Title: I Need You Now
Pen Name: AngelGoddess1981
Characters: Bella x Edward
Rating: M for language
Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight or any of the characters associated within. No copyright infringement intended.
To see all entries in the "Love Lost" Contest, please visit the author profile: .net/u/2458839/Love_Lost_Contest
A/N: As usual, I do not own Twilight or it's characters. No Copyright infringement is intended.
Big thanks to Belindella who beta'd this story in a pinch.
Keep in mind the contest subject matter before you read. Hope you all enjoy.
Today, of all days, I found myself increasingly restless and unable to sleep. The clock to my right read twelve forty-five, and I had yet to even fall asleep. I had gone to bed three hours ago after a long day at work, thinking I was tired. However, as soon as my head hit the pillow, and I rolled to the left—only to find it empty—the hole that had been punched through my chest opened up. In an instant, I got sucked right back into the depression that had plagued me for the last year.
Ever since…he left me here. Alone.
Instinctively, my legs shifted until they were being held tightly to my chest by my arms, and I tried to keep myself held together. When he walked away from me a year ago, he took a part of me with him, and I knew I would never be whole again. The pain was unbearable as I lay in my bed, the tears on the verge of falling onto my pillow.
The pain I could handle, though. I would rather feel the hurt ripping me apart inside than to feel absolutely nothing at all. It was the only real proof that he existed.
As soon as my heart started beating wildly, I knew there was only one thing that would help put me at ease. With a painful whimper, I rolled back to the right side of the bed and sat up. It took me a moment to find my bearings before I stood and vacated the room. I looked behind me sadly as the moon shone through the window above the bed, bathing it in a soft silver glow, further emphasizing its emptiness...my emptiness.
I padded softly down the hall to the living room, being sure to tip-toe past Jake's room. He had only moved in recently after I finally admitted that I was having trouble financially. Sure, I could have sold the house, but the masochist in me just couldn't bear to; it was our home for three years.
When I reached the living room I felt along the wall for the light switch before changing my mind. There was no way I could have further proven his absence today by seeing the empty spaces where his personal effects had once been. It was ridiculous that even after all these months he could still have that affect on me. I reached down onto the end table and grabbed the tall pillared candle that was there before reaching into the drawer of the table and finding the lighter. Once I had the thick candle lit, I carried it to the big empty space on the living room floor before setting it down and kneeling next to it. The coolness of the hardwood against my bare legs caused me to shudder. I looked down at the skimpy white tank I had paired with a tight pair of short-shorts and briefly wondered if I should grab a blanket or some warmer pajama pants.
Not wanting to go back and face my empty bed, I decided against it. Instead, I tucked my hair behind my ears before reaching toward the small red loveseat where I pulled out a shallow box from behind the skirting of fabric. I began emptying its contents, scattering them all around me, and bit my lip to hold back the emotions that came with each item.
What the hell am I doing? I asked myself as I sat in the centre of the dark room surrounded by pictures I'd pulled out of the secret box I kept hidden beneath my furniture. They'd sat there since Jake moved in, never to be seen by anyone other than me when I needed my fix.
Reaching back under the red seat, I felt around until I felt the album I had also stashed there. After pulling it into my lap, I ran my fingers over the tan leather cover before holding my breath and opening it slowly. The images assaulted me almost as quickly as the memories that came flooding back. They weighed down on me like water crashing through a dam, pushing and pulling me under, as I struggled to hold onto reality.
Unable to catch my breath, I closed my eyes for a moment, but that only made it worse; the images were all too clear in the darkness. When I opened them again, the tears of loss and sadness fell freely, and I sniffled quietly so as not to wake the sleeping body in the next room and alarm him to my distress. Jake was completely oblivious to the existence of my keepsakes, and I hoped he never found out. I knew he wouldn't be mad at me, but he would be concerned at my inability to move on. He would also be hurt—there was no doubt about it.
