Title: Everyone Leaves
Disclaimer: These characters don't belong to me. I'm just killing them off for my own sick pleasure.
Summary: Bella doesn't have anyone left when she climbs over the railing of the bridge, ready to let go. What will happen when a stranger talks her down and helps her move on with her life? AH BxE, Kill A Cullen Entry
Submitted for the 'To Kill a Cullen' Contest
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Everyone leaves, willingly or not.
My father left when I was three months old. Willingly. He walked out on my mother and me, not caring what happened to either of us. We never heard from him again. We made the best of the situation though. We moved a lot, but that was okay. My mom had to work, and she was always looking for something bigger and better. She was kind and loving, and she never spoke bitterly of my father – other than to say that he was missing out on a great daughter.
Mom left when I was nineteen. Unwillingly. She had breast cancer, and it was over before I could prepare myself for it. I only had two months from her diagnosis until I held her hand as her heart stopped beating. I didn't know what to do. I had no idea how to cope with her leaving me too.
Her funeral was beautiful. The women from the cancer foundation helped me plan it. Everyone we knew was there, offering their condolences, but it just felt wrong. I was never the gracious one in the family. I could only say 'thank you' so many times when people expressed their sorrow for my loss. That night I went home, sat on the couch, and cried for hours because I didn't know what else to do.
When the tears dried up, I found myself alone. Completely alone.
I wandered the streets, much later than I should have. Unsure of where to go or what to do, I walked just knowing that I needed to do something.
That's what led me there that night. I missed her so much it hurt. It physically hurt to take a deep breath. The only way to stop the pain was to stop breathing. So I stood on the bridge, hanging on to the railing, working up the courage to let go. That's when Edward found me. And he changed everything.
"Don't do it," was his simple request.
I jerked my head around to see him standing behind me, eyeing my warily. He was out of breath like he'd been running. He stood a few feet back, cautiously shifting foot to foot, with his hands dug deeply in the pockets of his sweatshirt. I could tell that he was well meaning, but I didn't want well meaning right now. I just wanted to be left alone.
"It's none of your business," I informed him as I leaned further forward.
"Please don't," he asked again, his features contorting like he was in distress. Anger flowed through me. He wasn't the one in pain here, I was. He had no right to tell me what to do.
"Go away!" I yelled. If he would just leave me alone for a couple of seconds I'd be able to let go. I just needed another couple of seconds to prepare myself for the pain. It wouldn't be long before I was ready. I was in so much emotional pain that I didn't think it would take much to get ready for the physical.
I loosened my grip, hanging on by only my fingertip, when I felt his hands wrap around mine, tying me to the rail.
"Let. Go," I growled, staring at him fiercely.
His eyes were on fire as he stared me down. He shook his head and tightened his grip around my hands. Before, he was pleading. Now, he was angry. "Not until you tell me why."
"Why what?" I asked, deliberately playing dumb.
He narrowed his eyes at me in annoyance. "You know what," he spat. "Why are you hanging off of a bridge in the middle of the night?"
I closed my eyes and sighed. I could tell by the tone of his voice that he wasn't letting go until I explained myself. Maybe if I talked to him, I could distract him enough into letting go.
"Because I don't have any reason not to," I answered.
He shook his head. "That's not true."
"Oh really?" I challenged. "Then tell me, what reason do I have to not let go?"
"How about not making me witness a suicide? That's a reason," he offered with a wry smile.
I rolled my eyes. "Then walk away."
"Not going to happen until you give me a real reason," he replied. "Maybe you'll talk me into it."
I shook my head. My reasons were shaky enough in my own mind. To him, they would sound ridiculous. And I was never much of a persuasive speaker.
If I was braver and not so afraid of the pain, I would kick my legs out from under me and hope the momentum ripped my hands from his. But there was something that kept me from putting him through that. I knew deep down that he shouldn't have to see this. So I would play his little game just to get him to leave.
I took a deep breath before I started telling him the story. Initially I only meant to tell him about my mom and having no one left, but once I started speaking, the words kept pouring out. I told him about my father walking out, my best friend leaving me behind for her boyfriend, my dog running away. Before I realized it, I was sobbing again, but I felt a little better. It helped to tell someone about it.
