I stumbled.
"Izzy?" he asked, the shock evident in his voice. "Izzy, is that you?"
I quietly cleared my throat, "Edward, um, hello." I nervously shifted my eyes to anything but Edward's face, afraid to look at him. I wasn't sure my heart could handle seeing the happiness that I was sure was there.
"Iz, what are you doing here? I'm surprised to see you; I didn't know you'd be here tonight."
"Yeah, uh, this is my friend Emmett. Emmett, this is Edward," I stated hesitantly. Did I really want Emmett to meet Edward? What would happen if these two parts of my life collided? My past and my present where two very different things; I couldn't have Edward and his apparent new found joy ruining things for me, just as they were starting to get good again.
Edward's eyes remained on me, searching for something that I knew only he would see. "How have you been, Iz?"
I squirmed under his gaze and tried my best to smile at him as I responded, hoping to hide my true feelings, "Just fine."
Edward continued looking me over, knowing that I was in no way fine. He sighed and turned to look at Emmett, exchanging looks with him, each of them smiling and quickly offering their hands to one another.
"Nice to meet you, Edward. So you're the lucky fiancé, huh?" Emmett said to Edward before turning to address the woman he was dancing with. "Hey Tori, we're gonna miss you around here!"
"Emmett, I didn't know you were seeing anyone? This is great," Tori said, smiling sweetly at me.
"Oh, excuse my rudeness, Tor, this is Bella. She was one of my roommates in college, you remember I told you about her?" he said with a pointed look at her.
A knowing expression flashed across her face as she looked back and forth between Edward and I. "So, you're Bella? I've heard a lot about you, it's very nice to finally meet you. Edward had some wonderful things to say about you."
That was surprising. I didn't think Edward would ever say anything nice about me, especially after the way things ended between us. I stood silently, suddenly uncomfortable in my surroundings. When Emmett spoke I thought my knees would give out on me.
"Hey Tori, how about one more dance before you move on to the big, bad city? I'm sure Bella and Edward would love a chance to catch up a bit. What do you say?" Emmett offered his hand to Tori, who took it quickly after winking to Edward. I noticed the ring on her finger – it was Edward's grandmother's ring, the one that should have been on my finger.
As Emmett and Tori danced away, Edward and I stood awkwardly near each other, neither one knowing what to do.
"Iz, would you dance with me, please?" I saw the pained look in his eyes; certain that he would rather be torn apart by sharks then have to put his arms around me. Sadly, in his arms was the one place I dreamed of being, and the one place I never thought I would get to go again.
"Eddie, of course I will, you don't even have to ask," I said quietly to him, looking up at him with eyes full of want.
He took my hand and pulled me towards him, curling his other arm around my waist, placing his hand on the small of my back. I put my hand on his shoulder, debating on whether or not to lean my head against his chest. He stepped closer to me and I could feel the line of his body against mine – his leg against my leg, his hip against my hip, his chest against my chest. My heart beat rapidly, knowing that it was home, yet also knowing it couldn't stay there.
We began to turn in slow circles, swaying with the music. The simple movements brought to mind a memory of the first time we had held each other like this.
It was two months into my senior year and I had settled into Edward's house rather comfortably. The other roommates were very welcoming to me and Rose and I still got together every week for dinner. I was happy and actually enjoying the school year. As Homecoming approached, the house began to fill with chatter about the football game and the dance. Everyone seemed to be going, with the exception of Edward and me. He was in his 2nd year of law school and didn't feel that it was right for him to go to the dance since he had gone each of his first four years there. He questioned me nonstop about why I wasn't going to the dance. It took several days of pestering before I finally broke down and told him that no one had asked me – that no one had ever asked me to go anywhere before. He seemed stunned by my words and muttered to himself that it wasn't possible.
When the night of the dance approached, I happily saw off each of my roommates and their dates, somewhat looking forward to spending a nice, quiet night alone in the house. Jessica had tried to set Edward up with one her cheerleader friends, so I assumed that he would be taking her to the dance. I was slightly taken aback when Edward walked through the front door, holding a bag full of Chinese take out, a 2 liter of my favorite soda, and several DVD's. He smiled at me, taking in my confused expression, and said, "Izzy, I can't bear the thought of you sitting home alone, and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to spend an entire night with you all to myself."
We spent the evening sitting on the living room floor, laughing at one of the movies Edward had rented, stuffing ourselves with Chinese food. It was one of the greatest nights of my life up to that point, and had I known ahead of time how it would end, I never would have believed it.
As the movie came to an end, the credits began to roll, accompanied by a beautiful love song. Edward quickly stood and offered me his hand. I looked at him like he was a crazy person and he softly said, "Iz, would you dance with me, please?"