The truth was, I'd been distant with him since day one, and I knew this. Jake was my best friend—had been for years, actually—and it killed me that I couldn't be completely honest with him when he'd been nothing but understanding from the beginning. He loved me deeply, that much was painfully obvious, but I was in no shape to be getting into any kind of relationship, even a year later. I wished I could force myself to feel for Jake what I knew I felt—still felt—for the long-lost love of my life, especially after Jake admitted his true feelings for me a few months earlier. It wasn't fair to him, but I was completely selfish; taking everything he had to give me without giving him even a shred of me in return. He was my safety net—he always had been. In fact, I was still uncertain if he even realized there was a huge part of me that had gone missing on that day.
On the day he left me.
I pressed my hands over my mouth to muffle my sobs as I hopped to my feet and ran to the kitchen. Turning the cold water on low enough that it wouldn't be heard, I collected some in my hands and splashed it over my heated face, erasing the tears from my cheeks. With the water dripping from my face, I closed my eyes and gripped the edge of the metal basin tightly as I cried softly in the darkness.
My knees began to quiver under my weight as my body shook with my silent sobs, and I had to brace myself on the counter before I fell into a heap on the floor. My ragged breaths soon evened out as I focused on calming myself and, as I raised my gaze, I noticed the time on the microwave to my left. It was after one in the morning, and I was nowhere near as tired as I should have been.
As I stared at the bright green glowing numbers, I saw a bottle of wine sitting next to the microwave. I grabbed it, forgoing the glass completely, and headed back to the living room where I took my seat amongst the visual reminders of what I had lost. I popped the cork on the bottle and took a long swig, the warm burgundy fluid coating my mouth and trailing down my throat and into my stomach. Very shortly, it would enter my bloodstream, numbing the pain that I had unleashed.
The pictures on the first page were innocent enough: there we sat, side-by-side, sitting in his living room as we studied for mid-terms. Those were simpler times; we were merely friends, lab partners, and nothing more. But he had to go and change everything a few weeks later. I'd had a crush on him for as long as I could remember, so when he finally took notice and asked me out, I all but jumped at the opportunity. It didn't take long for us to realize we were perfect for each other. Soul mates, even. There was no happier couple in the world.
I took another drink from the bottle at my side and turned the page. The nostalgia I felt was overwhelming as I stared at another picture of us in my living room the night of senior prom. As cliché as I knew it to be, it was that night that I told him I loved him for the first time once we were alone at his place, his parents gone for the entire weekend. After my admission, we made love, and we never looked back.
Looking through the rest of the album brought back nothing but happy feelings, which in turn saddened me immediately as I remembered the greatest loss of my life. With a sniffle, I raised the bottle to my lips again and realized it was almost empty. After wiping the wetness from the unrelenting tears off my cheeks, I closed the tan album and pulled a stack of loose photos toward me next. The corners of my mouth crept upward as I flipped through them, and I laughed through the sobs as I remembered each story that coincided with every picture.
Our graduation, our first house, trips to places like London and Italy. All wonderful times shared between the two of us, and something we would never experience together again.
As the flames from the lone candle flickered, casting shadows that seemed to dance sadly along the walls, my eyes drifted up from the photo in my hands and to my sleek black cell phone that lay abandoned on the coffee table. Drawing my bottom lip between my teeth, I chanced a look back toward Jake's room and held my breath as I listened for his light snores. Once I was certain he was asleep—and I wouldn't be caught—I stretched my body forward and snatched the phone off the table, returning to my spot before flipping it open. I dialed the number three times—deleting it just as quickly each time and cursing myself for even thinking it was a good idea to begin with. Running my fingers through my hair with frustration, I stared at the blank screen, my vision cloudy from the wine.
I brought my legs to my chest, wrapping my arms around them, and rested my chin on my knees as I debated whether or not I should try again. My body felt as though it were being ripped apart as the memory of the look on his face when he walked away came flooding back, feeling just as fresh as it did back then. I took a deep, unsteady breath and lifted the phone to dial his number again, this time pressing my phone to my ear and fighting the urge to disconnect.
