A.N: Hey everyone, this is my entry for the "I'm With the Band" contest. Now that it's done, I can post it here and let everyone read it.
Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight. I just like to play with the characters. I also don't own the song "Breathe Again" by Sara Bareilles, but it's really good. You should listen to it.
"I love you, Isabella Swan."
"I will always love you, Bella."
"Please, Bella, stay. With me."
Isabella Swan snapped awake in a cold sweat, a vision of pleading green dancing before her eyes and a medley dancing in her ears. She scrambled out of bed, reaching for her guitar. She started to strum, then smacked the guitar angrily.
Once again, the medley had vanished from her mind before she could put it into play.
It always happened like this. She would awaken from her dreams with the song in her head, and then it would vanish before she could turn it into anything concrete, leaving her with memories that caused nothing but agony and no song to show for it.
Those green eyes had haunted her for the past three years. They were Edward's eyes. Edward, who was the only man Bella had ever loved or, it seemed, ever would love.
Setting the guitar aside, Bella buried her face in her hands, allowing herself to remember the last time she had seen Edward.
"You're leaving, aren't you?"
Bella looked up from her packing to see Edward in the doorway of her room. His green eyes held none of the usual sparkle she so loved. Instead, they were just dull as he took in her and her half-packed bag.
"I have no choice, Edward," Bella replied. "This is my one chance. Carmen got me signed on to open for Sarah McLachlan. Do you realize how big that is?"
"Your music always was the most important thing. More important than your school, your family… me." Edward sat on the bed. "I won't ask you to stay again, because I know how much this means to you… but I love you Bella."
Bella tightened her grip on a t-shirt, shutting her eyes to block out the pleading look in Edward's.
"I love you, too, Edward," she murmured helplessly.
"But not enough, right?" Bella looked up at Edward, whose lips had quirked up into a rueful grin. "Never enough to keep you here."
"No," Bella murmured. "Not enough."
Edward stood and cupped Bella's face in his hands. He looked into her eyes, then pressed his lips against hers in a kiss that could only be called desperate.
"Good-bye, Isabella. I hope you find what you're looking for."
Edward hadn't looked back as he walked out the door.
Edward hadn't looked back, but Bella had, often over the time since she'd left. He'd hoped that she would find what was she was looking for, and she had. Or, she'd found what she'd thought she'd wanted.
Bella's songs were played on the radio. Young girls wanted to be her. She had become an international icon, a star that was compared to Missy Higgins and Sara Bareilles. Her last record, A Hear Like Mine, had gone triple platinum. She rubbed shoulders with Taylor Swift, and just last week she had gone for lunch with Leona Lewis. She had achieved the heights of which she had once dreamed, and yet she couldn't really say she was happy.
Oh, she was content with what she had. She had great friends in her bassist, Alice Brandon, and drummer, Rosalie Hale. She went on dates with handsome men, like Jacob Black, the lead singer for the hot new band, Running Wild. But she still remembered Edward, and the sad, resigned look in his eyes when he had said good-bye. She remembered how he hadn't look back, remembered that his good-bye had been for good.
Bella lay on her bed again, hoping that perhaps the elusive song would come to her again, and stick around long enough for her to write down. Sleep eventually came, but this time it was dreamless; no eyes, and no song.
Bella had grown up in the Pacific North West, in a small town called Forks. That meant that her latest tour stop, Seattle, would be something of a homecoming for her. She had sent her dad, Charlie, a ticket, and he'd promised he'd come. Her mother, Renee, had seen her several times as Phoenix had been a popular stop for tours.
"You seem distracted," Alice stated as the pilot of their plain announced the beginning of their descent.
Bella shrugged uncomfortably.
"Are you nervous about being so close to home?" Rosalie asked. "I wouldn't be if I were you. You'll be viewed as the state hero, I can guarantee it. And all the idiots that were pricks in high school will fawn all over you."
Bella thought of Jessica Stanley and Lauren Mallory, the "queens" of Forks High. They had always mocked her and her dream, and been downright nasty to her because of her relationship with Edward. She felt my lips quirk at the thought of them fawning over her. It was a sweet thought, almost enough to surpass the nerves she felt at the thought of being so close to Edward again.
She knew she wouldn't see him, but just the thought that it was even the smallest of possibilities made her stomach quiver.
"I left someone behind in Forks," Bella said in a rush. Both Alice, who sat next to her, and Rosalie, who sat across the aisle, became still, staring at her. Bella rarely spoke of a time before her stardom, and she had never spoken about an abandoned lover. "His name was, is, Edward Cullen. The first and only man I've ever loved. His life was in Forks, I wanted this"—she waved around them—"and so I left him behind, but I've never been able to forget."
"Did you send him a ticket for the show?" Alice asked.
"No," Bella replied emphatically. "He's in my past, Alice."
She didn't say it, but all three could hear the unspoken words: "even if he haunts my future."