I stuttered and stammered through excuses before finally standing and taking his hand. He pulled me close, wrapping his arms around me and leaning his face down, burying it into my hair. We swayed to the music and after several minutes I realized the song had ended, but we were still dancing. Edward must have noticed at the same time I did because he began humming the most amazing tune I had ever heard. I was swept away in the moment.
I clung to him, never wanting to let go, flying at the feel of his body molding to mine. Each curve of my body seemed to fit perfectly in place against his; we were like two puzzle pieces made to go together. He raised his hands to brush some of the hair away from my face and then cupped my cheeks. As his thumbs ran over my cheekbones, I felt myself falling into his stare. When he lowered his mouth to mine, my breath hitched, and I froze. I felt his lips move into a grin against my lips and he quietly whispered, "Izzy, is this okay?"
I was confused, how could he think it wasn't okay with me? He must have misinterpreted my response, so to make sure that didn't happen again I dug my fingers into his bronze hair and pulled him roughly to me. I kissed him with all the passion I had built up while watching him over the past two months, trying to show him how I felt about him. His hands grasped at my back, pulling at the edges of my t-shirt, bringing me even closer to him.
I was on fire. Every inch of my body that touched him felt as though it was being burned by a raging forest fire, and like that same fire, I was out of control. I knew there was no way I would be able to stop our sudden progression, and I didn't want to. I needed him. My body craved him. I would push until he stopped me.
"Edward, tell me when to stop. I can't stop myself when I'm with you," I said breathlessly. "I feel like I'm addicted to you – I can't get enough."
"Then don't stop, just go with it," he mumbled against my neck as he licked and bit at my skin.
He didn't stop me that night. He didn't stop me the next night or the next. For almost four years he didn't stop me. For almost four years I was on fire, raging with desire for him. I could never get enough. I was happy, but I knew he wasn't. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't ever seem to make him feel the way I felt. I couldn't make him as happy as he made me, and it tore at my soul.
As time went by he would often ask me, "Izzy, are you happy? Truly happy?" and I always answered yes, I was happier than I had ever been in my life, and it was true, for me. It just wasn't true for him.
As we danced around the hotel dance floor I was pulled away from my memories by the sound of his voice asking a familiar question, "Izzy, are you happy? Truly happy?" I looked up into his green eyes, seeing the hurt and longing there.
"What do you want me to say Edward? Do you want me to lie to you? Because I will, if that's what you want." My voice cracked as I spoke the last words, trying to disguise my true feelings, while my heart screamed at me to tell him how much it longed to be with him again. My lungs wanted me to tell him that they couldn't really breathe without him by my side. My eyes betrayed me as they began to build up tears.
"No Iz, I want the truth. I can't take any more lies from you, it hurts too much."
"Okay, Edward, no I'm not happy. I'm miserable. My life ended that night you left me; you wouldn't even let me explain. After everything we had together, you said those things to me and just left. Why did you do that? How could I ever be happy when the last memory I have of us together is that night?" He could hear the emotion in my voice, though I tried to hide it.
He looked at me with confusion in his eyes, as if I had said something wrong, as if we both didn't know what happened that night. "Izzy, this isn't the time or place to get into all of that. You know it. There was nothing to explain that night; it just happened. I couldn't take things the way they were anymore, I couldn't keep living like that. I tried to help you Iz, for over two years I tried. It nearly killed me, it really did, but I couldn't do it anymore. You know I didn't mean the things I said, and I know you didn't mean the things you said, but I just had to get you away."
I saw the pain in his eyes as he slowed his swaying almost to a complete stop. His grasp on me had tightened, as if he was afraid to let go. I searched his face for any hint of hope, a sign that maybe he would forgive me and it wasn't too late for us.
He sighed a loud breath and let go of me. He took a step away from me and his eyes held so much hurt, I couldn't breathe.
"Iz, I can't do this. I can't stand here and watch this happen anymore. It's my fault and I've tried and tried to make things right, but I can't. You can't help someone who doesn't want your help. I had to let you go, I had to walk away from you Izzy, it broke my heart and I will never love anyone the way I love you, but I can't do this. I'm so sorry I couldn't be stronger for you. You just broke me too many times Iz, I can't do it. I'm sorry."
He turned and quickly walked out of the room and into the hallway. I stood there on the dance floor, stunned. Was he trying to say the break up was my fault? Was he trying to lay the blame on me, when it was him who said all the horrible things that were screamed that night? How could he blame me? I raced after him, needing to know what he was thinking. I was desperate to have him in my arms again. I ached to feel his skin under my hands, his warm breath on my neck, his voice moaning my name, his body moving deep inside of mine. I needed him, I knew I couldn't live another night without him.
