*This story does contain sensitive subjects so please read with caution. I made an effort to try and stretch my writing muscles for this, but the story may not be for everyone.*
Like I told my amazing Beta's, WO17 and Jessypt, just send me a bill for how many boxes of tissues you go through LOL
Thank you ladies for fitting this in with your hectic schedules right before the holidays.
Rating/ Disclaimer: M for lemons and violence. Huge tissue warning! This story does contain sensitive subjects so please read with caution. SM owns everything
Summary: Tragedy and heartbreak have met Bella and Edward at every turn. Now madly in love and ready to start their lives, everything is looking up. Little do they know the worst is yet to come. A/H M B&E
Watching the Water Gather
She quickly runs into the apartment and hurries to the bathroom. When she realizes she forgot to lock the front door she scrambles back and clicks it in place. He'll be home soon and hates when she leaves the door unlocked; he just wants her to be safe. Going back to the bathroom she takes in her appearance in the mirror, and she doesn't like what she sees.
Her hair is a mess from the wind and the rain outside, and her makeup is smeared. Quickly, she washes the day old makeup off and runs a brush through her long hair. She needs to hurry. She sheds her clothing and runs a wet cloth over her bare skin. She wishes she had time for a shower, but there's none; he'll be home soon.
They've loved each other for as long as they could remember. Their lives had been nothing but pain and heartache the only relief came from one another. She was raised by loving parents, who tragically died. Their death was shocking, and they were unprepared. Their lack of planning had doomed their innocent, young daughter for a cruel life in the foster care system.
Edward was not so fortunate and was a son of a violent man. He was beaten from a young age and never knew the love of a parent. His history was something she didn't like to think about - it hurt her to remember the details of her husband's past, to remember the nights he confided to her about the painful details of his home life.
Their lives intertwined when they were only fourteen. It was Bella's first week at her foster home, and Edward was taken from his father for another temporary stay with a foster family. This was a routine he was used to, so when he heard the crying girl in the next room, it was nothing new to him. He'd spent many nights in many foster homes, and crying children were a fixture.
A foster home to most children was a terrifying place, but to him, to him it was a safe haven - a place away from his father, a week without being beaten, a time to let the bruises heal. Sure, kids gave him a hard time, but he could handle himself against anyone - anyone but his father.
He heard a girl scream "shut up" at the top of her lungs, and the crying suddenly stopped. Thinking he could now sleep, he rolled over. The next thing he knew, the crying had moved to the hallway. Groaning, he got up to follow the noise to let the girl know if she didn't quiet down she would get a lot worse than someone screaming shut up. He'd seen some of these girls get vicious. By the time he made it to the hallway, he heard the front door open and shut. He assumed the girl had made a run for it, but decided to get some fresh air since he was up.
Stepping out into the cold night air, he found a broken looking girl on the steps. When she heard the door her head whipped around, and she scrambled back in obvious fear of the boy.
"Calm down. I'm not going to hurt you," he assured her. Holding his hands up to show her he meant no harm, he sat down next to her.
He had no friends; he had never let anyone in. He couldn't let anyone know the truth of his life. Sure, he went to school bruised and beaten, but no one asked questions - he preferred it that way. He wasn't sure why he wanted to sit next to this girl with pretty, long hair and sad brown eyes, but he did. She didn't fit in there. He didn't know why, but it bothered him that she was stuck in a foster home. He wondered how anyone could abandon her.
"Why are you here?" he asked her softly.
A question he'd never asked another - he had never cared. When she looked at him, she gasped at his badly beaten form. His eye was swollen shut, and his body was badly bruised. She had an instant urge to hug him - to hold him and never let him go. He looked down, ashamed from his appearance. Raising his hand he tried to hide from her.
Not knowing what had come over her she slowly, carefully, reached for his arm pulling it from his face. He looked at her questioningly, leaned back but didn't stop her. For many moments the two sat in wonder, of what they didn't know, but she still wanted to hold him. Leaning in slowly she did just that, and they were inseparable from that moment on.
He was soon sent back home, and she was left alone. She hated the foster home and was tortured by the other children's teasing and cruel jokes at her expense. Most nights, he snuck out of his house and spent the long, dark hours sitting on the front porch with her. Some nights they would share the horrors they faced that day, and some nights one would do anything to make the other laugh. There were good nights when everything just seemed to go right. They could kiss and cuddle like normal teenagers, then there were nights that were so bad neither could speak of what happened to them. During those times they could take comfort in each other's silent company and embrace. For two years she would wait on the steps for him. Every night she would wait, and most nights he came to her.