At some point during my story, I leaned backwards to rest my lower back on my hands. I rested my weight on the rail as I continued to talk. Finally I was finished, but when I tried to take a deep breath I realized it hadn't helped enough. Breathing was still too painful. My heart still hurt. I remembered exactly why I was standing up here and what I still had to do.
"So that's why I have to do this," I concluded, leaning forward once again.
His grip tightened around my hands and he leaned close to my ear, whispering, "What would your mother think?"
I jerked away from his mouth and purposely slammed my head into the side of his face. He made a sputtering noise and I turned to glare at him, hoping to see some blood. Instead I saw a face so full of regret I almost felt sorry for him.
"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry," he said, apologizing over and over. "That was out of line. You didn't deserve it. I just want you to think about it. After what I just said, I know that you want to say no, but can you listen to me for two minutes? Just two minutes, that's all I'm asking. After that, if I don't have you convinced, I'll step away and you can let go if you still want to." His pleading expression would have been heartbreaking – if my heart wasn't already broken.
His offer was too good to pass up. All I had to do was listen to him babble for two minutes. Then I would be free to do as I pleased. Seemed like a good deal to me. I nodded for him to continue.
He told me about his family, how his mother left him behind too. Then he told me about being adopted by his parents and how hard it had been to accept that they wanted him. He told me about how there's so much left for me out there if I would just look around me.
So I did. And all I saw was him. I found it hard to say that it sounded like a bad deal.
I realized he had been talking for much more than two minutes but I wasn't ready for him to stop. He was saying things could be better. Though I didn't quite believe him, maybe if he told me more about it. . .
Maybe I just wanted to hear his voice a little longer.
Finally he finished speaking and squeezed my hands in his once again. He leaned in close behind me and whispered in my ear, "Please, you don't want to do this. Just give me your hand and I'll take you home."
I closed my eyes against the tears that were forming and took a deep breath. It wasn't as painful this time. I wasn't sure why but if it was getting better, maybe I didn't have to do this. After what felt like an eternity I turned around slowly and placed my hands in his as he helped me over the rail. When I was on the sidewalk his eyes were closed and he didn't let go of my hands, just held onto me like a vise, as if he was trying to root me to the spot.
When he opened his eyes they were the brightest most vibrant green I'd ever seen.
"Come on," he said with a smile. "Let's get out of here."
Somehow, standing on that bridge in the frigid wind and rain, he'd known exactly what to say, exactly what to say to ease my fears. He promised me things could be better.
I took his word for it when I stepped back away from the railing and into his waiting arms. Later, I realized that I was in love with him even then, though I didn't find the courage to tell him for almost two full years.
That was four years ago. Sometimes I'm disappointed in myself for considering suicide just because I was lonely, but it helped me find Edward, and I can't bring myself to regret it.
We're setting up our house now. And it's a beautiful house. It's small, but it's ours. The pipes leak, the windows are drafty, and the furniture came from the Goodwill. But he's here with me.
He's always smiling, always catching my eye with a devious smirk. The hair falling down in his eyes causes me to giggle as he tries to blow it back into place.
He narrows his eyes at me. "Something funny?"
I just smile and shake my head, turning my attention back to the box I'm unpacking. I start stacking knick-knacks on the mantle, but my hand stills when I reach a familiar picture frame.
I pull it out carefully and push the other things to the side. This picture deserves a place of reverence.
I feel his arms encircle my waist, and his chin sits on my shoulder.
"You are so beautiful," he comments, turning his face to place a kiss on my neck.
I smile and turn around, wrapping my arms around his neck and resting my forehead against his.
"Thank you," I whisper.
"For saving me."
"Thank you," he repeats.
"For what?" I question.
"For letting me save you."
I sigh and kiss him lightly and turn to face the mantle again. Together we stare at the picture that was taken the night we met. The night that changed everything.
He had just talked me into letting him give me a ride home. I was exhausted and cold, and before I realized what was happening, he pulled into a 24 hour diner. He bought my breakfast and listened to more stories about my mom.
"She sounds like a great lady," he said quietly, bringing his eyes up to meet mine.
