Disclaimer: All recognisable stuff belongs to Stephenie. I just like hurting her characters. Original plot is mine.
Summary: When he suffers the worst kind of heartbreak, Edward returns home, resigning himself to a lifetime of loneliness. But he had not counted on old friendships and old crushes. Edward is torn between old love and new.... Slash, AH.
A/N: My first chapter fanfic! This baby is already complete, so RL and HD fail notwithstanding, chapters should be coming out fairly regular like. I'm thinking weekly, perhaps a little faster. 12 chapters total, so you know what you're in for. Tissue and slash warnings.
Thanks: To tjbaby, my partner in crime (well, that would be cool, even if it's not quite accurate. We need a workable mindmeld), to venis-envy, my personal angst-gauge (I'm very sorry), to kuroiBlackNightingale, beta-extraordinaire, and to VanPireNZ, for allowing me to rock her hand-knit socks and for fixing my kitchen benches.
The phone was ringing. I tried to fight the slumber that hung heavy over me, hoping Alec would answer it. I nudged toward him with my knee. It didn't connect. The phone was still ringing. I reached out with my arm. "Baby, the phone," I said thickly. My hand met cool sheets. He wasn't there.
The knowledge drew me a little more awake. It couldn't be very late if he wasn't home yet.
The phone was still ringing.
I groaned, shifting over to his side of the bed so I could reach the phone on his dresser. I fumbled with the handset in the dark, finally lifting it to my ear. "Mmm?" I answered sleepily, and as I did I noticed the display on his alarm clock.
Where was he?
The voice on the other end of the phone was frantic, disjointed. "Jane? Slow down. I just woke up for god's sake."
I finally understood what she was trying to tell me.
My whole world collapsed.
I slid my credit card over the counter towards the clerk and studied my fingernails as I waited for him to process my card. When he slid it back, I grabbed the cigarettes and the card in one hand and headed for the door, my eyes downcast. The last thing I expected was to crash headlong into someone coming in.
"Sorry," I mumbled, pushing past and out the door.
"Edward?" The deep but youthful voice came from behind me. "Edward Cullen?"
I lifted my eyes for the first time since I entered the store as I turned, and found myself looking into a pair of large dark eyes framed by long lashes. They seemed strangely familiar. I studied the rest of the man who stood before me. He was as tall as I was, and well built with dark russet skin that told me he was probably from the Quileute reservation on the coast. I'd spent some time out there before I left Forks for college and so I searched his face, hoping for recognition. "Bloody hell," I breathed when it hit me. "Seth Clearwater?"
He smiled broadly and nodded. He seemed overjoyed that I remembered him. I felt a little guilty that it had taken me so long to recognise him. "Seth, Jesus. Umm... you grew." Stupidest comment ever, but my brain didn't seem quite connected. I hadn't seen him since I had moved away from Forks, almost six years ago. He'd been a little kid then, still grieving his father's death. I cringed at the memory; overlaid by my own loss it was too much to deal with. "Sorry Seth, I have to..." I gestured towards the rental car parked only feet away.
"Sure, man. Hey it's good to see you again. Saw your dad the other day, he didn't mention you were visiting."
I gave him a tight forced smile and turned away. "They don't know I'm coming," I muttered.
I guided the steering wheel with one hand, tearing into the cigarette packet with my teeth as I drove away. By the time I lit my cigarette, I'd already forgotten about Seth Clearwater.
It would have been nice not to have to say anything when I got home, but I hadn't thought about what I should say. It would have been nice just to be home and maybe finally get some sleep, to be able to forget for a time. But it wasn't likely. I hadn't called my family, I hadn't even emailed. They didn't know. I'd left my cellphone in our flat back in London because I'd stopped answering it anyway. I didn't want to talk to anyone. I just wanted to go home and sleep.
The engine purred to a stop in the driveway. I lit another cigarette and tried not to think of the last time I was here, the last time we were here. It was Christmas. Alice and Jasper had been here; Emmett and Rose and the kids; Mom and Dad; and us and laughter and family and happiness.
It was never going to happen again.
All I'd brought with me was a battered gym bag. I flicked the butt out the window, grabbed the bag off the back seat and headed for the front door, dragging my feet.
