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A/N: Thank you to my beta SparklingWand and to my proofreaders Twimoments and melarimo. I love you guys more than I can say.
Sorry it has taken longer with this update, real life has to come first.
Thank you for all of your amazing reviews on the last chapter!
'Better than Me'
"Though our friendship will never die,
with each other our love does not lie.
You and I were never meant to be…
No, for you ~ he has always been better than me.
I step aside now and pave the way,
to hopefully bring you a happier day.
Let his love guide you,
and mine unbind you.
Always know for you,
he has always been better than me."
Written by: DreamsOfEdward1
Chapter Eight (Better Than Me)
"Alice, pick up the damn phone!" I screamed into my cell phone. I sat in the back of the cab growing more agitated by the minute.
"Can you fucking speed it up, please?" I asked the cabbie, now frantic.
"I'm going as fast as this damn cab will go already. Give me a break!" he fucking screamed at me.
I had been trying to call Alice since I left the hotel in Seattle this morning, and she hadn't picked up. I was fucking worried sick that something had happened.
She wasn't herself last night when I spoke to her. I knew then there was something wrong with her, but shrugged it off for my own selfishness. A good husband would have fucking come home right away to make sure she was okay. No, a good goddamn husband would've never left her to begin with.
My brother wasn't picking up his cell either. Where the fuck is he? Not at work obviously, because I've called there a dozen times looking for him.
It just wasn't like either one of them not to answer their fucking phones.
Jesus Christ, how long does it fucking take to get five miles in Forks? I thought to myself as we crossed town towards my home.
It had taken almost an hour to reach Forks from the airport in Port Angeles. It was the longest hour of my life, and these last few minutes were going drive me insane.
Wouldn't it be my fucked up luck to leave town on her, only to have her pass while I was gone?
ARGH! How could I even think about my fucking luck, when Alice might be lying dead at home.
I'm such an asshole.
I fucking bailed on her at the worst possible time, and for what? So I could sit in a hotel room soul searching, a lot of fucking good that did me. I'm more depressed now than I was when I left.
I couldn't believe I hadn't heard from Jazz. He was supposed to check on her and make sure she was okay while I was gone. I hadn't heard a damn word from him, and again I felt like a complete dick because she wasn't his wife, she was mine. She was my responsibility.
I knew damn well that if Jazz could have had her the way I did, he would have never have left her in someone else's care. No, not my brother. He wouldn't have run off to be alone like a scared little dog licking his wounds. He would have loved her, cherished her, adored her, and all I've ever done was bring her heartache. She deserved so much more.
As the cab approached the curb in front of my home, my heart flew into my throat. I nearly jumped out before it came to a stop, when I realized Jasper's car was parked in my driveway.
Fuck! Something terrible has happened. I can feel it. Why else would he be here this early in the morning?
I quickly paid the driver, my thoughts spinning out of control as I sprinted for my front door.
I nearly pulled the door off the hinges getting in the house. I was so afraid now. I briefly scanned the living room off to my right and nothing! Where could they be, damn it? The bedroom immediately came to mind. Maybe Jazz had called to check on her too and she didn't answer… and in his panic came straight here without contacting me.
I made my way down the hall toward our room as fast as I could. It briefly crossed my mind there wasn't a sound coming from the bedroom. "Odd," I thought, as I flung the door open to our room, terrified at what I would find there.
When I entered the room, what I did see nearly brought me to my knees for many different reasons. A flood of emotions engulfed my mind and my heart at that moment. I felt like the wind had been knocked out of me. I had so many thoughts running through my head, some you may not imagine a man would have when he walks in on his wife laying naked in his brother's arms in his bed.
They were still asleep. I hadn't woken them entering the room. I was stunned, and to be honest didn't know what my exact reaction should be. I mean the man in me wanted to rip my fucking brother's head off for fucking my wife. I felt betrayed by him, but the brother in me wanted to congratulate him for finally manning up and showing Alice how he felt. I knew that wasn't a normal reaction to have in this circumstance, but this was not a normal situation. I had never been what Alice needed, never been the husband she deserved, I've always known that.
