A/N: Last Wednesday, I was sitting at Starbucks and I heard the heartbreaking news that Davy Jones of The Monkees had passed away, and I was crushed. I was one of those kids that grew up watching the reruns of their show on Nickelodeon and VH1, and like the girls of the sixties, Davy was always my favorite and one of my first British celebrity crushes. So the news that he was gone was both a shock and very sad. I've spent the last week listening to their music and watching the DVDs I have of the show, and reliving some of the best memories of my childhood.
So when I woke up this morning and saw that the prompt for today was one of my favorite Monkees songs, Daydream Believer, I felt compelled to try and write something for it today. No idea where this came from in my head, since I don't really think anyone could necessarily correlate it with the song without knowing the prompt, but my brain works in weird ways, as many of you know. Hope you all enjoy.
Creative Original or Derivative Fiction: Derivative
Disclaimer: All copyrighted, trademarked items, or recognizable characters, plots, etc. mentioned herein belong to their respective owners. No copying or reproduction of this work is permitted without their express written authorization.
Prompt: Audio-Visual Challenge—Musical Mastery: "Daydream Believer" by The Monkees. http : / www . youtube . com / watch?v=okQe_lmM8OI
Listen to the sample, then write whatever comes to you first.
Here I am, sitting on the beach and staring out at the waves washing up over the sand before slowly receding again. It's peaceful and tranquil, and as two soft hands come to rest on my bare shoulders, I close my eyes and relish in the feel.
"Hello, gorgeous," her soft voice rings in my ear and her lips brush against my cheek.
"You've come back," I reply and bring my hand to cover hers, holding it securely.
"Did you really think I could stay away? I love you so much, Edward. Can you ever forgive me?" she asks and her free hand strokes along my jaw.
I turn my face toward her and kiss the lips I have missed so much. "There's nothing to forgive, Bella. I love you, too. It's always been you."
We stand slowly, our arms wrapping tightly around each other as we make out way back to the house and the bedroom we used to share. I reach over to my bedside table and switch off the alarm before pulling her back into my embrace.
"Edward, what are you doing? Don't you have to work in the morning?" she asks as her arms link around my neck.
I shake my head and kiss her forehead, her cheeks, the tip of her nose, and finally, her lips. "I own the place. And even if I lost it, I could always start over. But this moment will never come again."
Suddenly, the alarm starts buzzing relentlessly and I grip her tightly, reaching back to fumble with the switch again.
"Edward, you have to get up."
"No, I can't. I won't let you go again," I reply, pinching my eyes closed.
"You have to. Wake up, Edward…"
"No, not again," I mumbled as I hesitantly opened my eyes, staring at the tiles of my ceiling instead of the chocolate eyes in my dream. I cursed under my breath and slammed my hand down on the snooze button to cease the grating buzz in my ear from beside my head.
Dreams and memories had been plaguing my mind for weeks, and I couldn't seem to make them stop, despite how they'd tortured me. I knew I should forget her and move on—it had been five years. I shouldn't have still loved her as much as I did. I should be hurt and angry and wanting someone who I wouldn't be second best to. A woman who wouldn't say no to my proposal of marriage and pack her things, leaving me behind to chase her dreams in New York.
But for some reason, I couldn't. I just couldn't seem to move past how much I still loved, wanted and needed her after five long years.
What I had imagined for myself at thirty years old was definitely not the life I was leading. I'd always thought by that point I would have my own business, and be married with a couple of kids. Building sandcastles on the beach with my family and teaching my children how to swim and surf like their dad. Walking along the beach with the love of my life as the sun set over the water; my arm around her as she wrapped the huge red sweater that still hung on the back of the bedroom door around her slender body. A little brown-haired girl climbing between her mom and dad in bed in the middle of the night, until her brother got jealous and joined them all as well.
Of all those things, I only had one—my business. It was something I had dreamt of doing since I was a little boy, when my Uncle Carlisle and Aunt Esme had come to California for me after my parents died in a plane crash. They were amazing people and took me in, adopting me when I was nine and raising me as if I were their own son. But they lived in Washington, so I vowed that one day, I would return to California and open up a seafood restaurant. One that, if you were eating it that afternoon, it was swimming in the ocean that morning. Not frozen or processed—real seafood. Despite my young age, I had determination on my side and it began slowly, but surely, thriving.
It was there that I'd first met Bella. When I was stepping out back one evening to toss several trash bags into the dumpster, a petite, shivering form huddled beside it caught my attention. She was painfully thin and pale, and with nowhere to go. I took her into the kitchen and made her some dinner, and it nearly broke my heart to watch how eagerly she consumed it, as if it was her first and last meal for quite some time. After that night, despite everyone around me thinking that I was completely insane, I opened my home up to her and gave her a job as a waitress.
As I got to know her, little details of her past started to slip into conversation and I couldn't regret what I'd done for her. She was so bright and had once held so much promise, before her world was turned upside down. She'd been a junior in high school in a prominent Southern California neighborhood, daughter of a decorated police officer, excellent grades, and popular, as well. Until her father was shot and killed on duty and she was sent to live with her mother in Arizona, who'd never wanted her in the first place. She'd spent a year being neglected by her mother and suffered the abuse from the alcoholic boyfriend living with them, until three months shy of graduation, she couldn't take it anymore and ran away. The money that had been meant to support her until she came into her trust fund at the age of twenty-one had been blown in the first three months of her living in Arizona, and she'd been left with nothing.