This was my last chance.
I ran from the room, not caring who or what was in my way. As I burst through the doors I looked frantically down the hallway towards the lobby, but he was not there. I felt a scream building deep in my gut, yearning to break free as my soul split in two. I spun around and saw him pacing at the other end of the hallway, running his hands through his hair the way he always did when he was upset. I recalled the first time I had watched him pace this way.
It was late in the afternoon on Christmas Eve. It was the first Christmas Edward and I were spending together. We had been dating officially for a few months and things were prefect; he was perfect. The house was empty since all of our roommates had gone home for the Christmas break. Edward's parents were in Europe for the holidays and my dad was working, so we had the house to ourselves. I was excited to be cooking Christmas dinner for him and we had spent the better part of the week going over the menu, planning all our favorite foods.
I returned from the grocery store, having battled my way through the crowds to pick up the last few things I needed, and was surprised to not find Edward anywhere in the house. His car was parked in the garage and it was too cold for him to have walked anywhere, so I knew he had to be around somewhere. I opened the back door, glancing out into the backyard and was surprised to see him pacing back and forth in front of the old swing set that sat on the far side of the yard. He was running his hands through his hair and mumbling to himself. I feared the worst, something had to be wrong.
I stepped out onto the porch, the door squeaking closed behind me. Edward looked up, his eyes meeting mine, and stopped mid stride. We stood staring at each other for several seconds before I finally walked towards him, worried about what he had to tell me. The look in his eyes was one that I hadn't seen before and I was scared. Was someone hurt? Had he changed his mind about us? If he asked me to move out, where would I go? It was my last semester; would I still be able to finish school? I felt my hands start to shake and my breathing speed up as the blood drained from my face. Edward always loved the blush that would creep up over my body when I was nervous or embarrassed, but that wouldn't be happening today.
"Edward, what is it? What's wrong?" I softly asked. I walked to his side, my eyes never leaving his. I took a deep breath and brought my hand up to his face, running my fingers along his cheekbone. His skin was frozen and his nose was red; he had been outside a long time. I realized that he wasn't wearing a jacket, just a t-shirt, his pajama pants, and slippers. I reached down and took his hand, pulling him towards the house. "You're freezing, let's go back in. I don't want you sick for Christmas."
He stood still, not budging at my request. "Bella, stay here with me. For just a minute, please?" The expression on his face was pleading with me, so I stepped back to him and wrapped my arms around his waist. I buried my face into his chest as I felt him lower his to my hair. He had called me Bella, something he rarely did. He usually called me Iz or Izzy, his special nickname for me, but when things were serious he would call me Bella. The dread grew in my chest as I contemplated what was happening. "Will you sit with me, here on the swings?"
I loosened my hold on him and he pulled me towards the old wooden swings that hung silently in the chilled air. I gently sat down, not knowing how strong the ropes were or even when the swing set had last been used. Goodness knows college kids didn't spend a lot of time on playground equipment. He held my hand in his, his thumb rubbing circles over the back of my hand. I looked at him, waiting for him to say something, anything. When he finally spoke, it wasn't what I expected.
"Bella, why are you with me?"
I was stunned, how could he ask that? A million reasons ran through my head in that instant, as he waited for my reply. "Edward, you're everything to me. You're the first person who ever saw me for who I am, and liked me enough to keep looking. You have no idea how much that means to me, how grateful I am to you for that."
His brow creased and he swallowed before he asked, "Is that the only reason? Because I paid attention to you when no else did?"
"No! No, it's so much more than that. You take care of me, you help me, you talk to me, you comfort me, you make me feel happier then I ever thought I could feel, you make me want things I never wanted before. When I'm with you, I'm a better person. I know it sounds stupid, but I feel complete when I'm with you. When your arms are around me, I'm safe. When you smile at me, my world is brighter. When you kiss me, every inch of my body screams out with joy. When I'm with you, my life is what I know it should be, what it never had any chance of being before you came along." I was pouring my heart out to him and I was terrified that he wouldn't understand.
"Bella, I feel the same way when I'm with you. Do you know that? I can't imagine even one day without holding you, or kissing you, or looking into your eyes, or hearing your voice. I don't want to."
"You don't have to, I'm not going anywhere. What is this about, Edward? You can tell me," I pleaded with him.
"Bella," he whispered, "have you ever been in love with someone before?"
My heart stuttered, trying desperately to figure out where he was going with this. "No, Edward, I've never told anyone other than my dad that I loved them."
"So, how do you know when you love someone? I mean, I've had feelings for girls before, but…I'm at a loss right now. I've never felt what I feel for you."