I backed out of the room still in shock. I returned to the living room, sat down on the couch trying to come to grips with what I should do in this moment. Should I stay and confront them, should I go and let them have their moment? Let's be honest, I knew Alice didn't have much time left… no, I knew they didn't have much time left to make up for a lifetime of love held back.
Could I really destroy that for them? Let's face it, how hypocritical of me would it be to run in there like a crazed husband when the whole time, in the back of my mind, I fucking wished that was me with my Bella? No, I couldn't do it to them. That wasn't me. I loved Alice and my brother. I knew deep in my heart what this moment must feel like for them. I've imagined my moment with Bella a million times and had I ever gotten it, it would have been the most incredible moment of my life. I couldn't take that from them, not now.
As I was sitting there debating on bolting from the house, I heard the bedroom door open, and looked up to see my little Alice standing there in front of me. Her beautiful smile turned to tears instantly at the sight of me. She must have realized what I walked in on. I'm sure it was written all over my face I'm sure.
"Edward," she gasped.
"Alice, don't," I quickly halted her. I needed to make it clear to her that she didn't need to feel guilty for this. She deserved her happiness, they both did. I was so fucking tired of living a lie.
She took my abruptness the wrong way. My heart crumbled when she whispered, "I'm so sorry." She sat down beside me and took my hand in hers. "I never meant for this to happen. I need you to know that," she choked out.
I took her in my arms reached down and lifted her chin up with my finger, forcing her to look at me. Her eyes were filled with so much remorse. "Alice, listen to me please," I pleaded. Her tears flowed down her checks, and I gently kissed them away. "I need you to understand that I'm not upset with you. Fate is correcting its fatal error. You and Jasper were meant to be all along. I only stood in the way of that and I realize that now.
"We both know, sweetheart, that this, our marriage, was never the right path for us. I also need you to know, that I don't fucking regret one minute of it. You're my best friend, Ali, and I love you, but, what you and Jasper share is a love that only comes along once in a lifetime. I know this better than anyone, because I had that love and lost it. I now have to live with the fact that I'll never it get it back, but you and Jasper have a chance at it. How could I ever stand in the way of that?"
The tears were now falling down my face. All of the feelings I've buried so deep from the loss of Bella in my life were starting to surface. I missed her so fucking much. It had been twelve years since I last looked upon her beautiful face, but I remembered every inch of it. That smile that lit up her face every time she saw me, the way her cheeks blushed that beautiful shade of red when we touched. Those precious lips that I fucking wished so much I could kiss away all the pain I had caused her. I remembered it all.
Alice looked up at me in that moment and took my face in her little hands. "Listen to me, E. You'll have your happiness. You have to believe that. You can't give up on that!"
"No, Al, I won't. I don't deserve it, not like you. I have caused too much pain in my life, to so many people. I have left a path of destruction throughout my life that can't be repaired. It's too late for me, but not for you and Jasper, and I won't be responsible for destroying that for you."
"You just don't get it, do you?" she cried. "Edward, you are the most selfless person I know. You have given up so much for everyone else, most of all your own happiness.
"Your whole life you've spent in pain because of the choices you had to make at such a young age. How do I get through to you that none of that then or now was your fault? It's a part of who you are. Part of what makes me love you, and the biggest part that kept Bella from your grasp. If only you had opened up to her, but instead you refused to share your pain with her."
"No," I said. "I was never good enough for her. She would have never understood what I had done to my own father. If I had shared that with her, she would have surely left me way before she did."
I couldn't even say her name anymore, this was all just too fucking much to handle.
"You don't give her enough credit, E, you never did. She was a strong young woman then and still is now. She would have accepted you just the way you are, and still would today if you just opened up to her."
