Title: Violent Ends
Disclaimer: All copyrighted, trademarked items, or recognizable characters, plots, etc. mentioned herein belong to their respective owners. No copyright infringement intended.
Summary: When Bella visits her sister at a group home for the mentally ill, she meets a quiet boy with a debilitating illness. Their brief interactions will change her life, forever. AH, OOC.
Submitted for the 'To Kill a Cullen' Contest
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A/N: Special thanks to kimbercullen, for stepping in at the last second to beta this for me. Love you suga! Ok, read on.
These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which as they kiss consume. The sweetest honey
Is loathsome in his own deliciousness
And in the taste confounds the appetite.
Therefore love moderately; long love doth so;
Too swift arrives as tardy as too slow.
They say that time heals all wounds. That with enough time, any grief you experience will lesson with time, any strife you had endured will seem like it wasn't so bad. That with enough time you can forget the pain, forget the agony and grief of what you lost.
Personally, I believe that's a well-manicured pile of shit.
You never forget. You never get a reprieve from the one thing that defined you, which you lost. I know from personal experience that you never just "get over it". It becomes a part of you…until it slowly kills you.
The story of how I slowly died began on a September morning.
When my sister was twenty-two years old, she was diagnosed with Paranoid Schizophrenia. Having someone so close to you suffer from delusions and paranoia was certainly not how I perceived my future would be. But it was what it was, I guess.
Alice was in her second year of college at the University of Kentucky as a Bio major; she came to the party late, having taken a couple years off after high school to "find herself."
She was always a free sprit, really. She didn't like to be tied down to any one man, any one classroom, or any one job. She wanted to do what she wanted without any restrictions. So my mom and I were quite surprised that she wanted to go to college all of a sudden. And a Bio major?
She wanted to be a doctor.
More specifically, she wanted to be an obstetrician. She said that there was nothing in the world like bringing new life into the world, and there weren't enough female doctors around who could actually relate to young women in the most vulnerable time in their lives. I thought the idea was crazy at best, having already been two years behind everyone else. But she was determined. And so, mom and I supported her decision whole-heartedly.
But, once the pressure and the strain of being a full-time pre-med hopeful started weighing in on her, she began having problems.
It all started when she called home one day, saying that she thought her roommate was trying to poison her. We were terrified at the time, not knowing then what schizophrenia was or how bad it would eventually get for her. Thinking she was really in serious danger, mom and I paid a visit. When we met her roommate, Rosalie, we just couldn't believe how genuinely sweet she was, nor that she would ever really try to harm her.
It just didn't make any sense.
And then, just as we were leaving, Rosalie pulled us off to the side and voiced her concerns about Alice--how she got into a verbal argument with one of her professors and almost got kicked out of the class, and how she was becoming more and more anxious.
The most disturbing was when Rosalie told us how she talked to herself… like she was having a conversation with someone who wasn't there. We were terrified. Here we were, two hundred miles away in our small home town in Western Kentucky, with no fucking idea how to help Alice. It was an agonizing time for my mom, especially. As for me, at that time of my life I was hopelessly optimistic, thinking things would work themselves out.
I was such a stupid little girl back then.
When winter break finally came, and Alice was home for two weeks, she tried to kill herself for the first time. It was the first of many attempts. But that first time was heart wrenching, terrifying, and damaging…for all of us.
She was admitted to the psychiatric hospital after that, and put through a rigorous course of therapy. She was put on medications to relieve some of the delusions she was experiencing, and she got better for a while. But she always seemed to relapse, sooner or later. It was a part of our lives now--looking after her, monitoring her, making sure she took her meds. It was exhausting. But mom and I gladly did it, and would continue to do it, indefinitely. After all, it was Alice.
My little sister.
My mother's youngest child.
If we didn't do these things for her, who would?
