This was my entry for the Love Lost contest. Hope you like it!
Disclaimer I don't own the characters from Twilight. The honor goes to Stephanie Meyer. I also don't own anything from the song, Half of My Heart, where this story drew its inspiration. That honor goes to the douchebag John Mayer. Damn him for being so pretty and poetic with words.
Edward Cullen was a damaged man. As he sat at the bar, downing one shot of whiskey after another, he realized that he wasn't the only one damaged. With his inability to fully give his heart to the one person who had shown him what love could bring, he had damaged Bella Swan.
It was one forty-five on a Saturday afternoon. All of their family and friends had gathered at the church on Main Street to watch the two souls join their lives and become one. Edward sat at the bar, drinking away his loneliness, unbeknownst to everyone else. Bella, on the other hand, patiently waited at the back of the church with her two best friends and her father. Nerves and excitement rushed through her veins as the time drew nearer. Fear never presented itself.
Alice and Rosalie, her bridesmaids and after today her sisters in every form of the word, each kissed Bella on the cheek before the processional music began. Bella smiled and told both girls she loved them. She did. She loved them with all of her heart.
Charlie squeezed his daughter's arm affectionately as Bella looped it through his. He was ready to walk his daughter down the aisle, to her future, her forever. He only wished her mother could be present to watch. She was a vision in Renee's wedding dress. The same dress worn when he had given his entire heart to the only woman he had ever loved.
Jasper Whitlock, Alice's husband, stood on the outside of the church frantically calling Edward's cell phone. It was five till two. He was nowhere to be found. He wasn't answering his phone either which pissed Jasper off. He was supposed to be here. Why wasn't he here?
Jasper paced and tried like hell to channel some sort of energy to whereever Edward was, willing him to pick up the damn phone. After several failed attempts Jasper knew what had to be done. He knew of Edward's hesitance on the matter of love. He knew that he had felt like, eventually, his love for Bella would fall short. Later down the road, Edward feared that Bella would hate him for never being able to give her more. But, Bella's faith was strong. Jasper truly believed that it was her that had saved Edward from loving someone other than himself. It was clear to Jasper, as he took a deep breath before opening the back doors of the church, that Edward clearly couldn't love Bella with only half of his heart.
Even though he respected Edward for not leading Bella on, Jasper would never forgive him for having to be the one to tell her. A part of him hoped that Bella wouldn't forgive Edward either, but this was Bella. She never ceased to amaze him. He wouldn't doubt that she would move on and be happy with someone who could love her, with all of their heart.
Edward motioned for the bartender, signaling him for another round. He had turned his cell phone off after the countless phone calls Jasper had tried to make to him. For the moment, Jasper was the only one who was calling him. Edward knew that, for the time being, no one else was aware that he had not arrived at the church.
He honestly hated that Jasper was the one who was bequeathed the honor of breaking Bella's heart. Edward knew better. He was the only one responsible for that. He was the bastard who couldn't do it himself. Jasper was just the unfortunate soul in the line of fire.
Edward looked down at his watch. It was two, the time he and Bella had told everyone to be present so that they could say their vows, their promises of forever. He slung back the whiskey, letting the fire coat his throat into numbness. He imagined what his and Bella's life could have been like. She would have been happy. Even with only half of his heart, she would have been his. By not showing up at the church, he was telling her that half of his heart wouldn't do.
As the doors of the church opened, Bella turned wondering who would be showing up at the final hour. She knew there was no way it could be someone objecting to her nuptials. She had devoted all that she had to Edward. There were no other lovers.
When she saw Jasper, his pained expression evident on his face, she immediately thought the worst. Images of Edward hurt in an accident on his way to start their forever flashed through her mind. Jasper dropped his head and Bella felt like she had been punched in the gut. No, Edward hadn't been in an accident, he wasn't coming.
Bella's legs gave out from underneath her as she collapsed to the floor. Charlie damn near went down with her as he too was numb after the realization of what was happening dawned on him.
Alice and Rosalie were at Bella's side instantly. Alice looked to her husband for some sort of explanation but Jasper had none to offer. As far as he was concerned he took care of the hard part for Edward. Now, it was up to him to man up and account for his actions.
Between the sobbing, Bella couldn't make out what anyone around her was saying. She was too lost in her own emotions to care. Why? That was what she wanted to know. She had given him all of her heart. Why couldn't he have done the same?
Bella felt the loss of a set of arms wrapped around her body. Alice was still at her side when she took her hands away from her tear stained face. She surveyed the situation in front of her as best as she could through her blurry vision. She watched as Rosalie opened the doors that led to the sanctuary of the church.
Rosalie stomped with grace down the aisle until she reached her husband Emmett. Emmett stood on Edward's side, ready to stand up for his brother on what was supposed to be the happiest day of his life. He could tell from the angry expression on his wife's face, today was going to be anything but.
Rosalie stood close to Emmett, pulling his face to hers as she quietly explained what was going on. His body went rigid and anger flooded his emotions. When Rosalie was done relaying the past five minutes worth of events, she turned to the congregation. As she told all of Bella and Edward's family and friends that there would not be a wedding, only one thing flashed through her head. When she got her hands on Edward he was going to pay for breaking Bella's heart.
Edward had lost count of the shots of whiskey he had consumed. When his phone rang and Alice's number popped up, he asked the bartender for a double. Not that it would have made a difference at this point, but he felt he needed it all the same.
It was official. At two fourteen on the Saturday afternoon he was supposed to pledge all of his heart to Bella, he could only offer half. Everyone was now fully aware that there was to be no wedding.
Alice had tried to call a total of five times. When she realized that it was no use and there was no psychic way to will her dumbass brother to answer the phone, she escorted her grieving best friend to the bridal suite. Edward was her brother. Eventually he would have to face her wrath.