"Alice, what the hell do you mean, she still would today? Do you know where she is? Have you spoken to her?" I felt my heart constrict as I awaited her answer.
Just as she began to speak, the bedroom door opened once again, and out walked Jasper. Although he too had guilt written all over his face, he seemed to be prepared to do battle with me if necessary over Alice. Little did he know, he had won that battle long ago.
"Edward, I'm sorry," he said.
I looked to Alice and asked her if she could give me and my brother the time alone we so definitely needed in this moment. She obliged, kissing me on the cheek once more before departing for the bedroom.
Jazz walked over and sat in the chair facing me. He looked angrier than I felt. He was definitely on the defensive, and I really couldn't blame him.
"Jasper, I just have one question for you," I whispered, fighting the tears back.
"What?" he asked.
"Why didn't you ever tell me about your feelings for Alice?" The shock on his face told me everything. I knew he thought he hid his feelings from me all this time. While I was an imbecile to ignore them, he had to know that I was always aware of his love for my wife.
"Look, don't even answer that. It doesn't matter anymore. I just need you to know this. I love you, you're my brother and I'm sorry."
"You're sorry?" he asked with a puzzled look on his face.
"Yes, Jazz, because if I were good brother, I would have seen how much she has meant to you all along. There were signs, but I was too caught up in my own bullshit to ever see them clearly. I need you to know that if I had, I never would have married her. It wasn't until after you got upset with me for marrying her that I realized your feelings, but I couldn't undo what I had already done. I'm so sorry, Bro."
"You're not angry with me?" he asked, appearing shocked.
"I wanted to be, Jasper. And for a brief second I was when I first walked in on the two of you. I wanted to kill you. I quickly realized that wouldn't accomplish anything. I love her, Jazz, you know that, but I have never been what she needs. I couldn't be. My heart has always belonged to someone else."
"Bella," he murmured.
I ran my fingers through my hair tugging at it hard.
I had never spoken to him about Bella, not since she walked out of my life. How could he so quickly come to that conclusion?
"How could you know that?"
"Edward, do you think I'm stupid? Do you think Alice is? That any of us are for that matter? It's been clear since the day you met Bella, that she was your other half. It was even clearer the day she walked away from you, how much she meant to you. God, E, you almost killed yourself over her, have you forgotten that?
"I've always known she was the one for you. That's why it hurt so much when you married Alice. Not just because she was the love of my life and I couldn't even admit that to you, but because I saw my little brother making the same mistakes I was in life. Instead of going after what you really wanted in life, you settled, Edward. Just like me and it fucking killed me to watch that."
I was stunned at his words. I had always felt so close to my brother, closer to him than anyone in my life, yet I felt I was just meeting him for the first time today. He'd never revealed any of these emotions to me before, always silent, always stronger than me at controlling his feelings. I had always been the one to act out, seeking out the worse things in life to pacify my self-hatred.
I had always looked up to him for handling things so much better than me, but it was becoming clear that Jasper never handled anything. He had just kept it all bottled inside, never revealing any of it to anyone.
"Don't you see, Edward, I sat back and watched you making those same mistakes with only myself to blame. Had I been there that night with mom and dad, I promise you, little brother, you would have never had to make the choice you made then. I've always known that and lived with the guilt of it all this time. I should have been there to protect you, and I wasn't. I have only myself to blame for all of the shit you have put yourself through."
Now he too was tugging at his hair and tears were starting to fall from his eyes. "I'm so sorry. I should have been there," he cried. "It was my job to protect you and I failed you. I've always failed you."
"No!" I cried, "You're wrong, Jasper, you've never failed me. In fact you've been the only constant in my life." Tears were once again streaming down my cheeks.
"I have never blamed you for what happened that night. It was all on me, you had nothing to do with it. I lost control that night, just like our own father did so many times. I couldn't help myself. I just couldn't let him hurt her anymore, but in that instant when I pulled that fucking trigger I became him. You see, Jasper, that is why I've always looked up to you. You may look like him, but you are nothing like him. I hate myself because I am him. My entire life has been filled with wrong decisions, broken hearts, and so much bullshit. I destroy everything I touch, just like he did."
