A/N I won't waste your time with apologies. You know how it goes- you find a fic you like, the author updates regularly, and then BOOM! You never hear from her again. I'm trying not to be that person. Promise.
So you know I'm not the originator of these characters, but the story is mine. Um, kinda close to home, mine.
The song lyrics are by Maroon 5 "Won't Go Home Without You." Other inspirational songs for this chapter were Pink "Rock Star," Katy Perry's "Firework," and Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova "Leave."
The last one is particularly beautiful. Thanks to ChloeCougar who pre read a little for me and informed that it wasn't too "whiney" "self-indulgent" or "pathetic." Here's hoping.
Please leave me some love if you enjoy.
My only goal in that moment was to get the fuck out of there without anyone noticing me. I wanted to die. I wanted to lie on the floor like a child and weep. My hope was gone. This dream, this thing, I had sitting in the corner of my mind was gone. I knew he was gone. I knew I didn't deserve him to sit around and wait for me, but sadly, I wanted him to. I hoped he would. I wanted to pretend I was so special, so unique and irresistible that he wouldn't be able to move on from me. I knew it was a sad, pathetic little dream but apparently I bought into it much more than I had originally thought because here I was, stuck to the floor, unmoving, unblinking, thinking only of my sorry self.
I had to get out of there before he saw me. Edward was so beautiful and looked so happy. I would have made him miserable. She was around his age and very pretty. Clearly she didn't have children and I highly doubted there was a ring on her finger. Oh GOD! Maybe there was and Edward was the one to put it there. He was ready for marriage and children and maybe they met shortly after we, he, ended things and she was just what he'd been looking for. He could introduce her to his family and he could watch her belly get big with his child.
As if I wasn't going into a full blown panic attack before, seeing him here, with someone else…I was so unprepared for this moment. I had wanted to see him, run into him somewhere like this, only in my fantasies he was alone and I wasn't an idiot caught in my own head, about to choke on my tongue like a victim of an epileptic seizure. It couldn't have been more than thirty seconds since I had seen him and yet I felt like I had been frozen in place for hours. He was still touching her, she was still laughing. I couldn't leave now. I would have to walk right past Edward and his date to get to the door. I was scared to go sit back down with my coworkers right now though. I was too freaked out to even pretend to be normal. I did not need to blather on to the ladies about this.
My options were limited and like a scared little girl in the seventh grade, I ducked into the bathroom and hid in a stall. I hated being this person. I felt so timid and scared and bullied by my own stupid brain that wouldn't shut up and wouldn't let me stop being so caught up in my own head. I wanted to be strong. I wanted to go out there and belt out some Katy Perry tune or Pink. I was stronger than this. At least I used to be. I used to be smart and funny. I used to be a friend and a sister. I was creative and talented. I loved dancing and music and the arts. I traveled and read. I was confident and poised and articulate. Where the fuck did all of that go? Now I was just neurotic and anxiety ridden. I had become a pill popping, cheating, sad, pathetic wife and mother who barely had a clue who she was. I wanted to be that strong girl again. I didn't want to be sitting in a bathroom stall holding back tears for a life I had lost.
A voice I hadn't heard in months filtered in through the thin doors of the ladies room. "I know you're still here. This is for you." Edwards's voice was strong and clear—a beacon calling me home. I still couldn't move as I was slightly terrified of what I would find on the other side.
"I asked her to stay but she wouldn't listen
She left before I had the chance to say
The words that would mend the things that were broken
But now it's far too late, she's gone away"
Edward? Was he singing to me? Please God let it be for me.I considered actually dying if it were for her. His voice was so perfect, so beautiful and I cursed myself for nearly crying again. Could I really be this miserable that everything made me want to weep with self-pity?
Every night you cry yourself to sleep
Thinking: "Why does this happen to me?
Why does every moment have to be so hard?"