Sometimes he was fine. Sometimes he was beaten so badly she barely recognized him, but this wasn't what worried her the most. No, what worried her the most were the nights when he didn't show at all. She knew on those nights he wasn't able to come see her, because he was most likely rendered unconscious by the bastard that was his father. She hated that man.
The two told each other everything. They shared their pain, their deepest darkest secrets, their hopes and fears for the future. More than anything, the one thing she hoped and longed for, was the chance to go to school. It was a conversation she'd had with her parents often, and she'd promised them she would go to school. As Edward listened to her talk and he dreamed about it night after night, he vowed to himself he would help her see her dream through.
Their plans crumbled on the eve of her seventeenth birthday. A new boy had moved into the home and had come into her bedroom. He attacked her that night, but she escaped.
When Edward came to see her that night, with a fresh bruise on the right side of his face, she was nowhere to be found. He walked around and waited, but when the sun was threatening to rise he had to go back home before he was caught. His blood ran cold when he saw her on the front steps of the shack that was his home. If his dad saw her and tried anything, there's no saying what he would have done. When he moved closer to her, he saw she was crying. When he saw red mark across her face, the tears on her shirt and pants, his fists clenched and his fury grew. She trusted him with everything in her, and without any hesitation, she broke down on his shoulder and told him of the horrors she had faced that night.
Calmly - well, as calmly as he could manage so as not to scare her, he walked her over to the bushes and instructed her to hide in them.
"No matter what you hear, you stay here, ok?" She didn't like it but agreed.
Softly his hands came up to wipe her tears away. She leaned into his hand and kissed his palm. The rip in her shirt was exposing her, so without hesitation he removed his shirt, pulling it over her head to cover her modesty. She gasped loudly, and the tears flowed faster when she saw the bruises that painted his chest. He knew they couldn't take anymore. He was seventeen and only stayed home with his father so he could protect her. He knew he loved her - he was going to make sure they were ok.
He disappeared into the house, leaving her hidden in the bushes outside. She heard fighting, crashing and swearing. It was all she could do to force herself to stay in the bushes. She promised him she would stay, and so she would. Like a bullet, he came flying from the house, leaping off the steps. He held a bag in his hand and with the other he grabbed her. The two ran down the street that night and never looked back.
They had been on there own since then and married the second they both turned eighteen. It hadn't been easy for either of them, but the struggles had only made them stronger.
With one more look in the mirror she nods, satisfied that he'll like what he sees. She wants to surprise him. He always works so hard to surprise her, to do nice things for her. Today was her last day of school, and now, she's done. She's done well on her tests and he'll be proud. He's worked hard to make this dream a possibility for her. He's put his dreams and hopes to the side to see hers flourish, and tonight she'll thank him.
For weeks she's had to ignore him, her head stuck in a book studying. It was so important to him for her to do well, so he gave her the space she needed to study and he worked the insane number of hours to pay for her schooling. The separation has all but killed them both.
She looks at the clock and knows she has mere seconds before his key slips into the lock and he comes in. She slips out of the bathroom and into the bedroom, dims the lights, lights candles and crawls on the bed. Lying on her back with only the light of the flickering candles across her naked skin, she readies herself for him. The feelings of self-consciousness rush through her, but she forces the thoughts out of her head; she wants this to be what he sees when he comes into the room looking for her.
Minutes pass and he still isn't there. She wonders what could be keeping him. It's not like him to be late and not call. Worried, she stands and starts to pace a little. She goes to the window and peers out into the darkness between the blinds. The wind is violent and the rain blows sideways.
She looks at the light outside of her window and watches the water gather.
Worried, her mind is whirling with all the horrible things that could happen in a big city, and she doesn't even hear him come in. She hears a throat clear behind her and gasps as she turns around.
He looks surprised. "Hello," he says softly, his voice catching in his throat. The candles shed light on his skin with a soft glow, and the dark circles under his eyes stand out, evidence of the long hours he puts in.
She looks down, and her face flushes bright red; disappointment fills her. She wanted to be ready for him - to seduce him. Gathering some courage she stands and walks to him. With his eyes on her, filled with nothing but lust and love, he makes his way to her. Reaching up he loosens the knot on his tie; it feels too tight all of a sudden.
Finally, she reaches him. Wrapping her arms around his neck, she stands on her toes and kisses him in what she hopes is a seductive way. He responds instantly with vigor. He moans into her mouth, and it makes her feel bolder, sexier. Any prior feelings of self consciousness have evaporated. She moves her hands from his neck and slips them under his jacket, pushing it off his shoulders. She goes to remove the tie but he pulls back and places his hand over hers to stop her. Confused, she looks up at him.