Disappointment consumed me when it went straight to his voicemail. Listening to his velvet voice set off conflicting feelings within me. On one hand it poured over me, taking me right back into the past when everything seemed to make sense, but on the other, it only served to reignite the memory of the day he told me it was over—his voice just as steady and smooth as ever.
I disconnected the call just as the beep sounded and tried again. This time, as I raised the phone to my ear, I heard nothing. Knowing I must have been so rushed that I forgot to actually connect the call, I was just about to move the phone from my ear when...
"Bella?" the familiar voice sighed, the relief and pain both audible in his velvet voice, and all the air left my lungs in a single breath.
In an instant, my world felt whole again.
I had been lying in bed for quite some time, tossing and turning as I waited for my exhaustion to just take hold. But it never did. I couldn't remember the last time I actually got a full night's sleep.
I pulled myself out of bed and stumbled out to the kitchen in nothing more than my plaid pajama pants. Once there, I grabbed the bottle of whiskey from the cupboard and took it to the table. I pulled out my chair and flopped down in it, placing the bottle in front of me before I ran my hands through my hair.
I unscrewed the cap off the bottle and took a good, long swig. I felt it warm me almost instantly, but it still didn't offer me the peace of mind I sought. As I sat there, taking drink after drink, I thought back to the night I had ended things between Bella and me. I did it for her. Not that that provided me any solace. Not a day went by that I didn't think about Bella. I hated myself every day for leaving her, but she deserved so much more than I could ever offer her—even if she didn't feel that way at the time.
Even though she told me time and time again she could live without the things I was unable to offer her in life, I couldn't rob her of those experiences.
"We can adopt," she had told me the day we found out I would be unable to provide her with the child we had been trying to conceive for two years. I remembered looking at her with pain-filled eyes, yet she looked at me consolingly. All her reassuring words didn't help, though; they didn't change the fact that I had failed her as a husband.
"No, I want to be able to give you things…not take them away from you. You deserve the world, Bella." When I refused to allow her to settle, she became angry. We didn't talk for days, and when we did we were short with one another.
In short, I had taken the coward's way out. But, by the time I realized what I had done, it was too late; she never would have taken me back.
It wasn't until I set the whiskey bottle down that I even realized my cell phone was sitting there. Without another thought, I snatched the phone off the table and dialed her number quickly, listening with baited breath for it to ring. Her melodious voice sounded in my ear as the phone went straight to voicemail, and I hung up to try again. After getting her voicemail again, I decided to try a third, and final, time.
This time there was no ringing and no voicemail; instead, all I heard was her soft breaths, and I closed my eyes as I tried to envision her in that moment. Was she sitting at the table like me? On the couch? Or had I woken her up? Was she happy? Sad?
I glanced at the clock nervously, hoping that I hadn't woken her up. "Bella?" The minute her name fell past my lips, I felt my rigid body soften. She didn't say a word for a minute; instead we just sat on the phone listening to the other's soft breaths.
"You've been drinking," she told me. There was no "hello," or a "how've you been?" No, she called me on the fact that I'd had entirely too much to drink before finally finding the courage to pick up the phone and dial her number.
With a wry chuckle, I ran my fingers through my hair. "Yeah, I have," I admitted. There was no sense in lying to her, she knew me better than I knew myself—even after the last year apart. "You, too, huh?"
"Oh, um," she stammered, her words only slightly slurring together. "Yeah. I think I drank an entire bottle of wine."
She laughed, and I had actually forgotten just how beautiful that sound was. With a sigh, I let the sound permeate my entire being as I committed it back to my memory. "Yeah, I mean, it was open and there may have been a glass or two gone. But I polished it off."
"That's my girl," I said with a light laugh. When she inhaled sharply, I knew I had misspoken.
"No, I'm not," she breathed into the phone softly, and I could almost envision the pained expression on her face as she folded in on herself. "Not anymore."
"Shit, I'm sorry. I didn't mean—"
"No, it's fine," she whispered into the phone, and I only barely heard the sniffle that accompanied her words. "So, what's up?"
"What?" I asked, confused by the straight-forward question.
"You called...what's up?" she asked again.