Hard to believe that
I crept out of the bathroom and cautiously looked around. Everyone was staring at this perfect man on stage. Even the hideous lighting couldn't take away from him. He glowed. My angel who wore his heart on his sleeve and had the whole time we had been together and I threw it away. I threw him away and wallowed because I was too scared and too stupid to do anything. I was hurting Jake, I was hurting myself, and now I knew, I had been hurting Edward this whole time too. And yet, my selfishness was still not enough to keep him away even though he knew what kind of a person I was.
It's not over tonight
Just give me one more chance to make it right
I may not make it through the night
I won't go home without you
Part of me wanted to run up on stage and scream, "Yes! Yes! I'll be with you! Let's go home and have sex for hours and hours!" The more rational part of me stood in the doorway and peered around the corner searching for the brunette at the table. When I didn't see her I scanned near the stage. Maybe he had led her to a chair right up front while he serenaded her. But she wasn't there. I couldn't see her anywhere. My heart attempted to soar but got stuck in my throat. Oh God! Not now! I would not get stuck in my head wondering what to do, how to react, what the consequences would be. I was doing this. Over, over, over. It had been over, I knew it, Jake knew it, and here was Edward offering himself to me, giving me a second chance. I made myself step forward from the dark hallway. I prayed I wouldn't have to go much further, I wanted him to see me from where I stood. I wanted this. I wanted him so bad but I wasn't ready to come out to my coworkers as an adulteress.
The taste of your breath, I'll never get over
The noises that she made kept me awake
The weight of things that remained unspoken
Built up so much it crushed us every day
His words were so perfect. They drew me to him. I had been ready to get up on stage and rock out some girl empowerment song just moments before and now all I wanted to do was run to that same stage and profess my love over the microphone in front of everyone in the bar. He understood, he got me, he got us. He still wanted me, at least for now. How much longer could I make him wait? He looked up to my spot on the wall and I could sense his tension. He looked like he wanted to cry and I felt the same weight in my chest. He was the only thing that could help me breath. Edward continued to let everyone hear him but I knew he was sharing his voice with me alone.
I kept eye contact with him while he finished the song and made my way back to my table. I leaned over to Charlotte and pointed to my coat. She gave me a curious look and I reflexively glanced at the stage. Her lips tightened as she suppressed a smile. Charlotte handed my coat over to me and winked. I waved goodbye to the girls and moved quickly so as not to have to explain my hasty departure. I stood by the exit and waited for the applause to die down. Edward was good. Damn good. He was lovely to look at but he was made even more beautiful by his talent. He followed my lead and headed for the door. When he got close enough for me to see the stubble on his jaw I closed my eyes briefly to imprint this moment on my brain. When I opened them he was a mere stride away from me and I pushed the heavy metal door open with my back. As I walked through I sensed his hand right behind me holding the door for him to follow me out. The door slammed shut and the world ceased to exist. I knew there were people in the parking lot with us but they didn't matter. The smell of cigarettes nearby wasn't strong enough to take away the heavenly scent of Edward that made me grin like fool, flooding my brain with images of every memory I had of him and I together.
...The first time Edward told me he wanted me…the feel of the mat under my knees as he slid my strap down…his body pressed against mine as the brick scratched my back…the view from his bedroom window…the gentle command in his voice as he slid the popsicle into my hot body…
I shivered at that memory. "Are you cold?" Edward slid his hands up and down my arms. I shook my head "no" and on his final pass down my arms he took my hands in his. They were warm and rough, just as I remembered them. "I missed you."
I looked up through my lashes at him. I wanted so badly to be smooth and sophisticated but all I could manage was a head nod, acknowledging that I missed him too. "That was beautiful. Thank you." I prayed I wasn't being presumptuous—it had to be for me.
"I'm sorry I haven't answered you, your texts. I just, I didn't know what to say. I wanted to tell you how much I missed you. How much it hurt me when you left—when I didn't stop you from leaving," he clarified.