"She was," I responded, feeling slightly less despondent than I had even minutes before.
After I finished eating, he was walking me back to his car when a man jumped in front of us. He clearly hadn't showered in weeks and was carrying a large bag on his back filled with what appeared to be all of his personal possessions. At first, I thought we were in danger of being robbed, but it turned out he was a street vendor selling Polaroids. I started to protest, but Edward nodded and wrapped his arm around my shoulder. The warmth that spread through me was the same warmth I felt when he helped me down from the bridge, immediate and calming.
The man held the camera up and snapped our picture. Edward gave him five dollars and took the picture from the man. When we were back in the car, he pulled out a pen and wrote something on the back.
"I don't know that I'll ever see you again," he said with a hint of sadness. "But if you ever need anything, please call me." He handed me the photo and on the back was written
I gave him the best smile I could muster, which still wasn't much, but he seemed to accept it and beamed back at me.
When we pulled up to the apartment I had previously shared with my mother, I unbuckled my seatbelt and had my hand on the door handle when I felt his hand rest on my forearm.
"Wait," he requested. "Let me see that picture again."
I took a deep breath, hoping he wasn't going to cross out the number after deciding that maybe I wasn't worth all of this trouble.
He wrote another line below his phone number and handed it back to me.
"I have something I want to ask you," he said meeting my eyes with intensity.
"Um. . .maybe?" I offered, not wanting to get roped into something I didn't want to do.
"Can you just. . .call me tomorrow? Just so I know you're okay? We don't have to talk or anything. I just want to know that you're all right. Will you do that for me?" he implored.
I saw the pleading look in his eyes and knew I didn't want to disappoint him. I gave him a slight nod, barely discernable.
"Promise?" he asked.
I nodded again. "I promise. I'll call you tomorrow."
He smiled at me as I got out of the car and made my way toward the door. In the light cast by the entry way I read the line he'd added to the bottom of the photograph. He'd added just two words.
We stare at the photo for another minute or so before we get back to unpacking.
I pull lots of things out of boxes that I know we'll never use and will only be repacked when we move out, but he's adamant that we unpack everything so it will feel like home.
He knows I don't care, but I do it for him. It's not the stuff that matters. It's him. He's the one that makes it home. We could be living in a cardboard box, and I wouldn't care as long as he's there with me.
He's trying to give me the full experience. He says that since I gave up on life once before, he's making it his mission to be sure I don't miss out on anything ever again. And I can't fault him for that. It just makes me love him more.
I hear him call my name and look up just in time to see a balled up shirt flying toward me. I duck behind the bed and peek over the edge to see him on the other side doubled over with laughter.
Two can play at this game.
I grab the shirt he just threw at me and chuck it back in his direction. He avoids it easily and just smiles, spurring me on.
I grab a pair of shorts from the box I'm unpacking and fake a throw at him. He ducks and while I've got him off guard I jump over the bed and tackle him.
He grunts as I push him to the ground, landing on top of him.
"That was mean," I say with a pout.
He chuckles then wiggles under me, and it's obvious that getting me to lie on top of him was his goal all along.
He leans in and presses his lips to mine, slowly, sweetly. I sigh when he pulls away and rest my head on his chest, just to feel the air moving in and out of his lungs.
"Your heart is pounding," I comment with a smile. "All for me?"
"Of course," he says running a hand through my hair. "You know I can't help myself."
At this he shifts again and my breath catches in my throat. Now my heart is racing too.
He smirks and moves his hands from my hair to run down my back. He traces shapes on the skin just under the hem of my shirt and I know we're about to play my favorite game.
"Write me a message," I request, laying my head back down on his chest to his still hammering heart.
He pulls my shirt up so my whole lower back is exposed, and he starts drawing letters on my skin.
"I. . .L. . .O. . .V. . .E. . .Y. . .O. . .U," I say as he traces the letters one by one. I close my eyes and rub my nose on his chest. "I love you too," I whisper.
"Okay, I have another one for you," he says before tracing the letters much more quickly this time.