This last stint in the hospital, after trying to hang herself from the pipes in the basement, her social workers believed that she needed to be in a more structured environment. She needed to be someplace where they could monitor her, give her medications, and provide a safe and stable setting. After talking it over, we reluctantly agreed. I saw what a toll this was taking on our mother, and I thought that maybe this would be a good place for her. Again, I was naive and optimistic back then. I would soon find out that nothing was a bed of roses like I had once believed.
Luckily, the group home where Alice would be living was in town, so we could visit her anytime we wanted. It was a ten-bed facility with five rooms, and each person had a roommate. The residents that lived there had various mental illnesses-- schizophrenia, severe OCD, Intermittent Explosive Disorder, and a range of personality disorders. None of the residents could manage their lives on their own, the social worker had said, but they were all stable on their current respective regimens.
When I pulled up to the facility that September morning, the first thing I noticed was the big front porch. I noticed some of the patients were sitting on the benches out front. It was very well landscaped, with beautiful flowers in ceramic pots and neatly trimmed bushes surrounding the building. I guess you could say it looked like someone's home.
That gave me a little comfort, knowing that my sister was going to live in a comfortable place. Maybe she would thrive here. Maybe she would meet new friends and have some semblance of a normal life.
Well, as normal as one could be in a place like this.
I walked through the front doors, and nearly got ran over by a few of the patients that were wandering around in the lobby. There was a younger man, Ian, who was very friendly.
"Hi there, stranger," he said enthusiastically.
"Hello," I replied uncomfortably. I wasn't really sure what to make of him, or what he was "in" for, so I hurried to the nurse's station to find my sister.
An elderly woman with silver hair was sitting behind the desk, talking on the telephone. As I waited for her to finish, I looked around a bit. I hadn't been here since Alice arrived three weeks ago. The social workers requested that we not come to visit right away, to let Alice get acclimated to her surroundings. Mom and I talked to her on the phone every night, though, and she seemed to be doing well.
The lobby was well decorated with bright colors and indoor plants. It had a homey feel to it, and that made me more at ease.
The patients here seemed to wander around at their leisure; they weren't confined to their room or anything, like at the hospital. I appreciated that, because I know I would've gone crazy if I had to stay in a little room twenty-four hours a day.
Just then, the woman at the desk hung up the telephone and smiled brightly at me.
"Hello dear, can I help you?" she asked.
"Um, yes. I'm here to see my sister, Alice Brandon. My name is Bella," I answered.
"Ah, yes…Bella. I've heard so much about you from Alice. My name's Donna. I'm the nurse here," she said brightly.
"Nice to meet you, Donna," I said.
"You too, dear. Come now. I'll show you Alice's room."
We walked through he lobby to a set of double doors that opened into a long hallway. About half way down, we stopped at a door that read "4-A".
"Here's her room, dear. She was sleeping about thirty minutes ago, but I'm sure she wouldn't mind you waking her up for a visit," she said softly.
I thanked Donna, and slowly opened the door. It was a small room, I noticed, but it was also well decorated with two beds, two dressers, and a large counter with a TV sitting on top. Alice was lying in the bed, facing the window. I slowly walked to her bedside, and gently tapped her shoulder.
She flipped around quickly, and her face brightened at the sight of me standing there.
"Oh, Bella! Thank God you're here! The food here is terrible. I'm going to be a skeleton before long if I don't get some real food," she spoke quickly.
I laughed. "Well, I don't have any real food…unless you count this chocolate in my purse."
She giggled, then proceeded to jump me for the contents of my purse.
We laughed like that for over an hour, playing and talking, just like when we were younger. She really seemed to be doing well here. I was relieved, but cautious. It seemed like I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop--waiting for something bad to happen. I did it instinctively now, without even thinking. Too many years of dealing with her illness, I guess.
"Show me around?" I asked.
Alice enthusiastically jumped from the bed, and off we went. She showed me the recreation room with the pool table and big screen TV. She showed me the dining room where they ate all their meals, and the smoking area.