I wanted him to pull me close and kiss me—hard. But that wouldn't work. I knew I wanted to be with him. I was jealous of that other girl. I had no guilt about Jacob. I wanted Edward. I wanted to spend Sundays with him and snuggle with him while we watched a movie. I wanted to go running together and call him when the mood struck me. Mostly I wanted to kiss him. I took my hands out of his and snuck them up under his coat. I pressed my hands to his back and pulled him to me, leaning up on my toes I gently pressed my mouth to his. Gentle, so very gentle. I heard the words he sang to me, I knew it had to mean something, but I couldn't push just in case he was only emotional over seeing me. Maybe he was just caught up in the moment of seeing me and I needed to test the waters. Edward leaned into my body, mimicking my hold and pressed me further into him. He opened his mouth and deepened the kiss, pulling me into the beautiful, warm memories of him. We stayed there, kissing, rubbing each other's backs, holding one another, and reminding ourselves why we started this in the first place despite our differences.
Edward's hands came up to cup my face and leaned into his palms. "I missed you," he whispered. "I promised I wouldn't push you. I knew what I was getting into, I just wasn't prepared to feel so much."
I knew he was staring at me, his sorrowful, deep eyes penetrating through my closed lids. I didn't want to but I had to stop. "Edward, I miss you too. So very much. And I'm sorry I didn't leave you alone. You should be happy and uncomplicated. And I'm not either of those things."
"Right now, maybe."
"Not ever, maybe."
"You deserve to be happy too. Why do you keep punishing yourself?"
I sighed heavily. "Please," I begged, "I can't do this here. Not right now. Your song was so beautiful and it was so perfect and I don't want to end this in tears."
"I meant it though. It wasn't a line. Please come home with me tonight. We don't have to do anything. I just want to hold you again. You're so warm," he nuzzled my throat and squeezed my hips, "and soft. I don't want to let you go again."
"I know. Me either. If you can just give me time. I know I've asked before. I tried, I did, I know I can do it now. At this point," I exhaled shakily, "I don't have a choice. I can't promise you tonight, but it's over. I'm scared and I just don't want to hurt anyone. Not you—not anyone—and it's all I've done. I can't help but hurt people and I'm trying to figure out how to save everyone's feelings and it's not working."
"You're hurting yourself too. I won't go away like before, I'll wait. If you promise me, I'll promise you."
I nodded dumbly. He slid his hand to the small of my back and guided me over to the waiting cabs outside the bar. He settled me inside and kissed my forehead before closing the door. He leaned into the passenger window and handed the driver some money. I had no will to argue. I needed someone to take care of me this time and I wanted to let him.
The cab pulled up and I saw the light still on upstairs. It was past two so I was sure Jacob was passed out. I snuck into the house not too worried about making noise. Jake had been good for a bit, but had gone back to drinking more than I liked. We hashed it out in therapy though so I tried not to make a big deal. After all, he was an adult. We decided that as long as it didn't interfere with his parenting, work, or our relationship. Basically, as long as he wasn't being a dick. If I was being honest, I was glad he been drinking more; it gave me more freedom.
I pulled out my phone as I set down my bag. Edward hadn't disappointed. There was a text from him telling me how happy he was to have seen my and how much he regreted the fact that we weren't together. I texted back that I was home and that we would see each other very soon. I hadn't been hitting the gym as much since our fight and I not so subtly told him I wanted some private lessons when we were together again.
The house was silent and I headed straight upstairs to check on the kids. I sighed heavily watching them sleep. Would Paul hate me for taking him away from his father? Would Becca lose faith in marriage and the possibilities of it? Would they be happier if I was? They would ask for him every day. Would Jake stay around here to see them or go back to La Push? I was pretty sure he might threaten, but he wouldn't fight me on custody. They would live with me full time and he would be able to see them whenever he wanted. He was their father and that wouldn't change. Neither of us would allow it. I smoothed the blankets and picked up some dirty clothes. I would talk to Jake first thing tomorrow. Well, first I would bring the kids to Rose's house. I didn't want them here. Then I would talk to Jake. If I got up early enough he'd never even notice until I woke him up. What a shitty way to wake up.