His eyes peered into mine and it seemed that the green there intensified as he continued to stare at me. He leaned towards me, ever so slightly, and licked his lips. "Bella, I've been out here trying to figure this out, and the only conclusion that I can come to is this – I love you. I am wholly, totally, completely, thoroughly in love with you, and I'm scared to death that you don't feel the same way about me."
He dropped his eyes from mine, looking down at our hands. I saw a tear fall down his cheek as his breath hitched. He loved me. Had I heard him right? He had really said it? I had never heard it before, except for a few times from my dad, but not since I was 9 years old. I watched him, swallowing before I tried to speak.
"Edward, you love me? Are you sure?" I asked with a timid voice that shook with emotion.
"Yes, I love you. I know I do. I've known for a while, I just had to be sure. I didn't want to hurt you, I need you too much."
A smile slowly crept across my face as I reached my free hand out, taking hold of his chin and lifting his face until our eyes met. "Edward Cullen, I love you. So much. It scares me everyday, the thought of feeling like this for someone; I don't know what to do with it, but I love you, I know I do. You're everything to me, you always will be."
He grinned his crooked smile at me, "You know this is it for me, right? I'll never feel like this about anyone else, no matter how long I live? You okay with that?"
A laugh escaped from me as nodded my head in agreement, "Me too, no one else." The tears began to fall from my eyes as he stood and pulled me up and into his arms. His hand cupped my cheek and he kissed my lips gently several times before pulling back.
"Isabella Swan, I love you. You and only you, my Izzy. You're my one, now and always. Let's go back inside so I can show you how much I love you."
He held my hand as he stepped away towards the backdoor. I stood still for just a moment, realizing what had just happened between us. He loved me, and I loved him, and it was okay. He was mine, and I was his, and he wanted to show me. I smiled as I stepped towards him, anxious to be near him again.
I slowly approached, not knowing what to say. I had played this scene so many times in my head, but now that it was happening, I was at a loss for words. I took a deep breathe, holding it in my lungs, hoping to erase the feelings burning in my belly. My heart was racing as I came to a stop within an arms length of him. "Edward…" I called out to him, hoping that he would acknowledge me. His step faltered and he came to a stand still. I could see the agony on his face and it broke my heart like nothing ever before.
"Izzy, you need to go. I can't be here with you," he softly said to me without looking at me.
"Edward, please, just talk to me. I know you still love me, can't we talk about this?" I pleaded with him.
He looked up at me, squaring his shoulders, and spoke, "Iz, do you remember that night? Do you remember what happened that last night that we were together? Do you even have any recollection of what I went through? That night haunts me, Izzy; I can't ever allow myself to go back to that. It doesn't matter how much I loved you, or how much I still love you, all that matters is that I can't be with you. Having you here, this close to me, letting myself smell your perfume and feel your skin, be awash in your whole essence, it's killing me. I can't be here, not with you. Please, let me be, Iz. I'm happy, please don't erase everything I've worked for this past year. Please, if you love me at all, like you say you do, please let me go. Please…"
There was so much pain in his eyes. How could I deny him? How could I stand there in front of him and blatantly ignore his request? It was self preservation that kept me there. I knew I couldn't live without him, and in a last ditch effort to save itself, my body refused to move.
The details of that night were hazy to me. I had tried over and over again to figure out exactly what happened, but there were too many holes in my memory.
"Um, I don't really know, Edward. I just remember that I felt really good until you started screaming at me." In all honestly, I really didn't remember a lot about that night. I knew I had spent the evening home alone while Edward worked late on a case his law firm had assigned him to. I remembered feeling happy and kind of euphoric. Then I remember seeing Edward's eyes burning through me, feeling his grasp on my arm, pulling me away from where I was. I remember him throwing clothes at me and yelling so loudly I thought my eardrums would burst. Then I remember him turning and walking away from me, leaving me huddled on the floor, sobbing for him to come back. What else could there have been? How could my pain have affected him so much?
"Think about it, Iz. You know what happened. Somewhere in your brain you remember what was going on that night. Think harder Iz, I can't tell you, you have to remember it."
I racked my brain but found nothing. No hints of the supposed horrid events that transpired that night were left for me to find, no clues to solve the puzzle. I looked to him, begging with my eyes for him to tell me, to put me out of my misery and just tell me what happened.
"I don't know Edward, I can't remember it. I don't know why, but I can't."
His face twisted into a look of fury and his voice poured out in a hushed roar, "You do know why you can't remember, Isabella. You know perfectly well why you can't remember. Admit it. I want to hear you say it out loud. I think after four years together I deserve that much from you. Say it, Isabella, out loud."