She was so upbeat, and smiling, and giddy. I couldn't believe it. It was like having the old Alice back again.
We walked to the end of the hallway on the other side of the building toward a smaller room. She called this the chapel. It was empty with the exception of a young guy sitting in the corner reading a book.
She ran over to him, and smiled. "Hey, Edward," she said.
He looked up at her and smiled back, but said nothing.
Then he looked up, his eyes locking on mine, and what I saw nearly knocked me to the ground.
This boy…this man…was beyond beautiful. He had chiseled features, a strong jaw, beautiful dark green eyes, and bronze colored hair that was in total disarray, like he'd been running his fingers through it all day long. But he was still beautiful. Perfect, even. I couldn't think of another word to describe him at the time, because the words "handsome" or "gorgeous" just didn't seem to cut it.
He also looked to be around my age, but had a sadness about him that I couldn't explain.
I couldn't do anything but stare like a fucking idiot. I was so struck by him, and I couldn't understand why. But the second he locked eyes with me, I just couldn't look away. There was only one question I was dying to ask my sister when we were alone again.
What in the hell was Edward doing here?
It had been three months since the first time I visited my sister; three months since I'd met Edward. I visited Alice every weekend. Sometimes mom would join me, but she never wanted to stay very long.
And every time I would visit, I would see Edward. He would always lock eyes with mine, but stay completely silent… even when I'd say hello.
It was strange, and more than a bit frustrating. I wanted to hear his voice; wanted to talk to him and learn all I could about his life. I didn't know why I was so damned drawn to him, but it was undeniable.
Alice had told me a little bit about him--things she'd heard from the other residents. His name was Edward Cullen. He was twenty-five, and had been here for about three years. At twenty, he was diagnosed with Schizoaffective Disorder right after his girlfriend was killed in a car accident. And he doesn't speak…to anyone. Not even to his therapists.
I found the whole thing rather sad, and yet I couldn't help wanting to know more. He was such a mystery. His eyes had the most intense expression all the time, like he wanted to say something, but couldn't. Or wouldn't.
I couldn't fight the overwhelming urge to help him. To just talk to him. But week after week, it was the same.
Until one Saturday… when everything changed.
It started out like every other Saturday. I pulled into the parking lot. I grabbed my bag of snacks and other goodies for Alice, and I headed toward the front door of the home.
But when I opened the door, there was an eerie air about the place--one that I'd never felt before. I had a feeling that something wasn't right, but I couldn't put my finger on it.
I walked down the hallway to Alice's room and opened the door, but she wasn't there. Nervous, I walked over to the other side of the building and down to the chapel, all the while hoping and praying that I was just being paranoid and the reason for the bad feeling I'd experienced upon my arrival would prove unfounded.
I hesitated before opening the door. There she was, sitting at a table with Edward and reading a book while he was working on a puzzle. My initial fears allayed, I smiled as I walked over to the table.
"Hey guys," I said.
Edward looked up at me, as he always did, but this time he gave me the slightest hint of a smile. I stood there for a moment, kind of mesmerized. I eventually smiled back, cursing myself for being such an idiot.
"Hey, Bella," Alice said. "Today might not be the best day to visit. Something's going on with Edward's roommate and they're trying to keep an eye on him."
"What's going on?" I asked, sitting down at the table.
"Well, from what I heard, he is on the verge of a breakdown," she said sadly. "He'll probably have to go back to the hospital."
"Oh," I replied, not really knowing what to say.
"That's why I'm down here, instead of in my room," she sighed. "I'm trying to stay away from the yelling and stuff."
"Well, sweetie, it's going to be okay. I'm sure the nurses are doing what they can to help Edward's roommate." I tried to be reassuring, but it wasn't exactly my strong suit.
We sat there for a while, the three of us, reading and talking. Well, Alice and I were talking… Edward stayed concentrated on his puzzle for the most part. But every once in a while, I'd catch him stealing a glance at me and then turn his head quickly away.