W. . .I. . .L. . .L. . .Y. . .O. . .U. . .M. . .A. . .R. . .R. . .Y. . .M. . .E. . .
He traces the letters on my back, but I'm sure I haven't gotten them right. I raise my head to look into his eyes, and I find the most earnest expression I've ever seen. He's serious. All at once the realization hits and I'm struggling to breathe with the joy that's coursing through me.
"Really?" I ask.
He touches his forehead to mine. "Really."
I pull myself up so I can get a good look at him when I make my reply. If he's half as excited as me, his face is not something I want to miss.
"Yes," I say with tears leaking from my eyes. "Yes. I never want anyone else. Yes," I repeat over and over.
"I love you, Bella," he says and I can see a tear or two threatening to spill over from his eyes too. I lean down and touch my lips to his, lightly at first but the intensity quickly escalates. He's pulling me on top of him and pulling my shirt up even higher, until it's gone completely. He wastes no time unhooking my bra and rolling so he's above me.
His hands start roaming my chest while I do my best to concentrate on removing his shirt. He runs the backs of his fingers down my side, grazing my breasts and I'm already close to unraveling. I grab his hips and grind him into me while he moves his mouth from mine, following the lines of my jaw, down my neck to my collarbone.
I manage to get his pants unbuttoned and push them down, grasping onto him and loving his intake of breath. He groans as my hand starts a steady rhythm and quickly removes my shorts, spreading my legs as he brings his lips back to mine.
He positions himself to enter me but first he leans back against the bed and pulls me up onto his lap.
"You were much too far away," he admits as he pushes himself into me.
I gasp and wrap my arms and legs around him, barely allowing him room to thrust. I want to feel him inside me, as deep and long as possible. We move together, slowly at first then quickening our pace until we're both frantic and disjointed.
My climax overtakes me before his does so after I come down I have a few moments of clarity to watch the look of sheer bliss on his face as he finishes. Sure, I've seen him in the heat of the moment before, but this time is different. He's different. And all I can think about is how much I can't wait to see this face again.
After he finishes, we stay curled around each other for quite a while, but however long it is, it's not nearly enough. After a time he pulls back and brushes strands of sweaty hair from my forehead.
"Do you want to see the ring?" he whispers.
I gasp. There's a ring? I hadn't even thought about a ring. I was so excited that I was getting him I didn't even consider the jewelry involved. I'm even more excited than I was before.
I nod eagerly and groan as he shifts me off of his lap to stand. He smiles over his shoulder at me as he leaves the room, still naked, to retrieve the ring from wherever he's hidden it.
I move up to sit on the bed to wait for him. I can't keep from bouncing in excitement.
I've never been so happy in my life, and I can feel the joy spreading throughout my body. It's hard to breathe again, but this time it's because he's too far away.
When he appears in the doorway again there's a small box in his fingers and I feel tears welling once again. I jump up from my seat to meet him.
He walks over to me and takes my hand in both of his. He kneels down on his left knee and looks up at me with more adoration that I thought possible.
"Isabella Swan, I love you more than anything," he begins. He swallows back the tears that are threatening to fall as he breaks his train of thought. "Is this okay? I mean, that we're naked? Do you want to be wearing clothes for this?" he asks with concern.
I shake my head and smile as a few more tears spill over. "No," I choke out. "I can't wait that long."
He smiles and then his face is all business. "Isabella Swan, will you marry me?"
I knew those words were coming but it still did nothing to prepare me for the shock of actually hearing them.
I nod vigorously. "Yes."
He beams at me and rises, opening the box to reveal the most beautiful ring I'd ever seen. I gasp and reach my hand out tentatively, as if it's going to bite me.
"It was my mother's and I want you to have it," he says with conviction.
This brings on a new round of tears and I have trouble keeping myself upright. I grab onto his arm for support as I sob with abandon. He's starting to look concerned and I have to take a couple of deep breaths before I can reassure him.
"Happy tears," I promise. "Happy tears."
He sits me back down on the bed to steady me while he pulls the ring from its resting place and grabs my left hand in his.
"You have no idea how long I've wanted to do this," he swears as slides the ring onto my finger. It fits perfectly, and I wiggle my finger to watch the way the ring catches the light streaming in from the windows.