I started to panic. He couldn't be doing this to me here, in a public place. This was something between us, something that no one else knew. How dare he say these things to me! I looked at the floor, tears flooding my eyes, and slowly shook my head. "No," I silently mouthed, no sound coming from me. I mouthed the word again and again before Edward finally stepped forward, grabbing my upper arm, turning me towards him.
"Do you really want to hear me say it, Iz? Is that what you want? You want me to tell you why I can't be with you? You want me to tell you why you broke my heart? You want me to tell you what I walked in on that night? You really want me to do that?" he said, I could hear the disgust dripping from his every word.
He reached out and grasped my face, roughly turning it up to look at him. Once our eyes met I saw no more sadness in him. Instead I saw hatred and anger, years of frustration built up, exploding out of him towards me.
He seethed, "You, Isabella, are a drug addict. You know it's true, I know it's true. I hate it. I hate you because you let things get so far out of hand. I hate myself because I let this happen to you. I hate Eric for exposing you to this, but most of all I hate that for two years I tried to help you, I tried to make things right, and you wouldn't let me. I hate you because you aren't willing to change for me. You can't stop yourself, I'm not enough to make you stop, and I hate that I'm not enough for you. You are all I ever wanted, and I'm not enough to help you."
My body shook violently with the realizations of what he was saying. My head thrashed back and forth in denial, trying to push the ideas away. "No," I continued to mouth over and over again as the sobs racked my body. He was wrong, he had to be wrong.
I felt his grip on my arm loosen and compassion begin to lace his words again, "I tried to help you Iz, I tried so hard. I gave up everything to help you. I would have given my life if it meant saving you, but you wouldn't be saved, Iz. You wouldn't let me help you. Why wouldn't you let me? Why couldn't I be enough for you?"
But he was enough for me. How could he not see that? What could I say to prove to him that he was all I would ever want, the only thing I truly needed in my life?
"I would have walked through fire for you, Izzy. I overlooked so many things because I loved you. I thought that's what I was supposed to do – give you the benefit of the doubt. Eventually I realized I was just making things worse. I wasn't helping you at all. I would have died for you if I thought you had felt the same way about me, but you didn't. I didn't really see it until that last night. I couldn't admit it to myself until it was right in front of my face. That image is burned into my brain, Iz. For as long as I live I will never forget what I saw when I opened that door. You shattered me," he sadly told me, defeat thick in his voice.
"What…what did you see?" I said in a whisper, afraid to hear what he had to say.
His eyes closed and his head dropped. "I saw you with Eric. You were having sex with him, Iz. You didn't have enough money that night to pay him what you owed him, so instead you screwed him. On our living room floor, while you were wearing my grandmothers ring that I put on your finger. Our wedding announcements were scattered on the floor underneath you."
Oh my… No, please no. My body shuddered at the knowledge of what I had done. I suddenly felt the urge to throw up again.
"You know the worst part of it, Iz? When I kicked Eric out that night, he told me it wasn't the first time you'd done that with him, and he wasn't the only person you'd done it with either. He couldn't even remember how many other guys there were. He said he even remembered some girls too. All that time, I was killing myself trying to help you, and you were screwing anyone and everyone behind my back because you wanted drugs more than you wanted me. Do you have any idea how that made me feel?"
There was nothing I could say. I knew in that moment that he and I would never be together again. There was no way. I had broken things beyond repair. It was my fault. I had to let him go, let him be happy and live his life. He deserved better than what I had to give.
I couldn't go on without him, but I couldn't let him be with me either.
He laughed, "You know how sick I am, Izzy? I'm so twisted over you that if you promised me right here, right now, that you would get help, that you would let me help you; I would walk out of this hotel right now with you and never look back. I would give up everything in my life to be with you, and never have one regret for doing it. That's how much I want to be with you; how much I want to love you and take care of you. But I know you could never promise me that. You would never let me do that, and it breaks my heart."
I looked into his eyes, wishing there was something I could say to comfort him, to make things right, but knowing there was nothing that would ever be enough. I couldn't promise him the one thing he wanted. I had to let him go.
I stepped backwards, away from him, as he let his grasp on my arm fall. "Go," I whispered, "be happy. Please, don't worry about me. Just be happy, that's all I care about."
"Izzy, promise me something. Promise me that when Emmett finds out about this, you will let him help you. It's time you stopped this Iz, let him help you. I couldn't bear it if anything happened to you. I love you so much, I always have and I always will, until the day I die. You are the love of my life. Please, let him help you. Can you do that for me?"
I looked at him once more, knowing it would be the last time, and I nodded my head, putting on the best smile I could muster. "I promise," I vowed, knowing it was a lie. Emmett would never find out. I would never give him the chance to help me.