I had to admit, after these few months of seeing Edward, even the slightest little bit of attention made a chill run up my spine.
I mean, this was insane…this thing I'd felt for Edward Cullen. I hardly knew anything about him. He's never spoken to me once, and he obviously has problems or he wouldn't be here. So why was I so drawn to him? It made absolutely no sense at all. He was a patient, and I was just visiting. It's not like we could ever be together, like a normal couple. Even on the off chance that he actually liked me, I was fucking glutton for a punishment. But I couldn't stop imagining what his voice sounded like, what it would be like for him to say my name out loud…just once.
It was all so damn frustrating.
I was abruptly broken out of my thoughts by a loud crash coming from up the hallway. I jumped up to go see what it was, with Alice right behind me. As soon as I turned the corner, I felt a set of strong arms grab me and pull me down the hallway with him into an empty room.
Oh, shit. This was not good.
He spun me around quickly, pushing me against the wall. He was inches from my face, staring at me with mad eyes. He looked to be a little bit older than me, and much, much bigger. The red shirt he was wearing showed off his sculpted arms and broad shoulders.
And I was scared to death.
I wasn't sure who the hell this guy was…but I was pretty sure that he was Edward's roommate.
"You," he said with disgust.
Before I could even think of a response, he started again.
"You called the fucking police, didn't you? I knew it! Goddammit! I should've known it was you the whole time! You think you're so sneaky… coming in here, week after week under the pretense of seeing Alice. But you're intention was to take me down the whole time. You fucking bitch!"
"What the hell are you talking about?" I screamed, unable to wriggle free from his grip. "I don't even know you! Please, just chill out, and I'll—"
"No time for that!" he shook his head madly. "Can't you hear the sirens? They're coming to get me! Well, sweetheart, I'll tell you one thing. If Emmett McCarty's going down…you're going down with me! Now, come on!" he demanded.
What happened next was all a blur.
As Emmett pulled me toward the door, I caught a glimpse of someone standing there, blocking the doorway. I couldn't see his face at first, but I knew exactly who it was.
Emmett stopped in his tracks, and swung me around in front of him with his large hands around my neck.
"You don't want to do that," Edward warned. I was so damn scared, it almost didn't register that it was the first time I'd heard Edward speak.
"Out of the way, Cullen!" Emmett screamed.
Edward didn't move, or speak again. He just stared at Emmett with a murderous expression on his face.
Then suddenly, Emmett lunged in front of me to get to Edward, knocking me on the floor. As I looked up, I saw the two of them struggling. I was so scared that Edward would get hurt while trying to protect me. But as I watched, I saw Edward knock Emmett down to the ground and start punching him in the face.
Blow after blow, I watched, horrified that Emmett would gain an advantage somehow. I mean, he towered over Edward. The fact that Edward was taking him down was nothing short of amazing.
As Edward gave his final blow, effectively knocking Emmett unconscious, the staff and two police officers ran into the room. They pulled Edward up and away from Emmett, and dragged Emmett up and out of the room. The staff then asked Edward and I if we were okay, and he simply nodded his head. I answered with a shaky "yes", still sitting on the floor and in complete awe of what I just witnessed.
After about a million apologies from the staff and me having to reassure them again and again that I was okay, they left the room for me to get myself together. For a moment, Edward just stood there in the doorway, unmoving.
Then he crouched down beside me, taking my hand in his. The sensation caught me by surprise and knocked me for another loop.
"Are you really okay?" he asked softly.
"Ye-yes, I'm okay."
He let out a slow breath, then offered to help me up. I took his hands gratefully, and I couldn't help but notice how soft they were. His voice was so warm and soothing, and I felt so lucky to finally be able to hear him speak.
"I'm glad you're okay, Bella," he whispered. We walked back toward the chapel, where Alice was waiting. Before I opened the door, I hesitated. Edward turned toward me, puzzled. I was so out of it, I didn't even notice that he was still holding my hand.