His eyes darken at this and he gives me a sly smile. "You wearing that ring, and only that ring, is just about the hottest thing I've ever seen," he says before pulling me in for another round of kissing and groping.
By the time we're ready for bed we're both exhausted. He wraps his arms around me and in this moment I've never felt more alive. He sighs into my hair as he falls asleep and I can feel his warm steady breath on the back of my neck. As I drift off the sleep, I can feel it. I'm home.
That night, I dream about the night he told me he loved for the first time.
It was about two years ago. We were in his car, on the way back to my apartment after dinner. We had been spending more and more time together, but neither of us was willing to call it what it was. Instead we were living in denial, saying we were just friends.
Dinner had been a disaster. We'd been annoyed with each other, though for the life of me I couldn't figure out why. No matter what I said, he'd sigh loudly. I asked him if he wanted dessert. Sigh. I asked him if he wanted to go to the movies after dinner. Sigh. I asked him what his problem was. Bigger sigh.
With every sigh I became more and more annoyed until I couldn't take it anymore. As soon as the waitress took the check, I asked him to bring me home.
We pulled up in front of my building and he cut the engine. Lately he'd taken to walking me to my door after I confided my fears of being mugged. Though tonight, after his behavior at dinner, I was willing to take my chances.
"Don't bother," I said as I set my hand on the door handle.
"Fine," he replied petulantly as he shoved his keys back into the ignition. I'd had enough.
"What is your problem?" I screeched.
He just shook his head and stared out his window refusing to even look at me. It was from that angle that I was able to catch a glimpse of his chin quivering slightly like he was trying to hold back tears.
"Hey," I said quietly. "What is it?" I reached a hand out to cover his and he looked at me with a pained expression.
"Don't worry about me. I'll be fine," he assured me, but I didn't believe him.
I squeezed his hand as I continued. "Really, Edward, what's wrong?"
He sighed again, though this time I knew it was because he was going to talk rather than trying to keep it all bottled up inside.
He turned in his seat and met my eyes with a watery smile.
"It's just. . .I'm in love with this girl," he started. "And I don't think I can ever be with her."
"Oh," was all I could say. I was suddenly very jealous of this girl that I didn't even know. And that sudden surge of jealousy scared the hell out of me.
"Yeah," he said as he turned his face back to his window.
"Anyone I know?" I asked, sincerely hoping it wasn't anyone I knew. It would only make things harder if I saw the two of them together.
His barking laugh caught me off guard and he looked at me like I was crazy.
"You really don't know?" he asked, shaking his head in disbelief.
"No," I replied angrily, removing my hand from his. "Why would I know who you have a crush on? You never talk about anyone else when we're together."
He caught my hand in his again and brought it up to his lips. He looked up at me over our hands and said, "It's you, Bella."
My mouth hung open for far longer than was probably appropriate. I knew it was rude but I was completely taken aback. I hadn't seen it coming at all. I always knew he was too good for me, a fact that I now remind him of frequently.
Finally, I composed myself and eyed him critically.
"You're in love with me?"
He nodded as if it were something to be ashamed of. I steeled my resolve to ask him the question that really mattered. How he answered would be of extreme importance.
"And why do you think you can never be with me?"
I was prepared to hear that though he loved me, I was just too damaged to be with. Or he was afraid I would try to kill myself again. Or was just holding out for someone prettier. All of these thoughts ran through my mind.
His eyes widened at the question and he stuttered as he tried to form an answer. "Because I'm no good for you. Because you're so much better than I am. Because you shouldn't feel obligated to do anything because I talked you down from a bridge once."
I could tell where his list was going and it was nowhere good. He didn't have any real reasons, he was just afraid I would say no.
"Edward, stop," I said, cutting him off.
He stared at me as he took in my expression and I guess he saw the right thing because suddenly his lips were on mine. It didn't take long for me to realize I wanted to kiss him back and when we pulled back for air I whispered the phrase I realized I'd been longing to say for as long as I'd known him.
"I love you too, Edward."
I awaken the next morning to feel his arms still wrapped around me. I smile, close my eyes, and snuggle closer, hoping to wake him for another round. When he doesn't even stir I get a little annoyed and bolt out of bed. He always complains that he can't sleep when I leave him alone. That should have him awake in no time.