He walked towards me, pulling me into his arms, hugging me tightly. He buried his nose in my hair and I could feel his body shaking with emotion. "I love you, my Izzy. I always will, no matter what. Don't ever forget that. No matter where I am, I belong to you and only you."
I wrapped my arms around him, clinging to him. I could hear movement in the hallway behind us, not knowing who was there. I felt Edward stiffen slightly and then pull away from me. His hands cupped my face, pulling it up to look at him. When our eyes met, he searched mine for assurance that I meant the words I spoke to him, that I really would let Emmett help me. He sighed and slowly lowered his face, placing his lips sweetly, tenderly against mine. He lingered there for a few moments before inching away.
His eyes opened slowly, soon finding mine, and he whispered softly, "I love you Isabella. No matter what, I love you."
He dropped his hands and stepped around me. As I turned to the side I saw Tori standing near the door, her shaking hand covering her mouth, fresh tears on her cheeks. Emmett was standing beside her with a questioning look on his face. Edward walked to Tori, took her hand, and left. Emmett and I stood in our places for a few moments before he finally approached me.
"Bella, are you okay honey? What happened?"
"I need to go home Emmett. Can you please take me home?"
"Yes, of course."
He put his arm around me and led me to the desk to retrieve my wrap and his jacket. We walked to his car, and then rode silently home. I had to let him go, give him a chance at a better life. I knew I was in no position to provide him with the future he wanted. I had to set him free. When we got to my apartment we remained sitting for several minutes before I finally spoke, staring at my hands folded in my lap.
"What you saw tonight, it was bad Emmett. I did some things to Edward that I can never take back. I hurt him in ways that no one should ever be hurt. And the things I did then are things that I'm still doing now. I don't want to hurt you Emmett. You are a good, sweet man, and if you stay with me I will only ruin you. I'm so sorry, I didn't realize before tonight the true extent of my actions and choices. I can't ask you to stay in a relationship that will end up destroying you. Please tell Alice that I'm so sorry, for everything. And please don't hate me for this Emmett. Its better this way, trust me."
I moved to open the door when Emmett spoke, "Bella, you're scaring me. What are you talking about? What's going on? What happened with Edward? You can tell me, let me help. I'm a big boy, Bella. Let me decide for myself what I can and can't handle."
I looked at him, the goodness radiating from him. I couldn't hurt him the way I had hurt Edward.
"Don't worry about me Em, its okay. I'm okay. I'm just tired and I need to rest. Things have been way out of hand for a long time and I just need to make some changes, fix some things. It will all be okay. Trust me, it's for the best." I leaned over, kissing him on the cheek. "You've been wonderful to me and I will never forget that. Thank you for making me happier than I have been in a long, long time. I almost forgot what it was like before, how sad I was. You made me almost forget that, so thank you."
He smiled, "Anytime Bella, anything for you."
I looked at his lovely face. "Good night Emmett. Good bye."
I stepped out of the car as he protested, asking me to let him help me out. I didn't stop, I just continued on, not wanting to see him again, choosing instead to remember him with a smile on his face.
I walked away from the car, towards my apartment, letting the sounds of him calling out to me fade into the background noise that filled the night air. Silently I hoped he would be happy someday, and that he wouldn't hate me the way Edward did. At least I was saving him from that heartache.
I entered my dark apartment, letting myself be overwhelmed by the blackness all around me. There was comfort in it, a peace I hadn't felt in years. I let out a long, labored, pained sigh and flipped the lights on. I hung up my purse and wrap, bending over to take off the new shoes I had bought special for tonight. I knew Alice would love to have them; I would make sure she got them. She had been a true friend to me, through all the ups and downs in my life. She was the closest thing I had to family and I adored her. She hoped that by introducing me to Emmett I would actually become family, and it might have worked out, but fate had other plans.
The kitchen was dark, but I knew exactly where the wine glasses were and the bottle of red wine I had recently bought. As I opened the refrigerator door to get the pills I kept hidden there, I saw the flowers Emmett brought me earlier in the evening. They were so bright and cheerful, just like he was. I pulled them out and held them to my chest, breathing in their tart scent. Once the door was closed and I was in darkness again, I realized that I couldn't see the vibrant colors anymore. I thought about how much my life was like that. When I had Edward, he was like a light shining on my life. Before him I had always been in the dark. When I was with him, things were vivacious and colorful, beautiful and warm, but after he left me, the light went out. My world went back to darkness and I knew I could never enjoy anything beautiful again. Emmett was like the flowers – bright, warm, and inviting to me – yet my world was too dark for me to see just how brilliant he was. His life would never be full if he stayed with me. I could never bring to him the joy and happiness that he deserved.