"Edward?" I asked quietly.
He tilted his head slightly.
"Thank you…for helping me. For saving me. I don't know what would have happened if you weren't there," I said softly, as tears rolled down my face. I guess the adrenaline rush was finally catching up to me.
He leaned closer to me, and I could smell the faintest hint of lavender and cologne. It was a strange combination, but it seemed so perfectly Edward.
"You're welcome, Bella," he replied quietly. "Anytime."
Things had calmed down after that Saturday, and life went on as usual. Well, except for the fact that every Saturday that I visited Alice, I would also spend time with Edward. He no longer stayed silent around me, though I was still the only person he would really talk to. I felt a great sense of pride that Edward trusted me that much. I vowed to never take that for granted.
I reveled in the fact that I finally got the chance to ask him all the questions I wanted to ask him. Where was he was born? What was he like in Kindergarten? What was his favorite color? His favorite song? Honestly, I could think of a million silly questions. But each one gave a little more insight into the man that, though it made absolutely no sense, I was falling in love with.
And Edward never failed to answer every one of them, although he was reluctant at first. But as the time went on and our visits became more frequent, he opened up more. It had become a kind of game with us. For every question I asked, he had insisted that I had to answer one for myself as well. We got to know every little thing about each other through those visits. And even though it wasn't perfect…we weren't perfect...we were okay with that.
A few months later, we were sitting at our usual table in the chapel. Alice was at her therapy session, so I took the opportunity to ask Edward some more about his life.
After about a hundred questions, we sat there in a comfortable silence, working on a puzzle of the Eiffel Tower. Then Edward cleared his throat and turned to me. I raised my head instinctively, knowing he wanted to say something. I remember thinking how funny it was that I knew his mannerisms already.
"You know, Bella," he said hesitantly, "Someday… I'm going to get out of here."
"Yeah," I whispered.
He reached for my hand across the table. I hesitated briefly, then took his hand with a shaky breath, tightening my grip and looking into his eyes. It felt wonderful...holding this quiet boy's hand in the silence of such a sacred place.
"And when I do," he said, looking away briefly before turning his gaze back to mine. "I'm going to find you."
"Yeah?" I said, my voice strained and shaking.
"And when I find you," he said, reaching his other hand toward mine and taking it firmly in both. "I'm going to be with you, for as long as you'll have me." His voice faltered slightly as he said this. I could see that he was nervous, and that it must have taken every ounce of courage he had to confess his feelings like this.
I simply nodded my head as he let go of my hands. He raised both of his to my face, stroking my flushed cheeks gently with his thumbs. As he arose from his chair, I could feel my heartbeat increase in intensity as he leaned forward, moving ever closer, until he placed his soft lips on mine.
It was the sweetest, most intense kiss I had ever experienced. And now, instead of wondering and wishing, I knew that my feelings for him were real. I knew that I loved him. And though he hadn't said it, I knew just from this sweet gesture that he loved me too. We would find a way to be together, no matter what. I had found my other half in the least likely of places. Being alone wasn't an option for either of us anymore.
I believed, with all my heart, that Edward would get stronger with each passing day. With my help, he could live a normal happy life. I had faith that we could make it work. If we could overcome his illness, we could overcome anything that life threw our way.
In the days that followed, we began making impulsive plans for our future. We talked about where we would live, who our children would look like, and even mused about growing old together. And we both agreed that, no matter what happened, we would make it through the rough spots along the way.
It was such a strange and sudden thing, to discover the one person you were meant to spend your life with. It wasn't this cardboard cut out, picture perfect romance of fairy tales… but it was real. I loved all the good and not-so-good things about him, and he showed the same acceptance of mine. He listened intently to every word I would say, like they were the last words he'd ever hear. And when he looked at me, he made me feel like I was the only girl in existence.
No one on this earth had ever made me feel so loved...so wanted. And no one in my life ever would.