I never meant to fall for her; I was just trying to help her out by giving her a place to stay and a means to support herself. That all changed the night of her nineteenth birthday. After an evening of celebration and talking, she kissed me and we woke the following morning beside each other in my bed. And for the two years following that, we never spent a night apart again. And I was happy; so unbelievably happy.
As her twenty-first birthday approached, I was certain that I knew exactly what I wanted—my dream to come to fruition completely. I already had my business; I wanted a family. And I had planned to take her out to a romantic dinner, just the two of us, where I would propose and ask her to spend the rest of her life with me. Imagine my surprise when the tears that came to her eyes were not the ones I was expecting. She said no and told me that she was going to be leaving, heading for New York to chase her dream of becoming a published author. And by the next afternoon, she was gone.
After a few months, the infrequent emails and phone calls dwindled to nothing, and I tried to go on with my life anyway. Over the last few years, I'd even attempted dating again, but it never went anywhere. No matter who they were or what they looked like, nothing ever amounted to what I'd felt with Bella.
However, I knew that I couldn't keep living in the past, but it seemed so impossible to move on. I walked to the bathroom to start my day, and my thoughts remained on the dream I had never wanted to wake from as the cold blade of the razor ran along my jaw. Even the sharp sting of the nick from the blade on my skin was not enough to distract me. The entire day dragged as I mindlessly trudged through the hours, wanting nothing more than to go back home and return to bed, losing myself in another dream.
And that was exactly what I'd intended to do when I took my time walking along the beach toward home that evening after work, ignoring everything around me. A shuddering breath caught my attention as I reached the front steps of the house around dusk and I looked up, feeling certain that I was in one of those dreams again.
There she sat on the steps, just as I remembered her, wrapped in that damn red sweater. I'd never changed the locks, and she obviously still had the key—she'd been inside that house. Walking the halls, standing in the bedroom.
If this is a dream, please don't let me wake up this time. Let us stay right here, just like this.
"Hi, Edward," she broke the silence and I just continued to stare at her. She fidgeted nervously and then stood from the stairs, but I was frozen in my spot. "I know it's been a very long time, and you might not want to see me again. But I haven't stopped thinking about you at all for weeks now, and honestly, it scared me. I was afraid something had happened to you, and I had to come back home. I needed to see for myself that you were okay."
I took that moment to really look at her, noting the circles beneath her eyes, appearing as if she hadn't slept in weeks. The tears that were streaming down her cheeks, and her lip that seemed to be scraped raw by her teeth. She looked exactly as she had the last time I saw her; not the woman that had been haunting my dreams.
"So, are you? Okay, that is?" she asked softly.
"Sure. I'm fine," I replied with a nod, and moved to step past her but she stepped in front of me. I drew in a deep breath with my eyes averted from her—it was too painful to look at her as well as feel her presence there with me. "Bella, what more do you want from me? You haven't spoken to me in over four years. And now you suddenly show up, and I'm sorry if I don't know exactly what to say or do when it comes to you."
"I'm sorry, Edward. I didn't want to hurt you."
"Then why did you?" I asked, finally looking to her and finally finding the anger that had been buried deep inside me for five long years. That hadn't been part of the dreams, either. "And why did you come back? You finally got your book deal, you're living it up out there in New York. Why does it mean a damn thing to you how I'm doing out here now, when it didn't five years ago?"
"Of course, it means something to me. My leaving didn't mean I stopped loving you, or that I ever have. I was scared, Edward. Scared of coming into all that money, and not knowing exactly who I could trust. Scared of settling down so young and never having the chance to follow a dream I'd had since I was a kid. But I knew you'd never come with me. You had your life and your restaurant, that was your dream. I couldn't ask you to sacrifice that."
Almost all of that, I understood…save for one. "You didn't think you could trust me? Bella, I never asked anything of you, and I never would. Except to stay with me. You didn't have a penny to your name when I first met you, did you really think that money was going to change anything? I loved you so fucking much. All I wanted was you."
"Loved?" Bella asked with a creased brow, hugging her arms more tightly around her.
"You walked away, Bella. I had nothing left to hold onto," I replied, feeling as if a knife were driving into my heart at the pained look on her face.
Bella nodded and took two steps back from where I had come to stand on the stairs. "I understand. But you are okay?"
"Yes, Bella. I'm fine."
"All right. That's all I wanted to know. It was good seeing you."
I turned to head into the house, hearing the shifting sand beneath her feet as she began to walk away, and froze with my hand on the screen door. "Bella!"
Her footsteps stopped but I still couldn't look at her, gripping the edge of the door tightly with my hand, to the point I thought it would splinter. "Yeah?"
"I'm not fine. I'm not fucking fine. I haven't been fine for five fucking years," I groaned and finally released my hold and turned to face her. "I'm not."
Bella's chin trembled as she began walking toward me and I descended the stairs again, until she was back in my arms with her lips pressed firmly to mine until we couldn't breathe. "The book deal doesn't mean shit without you. I'm sorry. Please forgive me."
"My heart already has. Just give my head a while to catch up," I replied, sealing her mouth again with mine.
Thank you, Davy, for continuing to inspire me and giving me motivation today. You are already sorely missed.