"Oh," I said with a light laugh and head-shake. "I, um...look I know I said I wouldn't call, but...I just..." I paused for a moment to take a deep breath. "I need you..." I shook my head clear of the confusion that had caused me to slip up. "Needed to talk to you. To hear your voice."
There was a maddening silence between us, and as it hung there, I could hear some light shuffling. "What are you doing right now? Did I wake you?"
"N...nothing," she lied quickly, the sounds of rustling paper increasing with her nervousness.
"You're lying," I said teasingly with a smirk as I started to drum my fingers on the wood tabletop rhythmically as I waited for her to respond.
Bella released an exasperated breath. "I was looking through some old pictures."
"Of?" I asked, quite curious as to why she'd be up looking at pictures at this hour.
"Us," she choked out. "I couldn't sleep." There was another short pause before she spoke again. "You do realize what day it is, right?"
"I do," I responded faintly. As if I would ever forget the depressing significance behind this day. My actions from one year ago still haunted my every waking hour.
Bella cleared her throat softly before she spoke again. "Do you think about, um, us often?"
"Every fucking day," I told her, my voice coming out hoarse and strained as I exhaled. I pushed my free hand against my face and pressed the heel against my clenched eye in an effort to stop the crying that was inevitably going to happen.
"Me too." Her breathy whisper was gravelly and her voice quivered as she spoke.
"God, I miss you," I told her honestly, the alcohol finally hitting me. I was suddenly panicked that she might hang up on me for such an outright admission after everything that had happened.
I found myself extremely relieved when she responded with words, and not a dial tone. "I know. I miss you, too."
I took a shaky breath as I absorbed her words. "I want to see you...I need to see you."
"I'd love that," she sighed. "But I don't know if that's such a good idea. After everything that happened last year..."
I ran my hand over my weary face as I remembered the look on her face when I turned to walk out that door. "Yeah, I know. I just...I miss you...us so much. I can't eat. I can't sleep."
Bella's strangled sob caused my head to snap up out of my hand. How I wished I could hold her…kiss away her tears. "It hurts so much," she cried, her voice muffled behind what I assumed was her hand. "Not a day goes by that I wonder why you didn't want me."
"It was never about you," I assured her. "I wasn't the right man for you, Bella."
"It wasn't your decision to make alone." It was apparent by the sound of her venom-laced tone that she was speaking through clenched teeth.
Just as I was about to speak, I heard another voice from her end of the phone. "Bella?"
Who the fuck is that? I felt my chest tighten at hearing the deep tenor voice of another man in Bella's company.
"Jake?" Bella said with a startled squeak.
"Jake?" I asked, suddenly seeing green. "Black? Is he living there now?" I waited for her answer, but she never responded. No, instead I heard him.
"Bells, what the hell are you doing up?" he asked, his voice getting louder as he got closer to her. Rage clouded my vision as I envisioned him sitting down next to her…touching her. "Are you talking to someone? It's almost two in the morning. Why aren't you in bed?"
"Um," Bella said tentatively, and I was unsure who exactly she was speaking to. "I'm sorry."
"Bella?" I tried again, my heart pounding wildly in my chest as I began to realize she had moved on.
"I'm sorry, Edward. I have to go..." she paused for a moment before sucking in a breath. "I can let you go, now."
"Bella!" I cried into the phone, but it was too late; she had hung up, and I was yelling into dead air.
I don't know exactly how long I sat at my table, staring straight ahead at my front door and clutching the phone that was beeping angrily at me, but as I did, only one thought echoed in my mind.
Bella had moved on.
A/N: So, there's my Lost Love Contest entry. IDK if I'll continue it. Honestly, I have so much on the go.
For those of you who are reading Time Can't Fight Fate, I know the update is almost a week late, but RL snuck up on me and punched me in the gut this week. It is ALMOST done. I will be posting it sometime today or tomorrow (should my toddler cooperate). Then I will work on the epilogue. Yes. Epilogue.
Making Memories of Us's posting schedule will take TCFF's place once it is complete :)
Thanks so much for reading this little ditty. PLEASE REVIEW!