Of course, once we discovered how deep our feelings had grown for each other, the next and possibly biggest hurdle was to tell Alice. I knew that she liked Edward, but I had also begun noticed small changes in her behavior that alarmed me. She had begun to think people were always talking about her, and had made a comment the day before about how she believed the kitchen staff was putting dish soap in her food. Concerned, I had alerted the nursing staff who said that she was due for a medication evaluation the next week.
I didn't think any more of it.
I should've known better.
It was an unusually cold April morning as I pulled into the parking lot. Thanks to the constraints of work and "normal life," I hadn't been to the home to visit in almost two weeks. I called Alice every night, but that didn't ease my growing concern for her well being. I had the feeling she was regressing, but the nurses assured me that they were keeping a close eye on her. They would alert my mother and I to any major changes in her mental health.
I'd also spoken to Edward on the phone the night before, as I had come to do every night after talking to Alice, and before I went to sleep. He had seemed distracted, but I decided not to make an issue out of it. I'd learned that sometimes it was best to let his silences pass without pressing him. He would come out of these moments in time.
But one thing that he had mentioned raised my concerns every so slightly. He said that Alice had said something strange to him that morning. He didn't understand what it meant. But not wanting to worry me, he wouldn't elaborate any further on the subject.
I made my way to Alice's room, still trying to shake off the chill of morning. I reached for the knob and tried to open the door, then quickly realized that something was in the way of it. I knocked, calling Alice's name, but no one answered. I pushed hard against the heavy door, trying to nudge it open as best I could. When it didn't budge, I began to panic.
"Alice," I called louder. "Alice! Open the door! Please!"
Suddenly, just as I was about to call the nurse, Alice quickly opened the door. She grabbed my hand and practically dragged me into the room, slamming the door shut behind us.
"What in the world?" I gasped. "Alice, why were you blocking the door? You scared the hell out of me!"
"Don't go to the chapel today," Alice warned, her voice high and troubled.
"What? Why? You know that's where I meet Edward." I took a step back, searching her eyes. They were bloodshot and heavy, and dark circles dominated the space below. "What's going on, Alice?"
"Look," she said, panic evident in her voice. "I know you love the guy, and it's going to be hard for you to hear… but I won't let him hurt you. Not now, not ever. You must stay away from him, Bells. I overheard him talking to Jasper, the guy from 6-B, and I think they're going to do something...something bad...something really, really bad. And I couldn't take it if he did something to you, I just couldn't take it...I just couldn't!"
"Alice, have you been taking your medication?" I asked cautiously, reaching a trembling hand out and placing it on her tiny shoulder. That had to be it.
"Bella," she said, her tired eyes becoming wide. "How can I take my meds when these fuckers are trying to poison me? They've been lacing the capsules with arsenic. I just know it, Bella! And my food...I haven't eaten in days. They think I do, but I'm so much smarter than they are. I just take it to my room and flush it down the toilet."
"Umm…Alice, honey...just calm down," I uttered, stroking her hair gently then slowly backing away toward the door. "I'm just going to go see if the nurse is keeping an eye on this Jasper guy. I don't want to see anyone get hurt."
"No!" she cried. "Don't go out there! It's not safe!"
"Honey, it's ok," I said, not knowing whether I believed my own words. "Just sit tight. I'm just going down the hall and I'll be back before you know it. I'll...knock three times when I come back so you know it's me. Okay?"
She looked at me for a moment, her eyes searching mine. Then, finally giving in and trusting me, she sat down on the edge of the bed and wrapped her arms around her midsection.
"Yeah, okay…you're right. See what you can find out. I'm coming up with a plan right now, and everything should be set by the time you get back."
"Ok hon," I nodded quietly, careful not to arouse her suspicions. "I'll be right back."
When I finally made it out of the room, I took off like a rocket to the chapel where I knew Edward would be waiting for me. I'd never been more terrified. Of all the times my sister had been delusional, she had never threatened anyone or anything before. I was so scared for her. For Edward. If anything happened to him… I didn't know what I would do.