"Do you honestly believe that crap?" he growled. "Is this what you have been thinking all these years… that just because you made the decision that night to save our mother's life, it somehow turned you into him? Jesus Christ, Edward, you couldn't be farther from the truth. You are nothing like him.
"Do you honestly think that he would have ever put himself on the line the way you did at thirteen years old? Do you think he would have ever risked everything to do something like that? The answer is NO. That man never gave a shit about anything, not even himself. You have spent your entire life taking care of others. You're a doctor for Christ's sake! He was nothing more than a piece of shit, and the fact that you are comparing yourself to that monster makes me sick."
"Jasper, why else would mom have left us? Why would she have just walked away from her children, if she didn't believe I was a monster just like him?"
Jasper got up, walked over and sat beside me on the couch. He looked me in the eyes and said, "I'm only going to say this once, E, so you'd better grasp it no matter how difficult it may seem for you. Our mom, she wasn't perfect.
"I know that thirteen year old boy trapped inside of you may find that hard to believe, but she was fucked up, Edward. Maybe not always, but he did that to her. Her abandoning us had nothing to do with you, it was all her. She couldn't face the reality that was her life. Which is why, in the end she took the easy way out with a bunch of pills. That was never your fault, you know that, right? Please tell me you don't blame yourself for her suicide too."
Of course I did, was he nuts?
"Jazz, how could I not blame myself for that? Fuck, if I hadn't done what I did that night-"
He cut me off, "Shut the fuck up. Do you really think, little brother, that if you hadn't done what you did that night, she would have been alive long enough to make the decision to commit suicide? You and I both know he would have killed her and maybe even us, long before that.
"Look, E, truth is we have both spent our entire lives blaming ourselves in our own ways for every fucked up thing in our lives. In reality, we clearly never had any control over any of that shit. I don't know why I have never seen it before now, but I do now and you need to learn the truth too. If you don't, I'm afraid of the path that road will lead you on, and I want better than that for my little brother.
"I want you to be happy, I want you to feel what I feel when I'm with Alice. She makes all that other shit so pointless now. I'm really so sorry that I did this to you behind your back… but I don't regret it, and I won't ever apologize for finally taking my chance with her. We don't know how much time she has left, E, and I've already wasted so much time with her."
I couldn't take much more of this. I couldn't grasp what my brother was telling me. How was I supposed to, after all this time, just magically stop blaming myself for everything. I couldn't fucking do it.
As for him and Alice, well, I'm happy for them that they have finally found each other. However, I'm also angry, fucking furious, that I will never have that happiness again in my life. That the one chance I had with my beautiful angel all those years ago was fucked away with Jessica Stanley, and I can never change that. A drug induced haze, a moment of stupidity, and I sold my soul to the devil.
"I have to get out of here, Jazz, I can't do this anymore right now. Look, I am glad you finally manned up and told Alice how you feel, and there is a lot of shit here that still needs to be worked out. I mean she is still my wife and all, but this, along with our trip down memory lane with mom and dad is just about to send me over the edge. I mean I'm really glad that one night of passion for you with my wife could clarify our entire life for you, but it will never be that clear cut to me.
"I won't ever find my happiness again, " I said as I stood, "because right now my happiness… she's somewhere else, in someone else's arms. So I won't ever know what could have been with me and Bella, because she will never give me that chance again."
I made my way to the front door just as Alice was exiting the bedroom. "Edward," she said, "please don't go. We still have so much to talk about."
"Alice, I need to go, trust me. You don't want me here right now." I leaned over, kissed her on her forehead, lingered there for a moment, and then moved to the front door of my home. I guess it wasn't my home any longer I thought. I opened the front door and stepped out right into the arms of the very angel I never dreamed I would lay eyes on again…