A/N: When BeCullen purchased an alternate ending to A Kiss Before I Say Goodbye for FGB, she asked me to give them a HEA, for Edward to realize he screwed up and come back, and for Jasper to make him grovel and all be well. In my mind, this Edward would never have done that. He would have done it long before his wedding if it was going to happen at all, so the only way I can think of to continue this story is as such. It will not be an alternate ending. This is set in the future and if you were happy with how AKBISG ended, do not read the continuation.
This will be a hard journey for Edward, but I hope you take it with him.
Thank you BeCullen for purchasing this and donating to FGB and Alex's Lemonade Stand and for sharing it with others.
Thank you to my fantastic beta OnTheTurningAway.
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
They say time heals all wounds.
It's a fucking lie, all it does it allow them to fester, be laid bare, raw and open.
There is no Band-Aid that will fix me, no words that can console me.
It has been three years since I walked away from the most important person in my life and the regret eats at me constantly.
He is always in my mind, the features of his face having never faded. I see him in every action I take, with every move I make.
There is always something there reminding me, forcing me to see what I gave up.
Every shade of blue reminds me of his eyes and I can't get away. I see it in the sky, the paint in my kitchen, the coffee mug I drink from every day.
The pain I feel is agonizing and even the sun reminds me of him. Jasper is warmth, laughter, love and I have lost him. There is none of that in my life now. All that I see are varying shades of gray, I haven't smiled in years. I have painted on a grin when the timing called for it, even chuckled at jokes, but none have been based on happiness. I don't know what that is anymore. I don't deserve it.
All of this aggravates the shards of my tattered heart; there is nothing left of the man I was when he loved me. I am broken beyond repair, and my poor wife has tried everything to make me love her, to make me feel anything.
It has never worked.
Once you truly give your heart away, love someone from the depths of your soul, you don't get that back. It's no longer yours to give, it belongs to someone else. My heart belongs to another and deep down she's always known that. There aren't enough romantic gestures in the world that would have made me fall for her. When we married, my heart and soul were left in a hotel room, crying on the ground, hoping I would stay. And yet...I walked away.
There isn't a second that has passed in the last three years that Jasper hasn't crossed my mind. He is here with me always. The strength I draw from his love keeps me going everyday. He gave me enough love to last a lifetime.
There are so many times I have looked in the mirror thinking none of this was worth losing him, not even my family.
Sometimes I'm ready to throw it all away, to take this carefully crafted lie I live and leave it behind.
There is a decision that needs to be made, always has been. Whether I divorce my wife or declare my orientation and look for Jasper, I need to do something. My other choice has always been taking matters into my own hands and removing myself from this world.
The latter is never really more than a dark fantasy. I am weak, always have been, a puppet under my father's control.
I don't have the strength to end my own life.
I am a shell, I am nothing without him and I no longer want to be a coward.
Suitcases sit on the bed, my clothes haphazardly strewn about as I try to figure out what to take and what to leave. It is time to start over, to find out who I really am. I am taking nothing but my clothes, my car and money.
Jessica will be well taken care of, she deserves it for putting up with this sham of a marriage. This will come as no surprise to her, she has been hinting for a long time that I need to find my way and that she doesn't believe it is with her. Yet, I still stayed married to her, hoping that somehow, things would click and I could take the easy road.
It isn't happening, I am slowly dying and only Jasper can save me.
If he is willing.
But before that is even a possibility, I have things I need to do.
My fingers trail over the bracelet around my wrist. It is the only tangible connection I have left to Jasper. He gave it to me our first Christmas together. I have never taken it off. Although it weighs nothing, the cognitive burden crushes me daily.
My fingertips trail up my palm and come to rest on my wedding ring. For the first time since Jessica put it on my finger, I pull it off and set the band on my dresser.
Already, I feel more disengaged from my life here. It is one small step on the path to self-discovery, one monumental leap on the path to Jasper.
I finish packing the few things I am taking with me. I slip the photos of my family into the outer pocket and pack enough clothes for two weeks. Everything else is being left behind. All of my suits, dress pants, tailored shirts and ties. There is no need for them where I am going. I am leaving the John Lobb loafers and Prada boots that were never my style. All I have are jeans, t-shirts and tennis shoes.
It is sad that my life fits into two suitcases, but at least I know what is important to me. Tucked away in the bottom of one bag are two tattered photos of me and Jasper. They are the only ones I have, all the others having been left behind. Three years ago, I'd considered not taking any, but I couldn't bring myself to not have any physical reminders of when we were happy.
"So," Jessica says from the door of our room. "Are you leaving?"
"Yes," I tell her, meeting her eyes which are filled with unshed tears.
"Were you going to tell me?" Jessica's voice is uncharacteristically shrill. This is going to be hard and I know I am going to hurt her.
"Don't I deserve at least that?" The pain is evident in her words and I know she has always deserved better than me.
"I was waiting for you to come home," I tell her. "I figured we would talk then."
"You're already packed, Edward." Her hands are shaking as she points to my bags and I can see she is about to break.
I walk over to my wife, my beautiful wife, who never should have married me. She wants love, joy, children, a dog; all the things that make up a happy family. For the past few years she has tried to make us into the perfect family.
I have always known I will never fit into that and have made a career of keeping her talk about babies at bay. She is a nurturer. She needs children to dote on, lunches to make, practices and games to attend.
If I wasn't such a fucking coward, she would have all that by now.
But I am.
It is time to change that, to be a man I am proud to look at in the mirror. This is only the first step. After I leave here, I will be talking with my father.
Telling Jessica will be easy compared to telling him. He hates fags, always has, and now his only son is about to tell him he is one.