Satisfied that the kids were blissfully unaware I made my way back down stairs. I would sleep on the couch. It didn't feel right knowing I was telling him it was over to lay next to Jake and fake it any more than I already had. I got a glass of water and made my way into the living room. I nearly dropped my glass when I saw Jacob sitting in our old rocker. He was hunched over, but clearly awake. His shoulders were shaking slightly and my stomach dropped. Oh God, was it his father? At my gasp Jake picked up his head and I could see that he had his cell phone clutched tightly in his hands.
Thinking something was wrong with Billy made me feel nervous and awful. What my senses processed over the next few seconds made me want to vomit all over the floor. It wasn't Jake's cell phone, it was mine. My old phone. His eyes were red from crying but he wasn't upset, he was angry, furious. He held out the phone at me and my mind buzzed with every conceivable piece of information that phone held.
"How. Fucking. Long. Bella." It was a question but his words were dead. Flat with no inflection. Venom poured from his mouth and his eyes.
"Everyone knew. Everyone but me." His voice remained low for the moment, but I knew him. Knew he was building up to something more and I was beginning to get scared. "You fucking lying bitch." Jake never spoke to me like that. My brain was scrambling for excuses. Trying to figure out how much he knew. What exactly had I said? Were there answered texts from Edward? How far back did it go? Fuck, what had I said to Jessica? All my passwords were on there. Did he check my emails? Did he see the pictures I had sent to Edward? Oh fuck. Oh fuck. Fuckfuckfuck. This was bad. So very, very bad.
"You have one chance to tell me the truth. Be careful what you say Bella."
I swallowed thickly. I had to tell him the truth, but how much? What did he really want to hear? No one wants to hear details, right? That would be sadistic or masochistic. Deep breaths. Just get it out there. Short and simple. Like a cross examination. Just answer the questions and don't offer anything extra.
If only I had been able to think like that. My brain, however, was still swirling with alcohol fumes and the delicious taste of Edward. There were no coherent thoughts, it was all warm muscles and panic bubbling up. How long had I been standing here? Had I answered him yet? Had I spoken? The cell phone whipped past my head and cracked loudly against the opposite wall.
"Save your fucking tears."
Was I crying? I was scared. Of Jake. Of the truth. "I, I, uh…" I could barely catch my breath as anxiety set in. "I want a divorce Jake!" I gushed out. I was a ball of pathetic tears and it took everything in me not to go on the defensive and start with excuses of our marriage or worse, Jake.
"Well no shit." He bit out. "I was so fucking stupid Bella. Has this been going on since you first told me you wanted one?" I shook my head though I had no idea if I was agreeing or not at this point. "I thought we could fix this. I have worked so hard and been so patient with you and this is how you work on our marriage? This is your way of fixing things? FUCK! Did you seriously fuck someone else?"
He began pacing the small room. His hands continued to clench into fists like he was missing something and I was too scared to look over at my old mangled phone on the ground. He stalked by me to the other side of the room while I stood frozen in place. I was positive at this point, despite my limited control, that I wasn't even blinking. As I attempted to stifle a sob I made an undignified whimpering sound. Jake's head whipped around in my direction, his ire growing. He stomped back toward me and raised his fist, his elbow jacked up high in the air. He moved it quickly, just a fraction of an inch as his face tightened up, and I flinched.
"STOP ACTING LIKE I'M GONNA FUCKING HURT YOU!"
I stood still. I couldn't move. I couldn't think anymore. I just needed this to be over. The room became silent but I couldn't bring myself to turn around or leave the safety of my own head. If I moved then I was reacting to him. If I stayed just as I would he couldn't get to me. He would grow bored and move on and I could eventually collapse in on myself.
"You wanted a divorce? You got it."
As he walked out he swiped his arm at a photo on the wall. I heard the glass break as it hit the floor just before I did.