I knocked before I turned the handle. It was unlocked and swung inwards silently as I stepped over the threshold and dumped my bag. There were sounds of chairs scraping across wooden floors and hurried voices coming from the kitchen but I couldn't find the energy to announce myself or even raise my eyes. I didn't want to have to tell them, Mom and Dad, what had happened. I just waited for them to find me.
But it wasn't Mom or Dad who found me first. I was suddenly hit, enveloped in the tiny arms of my sister. "Edward, I'm so sorry," she murmured against my chest and I cringed. Why did everyone keep apologising to me?
I looked down into her tear-streaked face. "Alice? What are you... how did you..?" I looked up to see my parents, grief on their faces, pity, tears streaming down my mother's cheeks. Jasper was there too, his expression one of deep concern.
Dad spoke first. "Jane called," he said, "I'm so sorry, son."
I squeezed my eyes shut against the pain, against the grief that threatened to break out of me, shattering me into a million pieces. I didn't open them, but clung to Alice as if my life depended on her, and accepted my mother's arms when they joined us.
"I'll call Jane, let her know that you're here. That you're safe." Dad murmured, and I heard his quiet footsteps leave the room. I think Jasper followed.
Mom pulled away, and I felt her warm hands on my forehead, pushing my hair back, stroking my head comfortingly. "We were so worried," she whispered. "You should have called us, we would have been there..."
Alice murmured her agreement, squeezing me tighter around the waist, and then she too pulled away. I opened my eyes as she took my face in her hands. "You're an idiot, Edward, you know that? Why didn't you call us? We would have wanted to be there. We could have been there for you."
I nodded weakly in acknowledgement, knowing that she was right, but also knowing that it didn't change a thing. "Mom? I just wanna sleep," I said, speaking for the first time.
"Why don't you take Emmett's room?" Alice suggested, knowing me so well, knowing that I wouldn't want to be in the room I usually took, the room we had used, the bed where we had made love.
There was no 'we' anymore.
I kissed him, swallowing his gasps and moans as I drove him closer and closer toward his release. He began to whimper, his legs tightening around my waist, his body tensing around me, and I pulled back to look into his eyes, wide and fevered, and whispered: "Come for me, baby," and he did, exploding onto our stomachs, clenching around my cock and crying my name. I thrust into him, once, twice more and then I followed, filling him with my passion. "I love you, Alec," I breathed into his ear.
I still reached out when I woke. It was too soon, too recent, and I could smell him, I could feel him lying next to me. But he wasn't there, and the realisation jolted me fully awake. I was hard, because I'd been dreaming about him. I rolled onto my back, ignoring my erection and let the tears come.
Because now I was alone.
I had no idea how long I'd slept or what time it was, but it was dark. I couldn't go back to sleep, so I got up and took a cold shower in the adjoining bathroom.
Someone had brought my bag up, and I pulled on the faded jeans and worn sweater that were the only other clothes I had brought with me. The first things at hand when I'd shoved a few things into the first bag I'd found, just wanting to get out of the flat, away from the truth—that I'd just buried the love of my life.
I stuffed the clothes I'd been wearing into the bag and zipped it closed. Black pants, black shirt, funeral clothes. The clothes I'd worn all that day, and the long hours waiting at Heathrow for the first available flight. I'd worn the same clothes on the plane to Seattle, and on the four hour drive to Forks. I didn't want to see them again.
My stomach growled, reminding me that I hadn't eaten since the flight, so I ventured down stairs, grateful that it was night and I wouldn't have to face anyone yet.
But light came from the open door of my father's office. I paused. I knew he would leave me alone if that was what I wanted, but I owed it to him—after turning up like I had—to at least say hello, or goodnight, or good morning, or whatever it was.
I glanced up at the wall clock when I stepped silently through the doorway. Five AM. He must be doing an early shift. "Hey," I said to get his attention.
He turned, the look of surprise on his face shifting into a gentle smile. "Edward. Son. How did you sleep?"
I shrugged. I dreamed about him, about making love to him. "Okay, I guess. So..." I ground my teeth together. "Jane? She told you... everything?" Please let her have told them everything, I don't think I can bear to go through it again.