I held the flowers, wine bottle, glass, and pill bottle in my hands and walked to my bedroom. I set the flowers on my bed while placing the wine and glass on my bedside table. I held the tiny bottle in my hand, filled with sleeping pills that had been prescribed to me. They were the only legal drug that I had taken recently; everything else had been acquired by less than respectable means. Anyone who knew me would most likely be shocked to find out about my addiction; I wasn't the kind of person that would fall prey to something like drugs. I came from a nice home, I got good grades in school, my friends were law abiding citizens, and I had never even had a speeding ticket. I didn't look like a drug addict, but I knew I was one.
I emptied the bottle into my hand, quickly counting easily over 40 pills. I knew it was more than enough, but I didn't want to take any chances. I opened the wine and poured a glass for myself, swallowing the pills in several drinks. By the end of the second glass, the pills were all gone and there was nothing left to do but wait. I turned on my radio and was surprised to hear the local country station. I didn't usually listen to it but I remembered playing with the tuner a few days earlier and turning off the radio before putting it back on my regular station. Soon I recognized the song floating out of the speaker. It was a song from years ago that I had first heard while in high school. As I listened to the words, they took on a whole new meaning and I realized how well they applied to my situation.
I decided that I needed Edward to know what I was feeling. He had said so many things to me in the hallway earlier that evening, and yet I said close to nothing. This song fit exactly what I was thinking and I hoped that it would give him some peace of mind once he found out I couldn't keep the promises I had made him.
I took out a paper and started to write. I knew I only had a limited amount of time to do it, and I quickly scribbled a note to him.
I'm so sorry for everything I've done, for all the ways I've hurt you. You were the one true source of happiness to me and I know that my life didn't even begin until I met you.
I'm so sorry that I let things get out of hand. I'm sorry that I made you feel like you weren't enough. I'm sorry that I didn't have the strength to fight harder for us.
You tried to help me, and I will eternally be grateful for that. There are so many things I need to tell you, but I can't bring myself to do it. I heard this song and wanted you to read the words. They are like a mirror into my soul.
It took me by surprise
When I saw you standing there
Close enough to touch
Breathing the same air
You asked me how I'd been
I guess that's when
I smiled and said just fine
Oh, but baby I was lying
What I really meant to say
Is I'm dying here inside
And I miss you more each day
There's not a night
I haven't cried
And baby here's the truth
I'm still in love with you
That's what I really meant to say
And as you walked away
The echo of my words
Cut just like a knife
Cut so deep it hurt
I held back the tears
Held on to my pride
And watched you go
I wonder if you'll ever know
What I really meant to say
Is I'm really not that strong
No matter how I try
I'm still holding on
And here's the honest truth
I'm still in love with you
That's what I really meant to say
Please forgive me. I tried the best I could; I just can't do it without you. I want you to be happy and I know you could never be if you stayed with me.
You are the one thing I am proud of in my life. The one good thing I ever did. Please love me, always, for I will always love you.
I belong to you, my love.
I signed the note with the name that only Edward called me and noticed my mind starting to get blurry. I picked up the picture of Edward and I together that I kept in a frame next to my bed. I traced his face with my fingertips, wondering at how one person could be so beautiful. He was so happy in the picture, I hadn't seen him that way in such a long time. Yet as I thought back over the night I could see some of that happiness in his smile as he stood holding onto Tori when I first saw him across the room. He really was happy, and it made me glad.
I lay down on my bed, waiting for sleep, and my mind began to clear. As it did I was surprised by the things I suddenly remembered.
I remembered the first time Eric offered to share his stash with me. It was right after my father had died, and I was deeply depressed. Edward tried to help me but it was no use. I was desperate and Eric made things sound so good, so easy. After the first time I felt better. After the second time I almost felt normal again. After the third time I was actually happy. I never looked back after that. Eric's magical cure was exactly what I needed.
I remembered the first time Edward found me stoned. He thought I was sick or that something was wrong with me. Then he saw the powder on the table and he knew it was something else. He beat Eric almost unconscious that night, only stopping when I begged him and promised that I would stop using. I did, for almost a week, but Edward had to go back to work eventually, and the first time I saw a picture of me and my father fishing when I was 8 years old, I called Eric. I didn't have any money but he said I could pay him in other ways.
I remembered the first time I has sex with someone other than Edward. I cried the whole time, but the physical need was greater than the emotional one in that moment. Eric was loyal to me and never told Edward about what he and I did together. He never told Edward about what I did with anyone. Somewhere in my troubled mind I thought Eric was my friend. I never saw that he was using me just like I was using him.