I throw on one of his t-shirts and go to the kitchen to start putting together the most elaborate breakfast I've ever made. Pancakes, eggs, bacon, biscuits. The food smells delicious and I'm disappointed the commotion in the kitchen doesn't wake him. I'm half-expecting to feel him wrap his arms around my waist at any moment, but I know since I'm expecting it, it won't happen. He prides himself on catching me off guard. Like he did last night with that proposal.
That proposal. I hadn't seen it coming. At all. Sure, I knew that someday we would probably end up married. I loved him and hoped it would happen, but secretly I'd always been preparing myself for the worst. For him to leave me behind. But now, after last night, I finally believe him. He's not going anywhere.
I dish up the food and put the plates on a tray. I make my way back to the bedroom for breakfast in bed. I smile when I see him still curled up like I never left.
I set the tray down on the night stand and lean onto the bed, pushing the hair out of his eyes and brushing my lips against his.
"Edward," I whisper. "I made you breakfast, but you have to wake up to get it."
Nothing, not even a flinch. I shake his shoulder.
"Edward, wake up."
He rolls onto his back, but it's more like falling than voluntary movement. I shake him harder.
He's just really asleep, I tell myself when he doesn't respond.
Now I'm starting to panic. I put my ear to his chest, but I don't hear anything. Nothing, no heart beat, no breathing, no signs of life. I scream and start pounding his chest, not in an earnest attempt to revive him, but because I don't know what else to do. No matter how hard I hit him, he doesn't even flinch. I don't know what to do.
Finally, the light bulb goes off and I reach behind me, blindly grabbing for the phone. I dial 911, and while I'm waiting for an answer I feel the fear overtake me. When someone finally comes on the line I'm a complete hysterical mess. The only words I manage to get out are, "Edward won't wake up."
The operator promises me help is on the way and tells me she'll stay on the line so I keep the phone to my ear. I don't pay attention to a word she says. Instead, I pace back and forth next to the bed just staring at him and hoping he wakes up to tell me this is all a bad joke.
I hear a siren approaching and I turn to the front door, throwing it open and waving them inside urgently. The EMTs are both women in the mid-30s and I'm suddenly aware that Edward wouldn't want to be naked in front of them. I consider getting a blanket to cover him but when they kneel next to him to start working I decide he'll just have to handle the embarrassment in exchange for making me this terrified.
They start pumping on his chest and breathing for him while they ask me questions. Does he take any medications? Has he done any illicit drugs recently? Does he have any medical conditions or allergies they should know about? I try to answer the questions but I can't focus on anything.
All too soon they slow their hands and rock back on their heels. One faces me, looking me directly in the eye while the other keeps her eyes downcast. I can see the message they're about to deliver, but I can't bear to hear it.
"No," I beg. "Please no."
"I'm so sorry," the blonde one says. "There's nothing we could do." She reaches out to rest a hand on my shoulder but I push her arm away. This can't be happening.
I feel my stomach heave and run to the bathroom covering my mouth. The brunette, the one who couldn't even look at me, is suddenly behind me holding my hair and rubbing my back soothingly. But it's all wrong.
My hands are shaking so much I can't grip the sides of the toilet while I heave into it. I'm heaving and hyperventilating and the girl standing behind me is trying to help me calm down. She keeps whispering that I need to take deep breaths and calm down. If it wasn't so painful even to think, I would lash out at her.
I must pass out because suddenly the entire world goes black and I see the only thing I do not want to see.
Edward was standing in the bathroom of his apartment, pulling things from the shelves and throwing them into his suitcase. He wasn't even trying to straighten them out and their lack of order was annoying me.
I sat on the corner of his bed, one foot tucked under me and played with the edge of his comforter while I watched him prepare to leave without me.
"Stop it," he said, annoyed by inability to see him go away for the weekend willingly.
I shot him an irritated look. "No."
He was going to a presentation for school. Apparently, it's a big deal to be invited to go, and while he's allowed to bring a date, I couldn't afford it. So he was going without me. And it was just a little hard for me to handle.
He turned away from the cabinet he was pulling things from and walked toward me.