Rosalie and Emmett remained in the church, apologizing to the guests about the day's events. Edward's adopted parents, Esme and Carlisle were beyond disappointed. They felt as if they had failed him as parents, as guardians. They had never treated Edward as anything but their own. He was broken when they took him in at the tender age of fifteen but Esme was certain that she could crack him. She felt sure that she could make him see that there was love in this world. She wanted him to open up and feel that she and Carlisle loved him as much as they loved their own blood children.
Carlisle always knew that Edward felt isolated from the family. Coming in at such an impressionable age, he had done everything to make sure that Edward felt just as much as a Cullen as those born into the name. To him, he was never his adopted son. He had always been his son, blood or not. Today however, it was Carlisle that felt isolated from Edward. He couldn't help but feel that he had not done something right. He concluded he had to have gone wrong somewhere but he wasn't sure where. Edward would have to explain his behavior eventually. When he did, Carlisle made a silent vow to help him recover in any way he knew how. He was determined to make sure that he understood where his son was coming from.
When the last of the guests had left, Rosalie and Emmett joined Alice and Bella in the bridal suite. Emmett made arrangements for both his sister and his wife to accompany Bella on what was to be her honeymoon. No need for a good trip to go to waste, even if it wasn't what she had envisioned.
Esme and Carlisle went about their way to the reception site to notify the staff that no one would be showing up. It saddened them both to see Bella so upset. She had been like a daughter to them and they truly felt that she was Edward's saving grace.
Jasper watched as everyone scattered about. There was only one person he wanted to see and only once place he knew where to find him. Giving Alice a quick goodbye kiss and promising to see her before she left on her trip with the girls, he told her he had to take care of something. Alice hoped he knew where her coward brother was hiding. Had it not been for the fact that her best friend needed her more than she wanted to beat the hell out of her brother, she would have gone with him.
Edward's posture began to waver on the barstool he occupied. He had had one too many drinks for a sunny afternoon. He should have been drunk on love. Instead, he was drunk off of cheap whiskey.
The door of the bar opened and the bright light made Edward wince. He watched as the figure stepped in, shrouded by the brightness of the light. As the door shut and the artificial light of the room cleared his vision, he saw Jasper standing at the end of the bar. Without a word, Jasper walked over and took up residence next to Edward. Ordering a shot for himself, he downed it without a word in Edward's direction. He didn't owe him anything. He came here because at the end of the day, Edward was his best friend, just like Alice was Bella's. He may have been pissed, he may have been hurt in his own way, and he may have not fully understood what Edward was thinking but he had to be here for him.
The two drank in silence, only speaking to gain the bartenders attention. As the hours ticked by, Jasper clapped Edward on the back, silently telling him that it was time for them to go. They paid the bartender and walked outside as the sun was beginning to set. A black limo drove by and Edward's heart dropped. He knew without a doubt who was inside.
Edward stood frozen as he watched the limo come to a screeching halt. The door opened and ever so slowly, Bella emerged from inside. Alice and Rosalie had tried to keep her from stepping out but it was useless. If Edward was going to stand her up on her wedding day, then she was going to make sure he got one good last look at her. She wanted him to see exactly what he had done, whom he had left behind.
Bella stared at Edward who was floored at how beautiful she looked. She was a vision. For the rest of his life this moment would haunt him. The stunning woman he had jilted at the altar, standing before him to show him exactly what he would be missing.
They didn't exchange any words, only heated stares. Bella wanted nothing more than to run over and hit him until she could no longer feel anything. Edward wanted nothing more than to run to her and tell her how sorry he was. Neither did a thing.
Jasper stood in the background watching the heartbreaking scene unfold in front of him. Edward was a stupid man. He was certain of that. He knew that he would never find someone as amazing as Bella. He didn't deserve to.
Bella slipped into the limo, doing her best to hold back her emotions. She wouldn't shed another tear for him. He had already gotten enough. Alice and Rosalie sat on either side of the girl who was their sister, by marriage or not, and wrapped their arms around her. Alice snuck a glance out of the back window and watched as her husband turned Edward around in the opposite direction.
Edward walked slowly with Jasper at his side. He had messed up. He knew that but things couldn't be changed now. Bella needed more. He couldn't give it. He had one final thought for her as he turned to watch the limo drive away into the sunset. He would never stop loving her…even with only half of his heart.
The days after the wedding went by slowly. Painfully slow, those days had turned into weeks, then months, and before Bella knew it, years had flown by. In the beginning she was certain that she would never find love again. She had given so much to Edward. She had lost all hope, faith and redemption for love. He had taken all of that away from her. She despised him for that, but above all, she felt sorry for him. Bella was sure that she would never get back that trust, that faith instilled upon a lover, a partner. Instead, she focused on loving herself, accepting the fate that had been handed to her. It wasn't easy at first but with time, she realized that she could love again.
When she met Garrett through Emmett, she thought he was a nice guy. Never considering a romantic relationship with him, they contrived a friendship that eventually turned into one of passion. He helped her see that love could be found again, that she could be happy. He was patient while Bella took the time to find herself and what he could mean for her. His patience paid off the day he asked her, with all of his heart, to be his wife and when she said yes.
It was a cloudy winter morning, so completely opposite of that sunny spring afternoon all those years ago. She left everything from that moment in the past, even her mother's wedding dress. The only thing resembling that day was her arm looped through Charlie's and the two girls standing at her side, each of their husbands smiling from the front of the courthouse. She wanted this time to be a small intimate affair. No processional music, no big hoopla, just her and the man she was going to promise her love to. Even if it was with only half of her heart.
Thanks to Katydid2363 for being my awesome beta. Thank you to the hosts of the contest & the judges & congrats to all the winners. This was a different story for me to write and I hope that you all enjoyed it.