As my reality got hazier and I felt myself falling deeper into darkness, I was assaulted by one final vision – the night that haunted me. It was only right that I would be victim to it one last time; that it would be my final dream. Only this time as the nightmare played out, it was different. Things were skewed and twisted and I finally understood that all along I had never seen things the way they really happened. I had turned things around in my mind to make me the victim, when really it had been Edward all along.
I saw myself straddling the body of a man. He was buried deep inside me and I could hear his moans and grunts as he thrust up into me. I ran my finger nails over his naked chest, digging them deeper into him with each pass. I rocked back and forth, sliding up and down his hardness. His hands began squeezing my breasts as I threw my head back, closing my eyes. I saw a glorious face in my mind, the face of the man I wished was beneath me. I imagined his striking green eyes looking into mine, connecting with me like no other person ever had. I could feel his strong but smooth hands gripping my hips, pulling me down onto him. I could hear his voice calling my name. This man made me feel so good, so loved; I shut my eyes tighter to see him more clearly. As the man below me began to groan louder, I knew he was close. I moved my hand to where our bodies were joined, rubbing furiously at the pink bud that I knew would send me over the edge. I wanted to be done with this man so that I could return to the man in my vision. The rocking grew more exaggerated as my moans got louder, finally turning into screams as I felt myself fall into ecstasy. The orgasm erupted through my body just as I heard a door opening and a gasp.
I opened my eyes and turned to see Edward standing in the doorway, a pizza box dropping to the floor. I turned back to see Eric laying underneath me, still caught up in his orgasm. I noticed the stack of wedding announcements I had been addressing scattered across the floor, the diamond ring on my finger shining brightly against the fresh scratches on Eric's chest. I looked back towards Edward and saw him rushing towards me. He grabbed my arm, pulling me from atop Eric, dragging me up the stairs to our bedroom. He slammed the door behind us, grabbing clothes from my dresser drawer and throwing them at me. He began pacing back and forth, running his hands through his hair, as he waited for me to dress.
He finally stopped, looking at me, "What was that Iz? What were you doing down there?"
Something inside of me snapped. I screamed, "What do you think it was Edward? What did it look like to you?" I started laughing, "You are so easily fooled Edward. You have no idea what my life is. No idea what the hell I go through. No idea how fucking hard things are for me. You don't even care, do you?"
"Izzy, what are you talking about? How can you say I don't care about you? I have spent the last two years of my life trying to help you and you won't let me! Damn it, nothing I do is good enough, nothing makes a difference!" I could see the pain in his eyes, hear the sound of defeat in his voice, but something else within me was talking.
"I hate every fucking thing that you do Edward! I hate how you look at me, like I'm some poor little wreck that you need to save. I hate how you talk to me, reminding me to do things that I already know I need to do. I hate the way you touch me, like I'm going to break if you push or pull me too hard. I'm not made of glass, Edward; I'm not going to break. Eric knows that, he doesn't treat me like I'm a disgrace. He just fucks me and goes home! Why can't you ever do that for me?" Edward's face contorted into sheer pain, but I couldn't stop myself from pushing him further.
"You see whatever the hell you want to see in me, Edward. You don't take the time to look and see just how fucking messed up I really am. You have no idea how much I will mess you up. I have nothing to lose here, Edward! I have nothing! No family, no friends, no home, NOTHING!"
Tears began to well up in his eyes as he let out a strangled cry, his body crumbling to the floor. "You have me, Izzy, you have me."
I looked down at him with hatred in my eyes, "Damn it Edward, haven't you figured it out yet? I. Don't. Want. You."
I grabbed at the ring on my left hand, pulling it off my finger and throwing it to the ground. With that I walked out of the room, never looking back at him. I left him on the floor, crying out for me to come back.
It was him crying on the floor, not me. It was me screaming the horrible things, not him. The shock of that realization stirred me from the deep, endless sleep that was slowly overtaking me. He was better off without me. He deserved better than what I could offer him. He would be happy with Tori. He would have the life I never could have given him: children, a home, friends, and joy – all the things I would never have been able to provide. His life would be good.
I opened my eyes to see his face one last time, the picture lying next to me on the bed. My finger slowly traced his smile, memorizing the beauty it held. With my last breaths I mumbled the only thing that ever truly mattered to me, "I love you, Edward. Always."
I closed my eyes as the darkness crept over me, pulling me deeper, until there was nothing left but his face.
A/N: This continues with Edward's POV, and I'm going to warn you now…it's dark, depressing, and sad. It's the worst thing he could ever go through. There aren't going to be any laughs. If you don't want to read that, then just hang on a little longer and wait for the HEA continuation. It's in the works. :)
Let me know what you think of it!! I love hearing from you…