"She was worried about you. She told us that you'd disappeared immediately after the funeral—" He stopped abruptly, probably because I had screwed my eyes shut tightly in an effort to control the grief that threatened to spill out. I backed up to the wall, slid down to the floor and wrapped my arms around my knees. I took deep breaths. He was gone. Really gone. I'd put him in the ground and I'd never hold him again, or kiss him, or tell him I loved him...
"She said it was an overdose," Dad said quietly.
"Ecstasy," I whispered, my lips curling into a sneer. "Of all the fucking stupid..." I could still barely believe it.
"Were you with him when it happened, Edward?"
I looked up at my father sharply. Jane, just as heartbroken as I was had only imparted the barest facts to my parents... and I would have to fill in the blanks. "I should have been with him. I was tired, I didn't want to go out. If I'd been there..."
It all came crashing down on me again, and I couldn't stand that Dad was looking at me like that, his face full of pity when I could have prevented all of it. And then I got angry, because we'd agreed that he wouldn't do it without me there... "Sorry," I muttered as I pushed myself to my feet and bolted for the front door.
I'd just lit my third cigarette when he came out, the leather satchel he'd taken with him to work every day since I could remember in his hand. He sat down beside me on the step. "You're smoking again," he observed.
I shrugged. "It's been a rough week."
"Any time you're ready to talk, son, I'll be here."
I nodded. I'd always been able to talk to my parents, but Dad was probably the best choice now... if I ever reached the point where I wanted to talk. He understood grief. Doctors were supposed to keep their distance, remain aloof—they had to, they dealt with death every day. But not Carlisle Cullen. He had a unique compassion and felt every loss of life keenly, no matter how it had come about. It was why he became a doctor, he'd told us as we were growing up, so he could preserve it where he could. And unlike some doctors, who could come across cold and unfeeling to the bereaved, he shared their grief and went out of his way to help them through it. It was how we met the Clearwaters. Harry Clearwater had suffered a heart attack and died when Seth was ten and his sister Leah twelve. Dad had encouraged Alice and I to spend time with Sue's kids, to take them hiking and camping and to give Sue a break when she needed it. They were good kids, but losing a father was hard on them while they were so young.
I was reminded of my encounter the day before. "I bumped into Seth Clearwater yesterday," I said. It was a good excuse to take the focus away from my loss, because I wasn't ready to share it yet. "He's grown."
Dad chuckled softly. "Teenagers do that. He's eighteen now. He's a good kid."
"And Sue and Leah?" It felt good to concentrate on something else for a tiny moment, even small town gossip.
"Leah's in college. Sue married Charlie Swan a couple of years ago—remember I told you?"
I did remember that, vaguely, Dad telling me that Sue had had some trouble with the kids while I was away in college, and that they had settled down some after Sue had moved into town. "Right, yeah of course. Sorry, I..."
"It's okay, Edward, no one expected you to keep up with the local gossip, you were so far away."
I'd been in England for close to two years. I didn't think I'd ever be able to go back. London would forever be tied up with him.
I wanted to distract myself. "So, umm, Seth's at Forks High now?"
Dad nodded. "He's about to graduate. Now I should really get going. Are you okay?"
"Yeah." I wasn't, really, but there was nothing my father could do that would change that. "Go."
I looked closely at the photo on the card and then up to the face that leaned over the bar towards me, a wide smile showing straight white teeth. I looked down again, and then up into the big, innocent blue eyes. I studied him carefully, but I was already satisfied that the licence was legit, now I was taking the opportunity to check him out properly.
He started laughing. "See anything you like, love?" he asked, and my cock twitched at his London accent, his face, the cheekiness of him.
I blushed, embarrassed at being caught out, but I refused to get all stammery and stupid over this cute kid, so I put on my sternest expression. "You don't look twenty," I said, pointing at the date on the card in my hand. "Now if this said eighteen I might believe it, but twenty's a stretch. Come on, this isn't your I.D. is it?"
His lips parted, his eyes opened wide, and then he pulled his lower lip between his teeth and bit down as a gentle flush coloured his pale skin. "Wow," he breathed. "Say something else."
If you read it, and liked it, please review. I know, I'm a h00r, but reviews make me dance around the house all happy and shit ;)