Removing the tie himself he pulls it over his head only to slip it around her neck. Slowly, gently, his hands roam up the sides of her body, barely brushing her breasts until he reaches the tie. Looking her straight in the eye he adjusts the knot then takes a step back to take a full look at her. He takes in his wife before him, completely naked, except for his tie and feels his pants tighten. He stares in awe and wants to tell her how beautiful she is, how lucky he feels to have her, but he doesn't have the patience for words - not now. He adjusts himself and licks his lips before crashing them back into hers.
She moans into his mouth and his grip tightens on her. Slowly, she pulls away making him whimper in protest. That is, until he sees what she has planned. Rubbing her body against his, she goes to her knees. His hands fly to her hair. She undoes his belt and frees him. With one last look up to his eyes, the love between them is passed wordlessly. She loves him; he's the only good thing in her life.
His fingers tug on her long hair, guiding her, as she thanks him.
He stops her when he's close. He's loving every second of what she's doing but doesn't want the night to end this way. Running his hand affectionately through her hair and across her cheeks, he softly says her name. When she looks up he slowly , reluctantly steps back. Helping her stand he brings one hand to cradle her head, the other to her breast. He takes his time kissing her. Starting at her neck, he roams her entire body. Her legs almost give out when his hands find their way between her legs. When neither can wait any longer, he gently lays her down on the bed with his body fully covering her.
They make love slowly, taking their time with each other. It isn't something they've been able to do often; both so busy with work and school. Silently, without the other knowing, they both vow to change this. Never again will they let weeks pass without enjoying each other in this way - showing their love this way.
Fully stated and without a word, he wiggles out of her embrace and jumps out of bed. Puzzled, she sits up holding the sheet to her chest.
"What are you doing?" she asks with a laugh, watching him dig through their small closet. She gets distracted by his clothes-less form and doesn't notice that he never responds to her question.
When he finally turns he holds the knee length, strapless, lace, cream dress she wore on their wedding day. They had no money - they never have, but he wouldn't let her marry him without a dress. He made sure she had the dress of her dreams but sadly, there hasn't been an occasion for her to wear it since.
"We're going out," he announces. She stares at him blankly. Going out? They have no money; they can't go out.
"I'll handle it," he promises, cutting her off.
"How will we pay -"
"Please, let me take you out. It's a big day, and we need to celebrate. Please."
Looking into his eyes, there's no way she can deny him this. The desperation to be carefree, to celebrate like so many others get to do. Yes, tonight they should go out.
"Ok," she whispers excitedly, followed by a squeal of excitement. Pulling the dress out of his grasp, she runs to the bathroom for a quick shower, but he has different ideas.
Following her into the shower they start their vow to be close more often right then. As he loves her against the wall of the shower, she kisses his warm shoulder where she watches the water gather.
It takes them a while to get ready but they don't care. Neither one can wipe the smile off their faces as they step outside. Blocking her body with his, as much as he can, from the harsh weather beating down on them, they walk to a restaurant a few blocks up the street. It's a restaurant he's seen her look longingly at every time they walk by. A restaurant he's never been able to take her to.
"Edward, no," she says softly, knowing how far out of budget this is for them, when they find themselves standing in front of the grand windows. Christmas decorations in red and white tastefully adorn the outside, and a glowing warm fire can be seen burning brightly.
He ignores her sensible plea and opens the door urging her forward. Once inside, she finds herself in awe of the garland and rustic feel that surrounds her. She looks around and sees how fashionably the other patrons are dressed and is proud to wear the dress from the best day of her life. Her coat, however, is old and worn. He comes up behind her and helps her shed it, sensing her embarrassment. This is how it works for them. They rarely need words, because they know each other and read each other so well.
"You're gorgeous," he whispers, placing a soft kiss on her bare shoulder. His lips, icy from the cold, make her tingle.
A beautiful hostess, tall and young with a perfect body and shiny blond hair swept back, greets them, taking their coats. She asks for the reservation name, and Bella's stomach drops as she sees his face redden. She wouldn't be bothered if they had to leave. No, she'd be happy with a burger. She just can't stand to see him embarrassed. She can't stand the thought of him feeling bad in any way.
"Uh... we actually don't have a reservation. It was kind of a spur of the moment thing - A celebration."
He comes off smooth, but Bella knows him well. Even when he's flustered on the inside, on the outside, he keeps his composure well.