"Jess," I say, taking her hands in mine. "You had to know this was coming."
Jessica closes her eyes and it hurts me to see the tears running down her pale cheeks. She takes a moment to let the sadness fall from her eyes and then wrenches her hands from mine.
"Know it was coming? Are you fucking serious?" She never cusses, ever. It startles me as much as her raised voice.
"You told me, Jess, that you didn't think I was happy, that you wanted me to find what I needed." I am shocked that she is surprised by this. Maybe I misunderstood the talks I felt lead up to this.
She swiped her hand across the dresser, knocking our wedding picture onto the floor.
"And what did you tell me, Edward. Every single time I tried to get you to talk to me about what was wrong?"
I hang my head, shame tearing away at my gut.
I am wrong, like always.
My life is a huge mistake, one I made, and I have to live with the consequences of my decisions. I am not the only one my lies have affected.
I am a sinner of the worst kind, I have destroyed other lives besides my own.
This is my first step in atoning for it all.
It is time for all the lies to stop.
"I told you that there was nothing wrong."
"Exactly," she yells as she throws something across the room. "Nothing! I'm not stupid, Edward. I know it was never nothing, but you never let me in."
She buries her face in her hands and shakes her head, her shoulder slump in defeat. "I tried so hard, did everything I could to make you happy, to make you love me and it was never enough. I was never enough for you, was I?"
My tears are now running as freely as hers, my heart breaking for the girl who put her faith in me to make her happy. There is a band around my chest, getting tighter with each salty streak that runs from her red-rimmed eyes.
"Jess, you are perfect." It's true, she is.
"Oh please," she scoffs. "Let me guess, it's you right?"
I don't want to make it any worse by placating her, so I blurt it out.
She freezes, her eyes a myriad of emotions. I watch as they widen in disbelief and say nothing. Her fists clench at her side as her face scrunches with hurt and her lip trembles hard. She takes a few deep breaths as a mask of resignation slips into place before she speaks.
"How long?" she whispers, bracing herself against the door jam as if it will hold her up and keep her from falling.
I swallow, my mouth suddenly dry. "I've known since college." The tendrils of fear radiate through me as I wait for her reaction.
She clutches the material over her chest, gasping, her mouth open with words that won't come out.
"All this time? You knew? And you married me, knowing this?" Her bottom lip is quivering, her words voicing disbelief as she looks at me. Her eyes are questioning, narrowed at me and I know I have to answer.
I can't lie, not about this.
A blur flies at me, knocking me backwards onto the bed before I can brace myself and her little fists are pummeling my chest. She is screaming and crying and asking "Why?" over and over. I let her hit me, it is the least I deserve. It doesn't hurt, but her heartbreak is crushing.
Finally she stops and collapses in a pitiful pile of heaving sobs on top of me. I hold her, rock her and kiss her hair as I whisper apologies into her ear. Her pain is my pain and I hope she will recover from this and find the love she deserves.
My tears mix with hers on the bedspread, falling continuously until her sobs subside into little hiccups and then her breathing evens out.
She is asleep.
I scoot back against the headboard and hold her close to me as I look down at the face of the woman I married. Her nose is red and tears have dried on her face yet still cling to her lashes. Her body is still heaving slightly and my guilt is compounded. Even in sleep she is broken.
I hold her until I am too tired to stay awake or move my suitcases. Carrying her to the spare room, I lay in the bed next to her and hug my wife for one last night before I walk out the door tomorrow and leave this life behind.
When I wake the next morning, Jessica is gone. There is a letter on the pillow, held in place with her wedding ring.
This morning when I woke, I sat there and watched you, wondering what I missed, where I went wrong. Then I realized...I didn't do anything, you did.
I can't believe our marriage is over, done and you are just going to walk away like none of it ever mattered. You never talked to me, you were
packed and ready to go with no counseling, arguing...NOTHING.
I had to leave this morning, I don't have the heart to watch you walk out the door and never come back. I hope you find what it is you are looking
for, because we now know that it isn't me. I want you to find happiness, Edward, but at the same time, I selfishly hope you suffer as I surely will.
Maybe you have been this whole time. If you have, you are an even bigger coward than I thought. I don't really know what to say other than goodbye.
As far as the rest, it will figure itself out.
Be safe, wherever you go and your secret will not leave my lips until it leaves yours first. As angry as I am, I would never betray you that way.
I did love you, I still do...
The ink is smeared in places where her tears hit the paper as she wrote it. Once again, when I think I can not possibly feel any worse about my actions, I hold the evidence that I have hurt two people I love. It makes me hate myself and I want to learn to at least like myself. This will never happen until I purge all the secrets I have held inside.
After I get ready for the day, I close up my suitcases, grab my computer and load them in the car. I walk back into the place that has been my home for the past three years and take a last look around. It looks exactly the same, my presence here matters for naught. There is nothing that says "Edward" it is all Jess. She picked it all out and I never once lent a hand, just nodded my head when she asked if I liked things.
Deep down I knew that this was never going to last, that we would never withstand this sham I created. The only visible place where my presence will be missed is in our room, but even there, I am leaving behind the parts of me that don't matter. Placing a letter for my wife on the table, I walk out of my house and never once look back. There are no fond memories to be had in there and my future is where I want to look from now on.
There is only one other thing I need to do before I start a life of my own. I need to go see my father, tell him the truth and, if I am being honest with myself, lose my family in the process. This has always been the hardest part of thinking about coming out for me. I love them, they are vital to me, but I don't need them anymore if they can not accept me for who I am. I have never been strong enough to make it without them before, but for me and for Jasper, I finally am
A/N: I think this is going to be about 5-8 chapters. Thanks for reading.