He stopped and kneeled down in front of me. I tried not to look at him but he took my chin in his hand and gently directly eyes to his.
"I'm coming back, you know," he said as he stroked his fingers down my cheek. "It's only for a couple of days. I agreed to go on this trip a long time ago."
I knew it was the truth. I knew he wasn't lying to me, but I still couldn't shake the feeling that he wasn't coming back. I always knew the possibility was there and I couldn't stand to be away from him so long. There were so many reasons for him not to come back to me.
"Bella," he whispered, his face inches from mine. "I love you. I'm coming back."
I nodded and felt the tears spill over again. "I know. It's just hard making my brain understand it."
He sighed and tucked a strand of hair behind my ear. "I'm not leaving," he said before standing up, walking back to the bathroom, and kneeling to begin removing things from his suitcase.
"No," I said, standing up and wiping the tears away with the back of my hand. "This trip is a big deal for you. Don't stay just because I'm a little bit crazy right now. I'm always a little bit crazy."
He stood up and came to stand in front of me. He took my face in his hands and looked down at with an intensity I'd never seen before.
"I'm not leaving," he repeated. "You don't want me to go, so I'm staying here."
I started to argue but he silenced me again.
"I love you. I want to do everything for you. And if that means never leaving your side. . ." he trailed off with a smile. He pulled me closer to him and wrapped his arms around me. "I think I could get used to that."
He kissed the top of my head and I leaned my face up to look at him.
"You really mean it?" I asked.
I wake up to find myself in a strange bed in a dark room with monitors beeping around me. At first I am completely clueless about my surroundings but the events of the morning come back to me slowly and I realize it's wasn't just a bad dream. Once I realize that I'm in a hospital room, the panic sets in almost immediately. I start flailing around and pulling at the tubes sticking out of my arms. An alarm starts going off and suddenly I'm washed in florescent light as someone bangs the door open.
The doctor comes over to me quickly and tries to calm me, but I can hardly hear him. Then I realize it's because I'm screaming. Not just yelling but blood-curdling screams. The doctor is try to soothe me but it doesn't take long for him to realize that it's going to take more than kind words to get me to settle down.
He says something about not wanting to sedate me again and suddenly I'm begging for it.
Please, I don't want to have to keep remembering this. Just keep me sedated forever.
Then he says the one thing that brings me back down.
"Is there anyone I can call for you?" he asks with a look of concern.
That's when I finally realize it. I'm alone. There's no one left for me. The only one who was is gone. I have no one left.
I consider screaming again but I think better of it. They won't let me leave if I scream, and I need to get out of here.
When I leave, I know exactly where I'm going.
They explain that Edward suffered from sudden cardiac death due to a hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. It's a hereditary thing and when the doctor asks about his family history I remember that his father died young of a heart attack. The doctor explains that he went peacefully, probably not feeling anything. I don't ask the question that's burning at me. Could this have been prevented? It doesn't matter. What's done is done and I have a plan now.
It takes forever for the hospital to let me go, but finally they release me, even arranging for a police officer to give me a ride home. This is useful, because the bridge is closer to home than the hospital.
I go to the house and scribble a note, taping it to the front door.
I won't be coming back. Donate everything to charity.
Then I walk out, taking one final look at the house we barely lived in. I feel oddly calm, but then again, I've done this before.
But I know this time I'll get it done. He's not here to stop me.
As I walk to toward the bridge I realize a cruel irony. I never really believed in heaven. Now I know I have to. I have to believe I'll see him again.
I reach the bridge – the same spot as last time – and step over the rail. My palms are sweating so I grip the rail harder. My breathing is shallow as I position myself, leaning forward and preparing to release. Tears are streaming down my face and I delay letting go, hoping he's coming to save me again.
But I know he's not.
I take one final deep breath and look straight ahead.
"Edward, I'm coming," I whisper.
I close my eyes and let go.
He's waiting to catch me before I hit the water.
I don't feel a thing.
A/N: A huge thank you to Project Team Beta for getting this done in record time. I heartily recommend PTB for all of you beta needs.
I tried hard not to make the bridge scene seem like Titanic. I'm not sure I succeeded.
Please read the other stories entered in the contest. They are all amazing.