"Oh dear. We're pretty booked tonight..." She looks like she would truly feel bad for sending the young couple away. The hostess looks behind her, and when she looks back at the couple her expression is one of understanding not judgment. "Can you wait here? I'll see what I can do," she says with a smile.
He nods, grateful for her kindness. When the hostess disappears into the dining area, he turns to his wife.
"I'm sorry." He won't even look into her eyes.
"Hey," she says, trying to get his attention. "We didn't know. We'll still have a great night."
She rubs his arm when he says nothing. He's too hard on himself, always has been. Over his shoulder she can see the hostess coming back. She pushes down the pang of envy she feels towards the naturally beautiful woman.
He turns to face her. He's sure this is the point she'll tell him she's sorry but doesn't have any tables. He doesn't know how he'll make this up to his wife.
"I have a table for you. If you'll follow me this way," she says, gesturing to the dinning room.
Surprised, the couple stands frozen for a moment before they scramble to follow her. He offers her his arm as they make the way to their table. They feel amazing being there for this perfect night.
As they sit, the kind hostess sets menus in front of them. The menus have no prices, and this makes Bella's stomach turn for fear of how much this will cost. He knows without looking at her what she's thinking and brushes her leg under the table with his own. When their eyes meet he winks and mouths "it's fine." Even though he wants this to be special, she's determined to order what she thinks will be the least expensive.
The hostess comes back, brings a water pitcher and an offer of wine. Bella quickly declines before Edward can rush to spoil her. As she pours the water into the fancy glasses she addresses Bella.
"Your dress is very beautiful. I've never seen anything like it."
Bella blushes from the compliment, and the hostess will never know how good it's made her feel.
"Thank you," she says smiling, feeling beautiful.
"Well, my name's Rosalie. Let me know if I can do anything for you two. Have a great night."
They thank her before she disappears back to her station.
The dinner is amazing, probably the best they've ever had. It's not the food or the atmosphere, although both are very nice. It's the fact that this is a turning point for them. They are ready to really start their lives. Both twenty-six coming from nothing, beating all the odds.
They talk of many exciting things - new jobs, a future home and children. They're ready to start a family, and as soon as their finances are better they will. They speak briefly of their own childhoods and vow to make it better for their own children.
They spend over two hours lost in conversation. Their meals were wonderful; neither one could possibly regret this night.
The sounds of their laughs fill the quiet streets as they start their cold walk home. His arm is around her tight, and neither can remember feeling so carefree and happy. It's well after midnight, and there isn't a soul to be seen on the dark streets. The feeling is somewhat eerie. She tucks herself more into his side, feeling safe close to him.
"You're fine," he says softly kissing her forehead. The couple stops by a Christmas tree at a store front. It's as tall as a building and every branch is lit.
"It's beautiful," she says in awe.
"It is,'' he agrees as the two stare up to the top of the tree. It looks as though it's reaching for the sky.
"I love you," he says looking down at her in his arms.
"I love you too. So much." Tears brim in her eyes at the love she feels for him. Their roads have been rough - unbearable even - but being here with him makes it all worth it.
As it starts to silently snow, they ignore it and kiss slow and long beneath the magnificent tree.
He sees movement out of the corner of his eyes and reluctantly pulls away from her. He was taught at a young age to always be hyper aware of his surroundings.
Bella, unaware, lays her head on his chest reveling in the moment. She feels him go stiff, and it makes her head pop up. His jaw is hard set and his eyes are focused to the left of the tree. Following his line of sight, she's sees two young men, smoking, acting anxious and staring intently at them.
"Should we go?" she quietly asks into his coat. Fear grips her. Something's not right about these men.
She can feel him shrug. "Yeah, it's probably a good idea. It's cold anyway," he says, smiling down at her. With one more quick kiss, he wraps his arm protectively around her as they exit, going the opposite way of the men.
He knows they will be followed before he hears the foot steps behind them. He tries not to act alarmed because he doesn't want to scare her. Quickly, he evaluates the situation. Every store around them is closed, and there's no quick escape. When her arms go into a death grip around his waist, he knows she's fully aware of what's happening and she's scared.
He has to make a quick decision, act fast, so he can make the first move. Pushing her behind him against a shop wall, he faces the two men. They're young - no older than twenty. When they see Edward's furious expression, they look at each other and laugh.
"Whatcha gonna do, man?" The taller of the two laughs, taking a step toward Edward.
Edward tenses, pressing Bella harder into the wall.
"Back the fuck up," Edward demands in a deadly low voice.
He'd lived with an abusive man for seventeen years. He and Bella had also found themselves living in rough environments on more than one occasion. Edward knows how to handle himself.