I ran around the corner, only to run right into him.
"Whoa… Bella? What's wrong?" he said hurriedly, placing his hands on my shoulders and taking a step back.
"Oh, Edward. Alice is really bad. She's become really paranoid about…about…well, about you. She thinks you're going to hurt me. She thinks you and some Jasper guy are going to try and hurt me." Warm tears began streaming down my cheeks.
Edward pulled me into his strong arms, holding me tightly. "Shhh, Bella. It's okay. We'll figure something out. Have you talked to the nurses yet?"
"No…I came straight to you. I don't know Edward. I have a bad feeling about this and I don't know what to do."
"Hey," he said, pulling back to see my face and stroking my hair gently. "Nothing's going to happen. I'm fine. I'm going to be fine. Please don't worry, love." He pulled me back into his arms, strong and unyielding.
I had just closed my eyes to breathe in his scent, his warmth, and all the love he held when I heard a strange, gurgling sound. I immediately glanced up at Edward to see if he had heard it too, and my whole world came crashing down around me.
No, no, no, no, no!
The beautiful, angelic face of the man I was in love with...the keeper of my soul, my future…stared white and lifeless into my eyes.
And the blood...
It was everywhere, spilling from his neck onto me. He was gagging, gasping for air and trying to tell me something. As I turned, I saw a small, shadowy figure standing behind him, holding something shiny and metallic in their hand. Sunlight reflected off the polished surface.
My God, Alice! What have you done?
I let out a blood-curdling scream for help as Edward stumbled, collapsing onto the cold, white tiled floor.
"HELP!" I screamed, feeling completely detached from reality. "Somebody, please! Help him!"
My mind couldn't take it, couldn't register what was happening. This couldn't be real. This was a nightmare.
Alice turned to me, her eyes cold and complacent. She dropped the knife onto the floor right next to Edward.
"I couldn't let him do it. I couldn't let him hurt you. I had to do it, Bella. Before he did it to you."
I couldn't believe what I was hearing. The world moved in slow motion…the love of my life lay dying before my eyes, and my sister standing against the wall with his blood on her hands.
I could hear people rustling in the background...heavy footsteps pounding the ground underneath my feet...but all I could see was Edward's face--pale white and fading.
I crouched down beside him, my tears blurring my vision. He couldn't speak, but I could see him mouthing the words "I love you" over and over again.
"Shh, Edward," I said, stroking his hair, his face, his lips. "Don't try and talk. Hang on for me, okay? Just hang on."
He drew in a ragged breath, his eyes widening with fear. He was drowning in his own blood.
"Don't leave me." I sobbed. "Please, don't leave me. Not like this. Remember all the plans we had together? We're going to grow old together, remember? Just hang on a little while longer. Help is coming, baby. Please?"
But it was too late.
He took one last, gurgling breath, then became still and lifeless, his eyes closing for the last time.
It was over.
My Edward...my love...my life.
Time passes, even for those who wish it would end. Though I am alive today, my heart is dead and gone, buried in a small cemetery where the other half of my soul lays.
My sister now resides at Western State Hospital, where she will probably live the rest of her days. I've lost her too. As much as I want to blame her, I can't deny that I still love Alice. I always will. I know that she was sick and that her actions were a direct result of the demons that plagued her mind.
But it doesn't ease the pain of my loss...the loss of the quiet boy with the bronze hair who touched my heart in so many ways. The boy who loved me in spite of myself; in spite of his own loss. The man who loved me enough to overcome his own demons in pursuit of a life free of the obstacles that would keep us apart.
For now I must live the rest of my miserable days without him.
But every once in a while, when the air outside is warm and the sky is clear, I swear I can feel him next to me, rocking right beside me on my front porch swing. And for a moment in time, I think back to the beginning of the wonderful life we could have had together.
And for just a moment, I can escape the reality of this violent end.
The end of his life.
The end of mine.