The air had hummed with anticipation before Bella took to the stage. When she stepped on it, the entire stadium went insane, and the wild energy had fuelled Bella's performance. The critics would later say that it was the performance of Isabella Swan's career. They had never heard her sound stronger, or interact with the crowd better.
It was what happened after the concert that Bella would consider life-altering, however.
"Miss Swan, there's someone here to see you. He says he's from some place called Forks."
Bella grinned at Emmett McCarty, her head of security.
"Let him in," she said, expecting that the visitor was Charlie. "Forks is my home town."
Emmett stepped back from the doorway, and motioned for someone in the hall to enter. Bella took a step towards the doorway, ready to throw herself at Charlie in welcome.
She froze and breath caught when her guest entered the room, holding a large bouquet of roses. It definitely wasn't Charlie.
It was Edward.
"Hello, Isabella," he murmured, giving her the crooked grin that made her heart skip, even three years after they'd gone their own ways.
"Edward," Bella murmured in return. "I… you… I thought you were Charlie."
The statement was rather lame, but Edward's grin just widened.
"As you can see, I'm clearly not your father." He held out the roses. "Here, you deserve these after that performance."
Bella accepted the roses, and looked at Emmett who was still in the doorway, watching Edward warily.
"You can go, Emmett. Edward and I are old friends."
Emmett looked uncertain, but Bella raised her brows at him, so he sighed and closed the door.
"I wasn't expecting to see you," Bella stated, turning her back to Edward under the guise of settling the roses, while really she was just trying to get her racing heart under control.
"I couldn't let you come to Seattle, be that close to me, and not at least try to see you." Edward laid his hand on Bella's shoulder. It was warm and heavy and did nothing for Bella's attempts to calm herself. "You looked beautiful out there… like you were born to be on the stage. I shouldn't be surprised by that, but I find that I am."
"It was dream to be there," Bella replied softly. "I wouldn't have chased that dream if I wasn't sure I was meant to stand on a stage." Bella turned around, dislodging Edward's hand, and looked into his green eyes, eyes the exact same as in her dreams. "I wouldn't have left you if I weren't sure."
"Three years, and I'm standing here feeling like I'm eighteen and watching you pack again." Edward looked around my dressing room. "I had almost hoped that I'd come here, and you wouldn't want this anymore. That you'd see me and tell me that you were wrong to leave me."
I thought over the last three years. Years of contentment, but not happiness.
"We would have been happy together," I said in suddenly realization. "If I'd stayed in Forks, we would have been together and we would have been happy…"
"And it would never have been enough," Edward stated, finishing the thought that I'd begun but stopped. "We would have been happy, but you would have lived with the regrets of 'what ifs' for the rest of your life. It took me two years before I finally realized that. Two years of hating and loving your memory in turns."
"I'm content," I told him. "I'm not happy, but I'm content. Is it odd…"
I trailed off again, and once more Edward finished the thought.
"That you can accept the contentment, but you know that you would have eventually wilted away had you been happy?" He smiled ruefully. "You never really made any sense, Isabella Swan. It's one of the things I love about you… but at the same time I understand."
He'd said 'love,' as in present. I knew I was gaping at him, but I couldn't stop.
"Noticed that, did you? Yes, Bella, I am still hopelessly, irrevocably in love with you, and I always will be. I just wish that love was enough."
"So do I," Bella replied wistfully. "I wish I was capable of happiness, Edward. Really, I do."
"I know. I knew how this meeting would end, you know. Just like I knew how that good-bye three years ago would end."
"As cliché as it may be, I would kill to be with you, Edward… but I haven't quite found what I need to be able to be happy. I won't ask you to wait until I find that something. That wouldn't be fair. So… I'm going to say good-bye."
"We're always saying good-bye," Edward replied, and he framed my face in a way that was so reminiscent of that last day in my room back in Forks. This time, when he kissed me, it wasn't desperate. It was good-bye… until next time. "Next time," he murmured against her lips, echoing her thoughts. "Thank God we're still young, because there will always be a next time. And a time after that. Don't ask me to wait, Bella, because there's nothing else I can do anyways."
Once again, Edward walked away without looking back. This time, it didn't break Bella's heart. She had someday, after all. And now, she also had a song that didn't disappear.
Car is parked, bags are packed. But what kind of heart doesn't look back…
Edward Cullen turned on the radio as he was stopped at red light on his way to work. A low, gorgeous crooning came out of the radio and he immediately recognized the voice, even if he didn't recognize the lyrics.
"All I have, All I need. He's the air I would kill to breathe. Holds my love in his hands. But still I'm searching for something"
Edward gave a small, sad smile as he listened to the lyrics. They were Bella's promise to him. A promise of good-bye… until next time. A promise that someday, though she didn't know when, she would be ready to be happy rather than content
The light turned green as the song began to come to it's end, and Edward stepped on the gas, his own silent promise for the woman he loved in his mind.
"Out of breath I'm left hoping someday, I'll breathe again…"
A.N2: Hope you enjoyed it. Now, off to work on my stories.