He knows he could beat these two.
That is until he sees the gun come out.
"Back the fuck up or what?" the second man asks calmly, raising the gun so it was pointed directly at Edward's chest.
Bella lets out a scream, and Edward stops breathing. He doesn't know what to do.
"What do you want?"
With no hesitation Edward pulls his old, torn, wallet out of his back pocket and tosses it at the men. Other than a frequent buyer card for the local coffee shop, pictures of Bella and one debit card, Edward doesn't have anything of value in that wallet. Everything valuable to him is behind him, pressed against the cold wall crying.
"What the fuck, man! Where's yo money?" The man without the gun demands after throwing the emptied wallet on the ground.
"We don't have any!" Bella shouts. Edward reaches down and squeezes her bare leg hard enough to indicate he doesn't want her conversing with the angry men, with guns, in front of him.
"What do you mean you don't have any, bitch! We saw you two walking out of that place!"
It hits Edward like a ton of bricks as his face drains of color. They had followed them from the restaurant. Bella's fancy dress, the expensive dinner... they could have been following them all night, and he wouldn't have known it. He is angry at himself for being so dumb, for not paying better attention, for not protecting his wife like he'd always promised.
"Listen," Edward says in a calm voice. "This is all we have." He pulls his shirt sleeves up to show he has no watch or jewelry. "I'll tell you my pin, whatever you want. Just take what we have and let us go."
"Yeah, well, what if we want her," the one with the gun says, motioning to Bella, using the gun as a pointer.
"That's not gonna happen." Edward's hands ball into fists. He can tell they won't make it out of here unscathed, and his only worry is getting her out safely.
From the alley on the block, there's a loud noise. The gunman flinches, distracted by the noise, and Edward takes this as his chance. Flying forward, he goes for the gun.
With a deafening blast the gun goes off.
Bella hears screaming, and it takes her a second to realize it's coming from her.
"What the fuck! You weren't really supposed to shoot the guy!"
"I.. I... Shit! Shit! I didn't mean to fucking shoot him! He fucking came at me!"
"Shit! Fucking shit! We gotta get the fuck outta here!"
Bella could hear them, but she didn't see their retreat. She was frozen watching the red ooze from Edward's shirt. Falling to his side, she tries to assess the damage. He's shot in the chest but the blood - there's so much blood she can't see where the wound is.
She screams at the top of her lungs for help. She has no phone; there's no one around. She continues to scream as she rips her coat off and forces pressure where she thinks the wound is. Out of the corner of her eye, she sees a form step from the alley, the source of the noise, probably.
"I'll find help!" the man shouts. He looks homeless, and Bella couldn't give less of a shit. She needs help.
He's shaking now. Violently so. She lies on top of him trying to keep him warm. He's awake but not speaking. His eyes burn with intensity into hers.
She lays over him and tries to soothe him when he starts gurgling.
So much; it's everywhere.
"Shh, it's ok," she sobs even though she knows it's far from it. "Help is coming. Just stay with me."
He struggles to speak as she runs her hands through his hair and kisses his lips, cheeks, forehead, hands. She screams at the top of her lungs for help then goes back to doing whatever she can to help him.
"I... I... lllloo..."
"Shhh," she tries to get him to stop.
She doesn't want to hear it.
To hear the end -
With all of his strength, he grabs her hand holding it to his lips.
"Llllove you... you forrrevver," he says as blood starts to spill from the corner of his lip.
She cries out with a pain she's never felt before.
Lying on top of him she begs.
She offers her soul to anyone willing to take it in exchange for him.
No one listens.
No one accepts her offer.
She tells him he's everything. She continues to kiss him. She lies on her side next to him.
As the snow hits his beautiful face, it melts into pools under his closed eyes. She hears the sirens coming as she watches the water gather.
She sits pointlessly in the hospital, waiting for an answer.
She can feel it.
They have a bond that doesn't fit in any box. It can't be described by words. It's a tie that has bound them, making them one. It's gone. She knows it's over.
She's lost her parents. She's lost her friends. She's lost everything she's ever known, but this is the first time in her life she's ever felt alone.
She is alone.
She knows this.
As she sits in the waiting room that smells like a pet store, rotten with urine and masked with bleach, she stares. She wants to cry. She wants to scream. She wants to be violent, but she can only stare. Looking down at the dress she wore when she tied herself to him in every worldly way, she gasps. The beautiful cream he loved so much on her is now stained red. It's red with his blood. Curling into herself, laying on the dirty bench, the tears come. They don't stop.
In time, she doesn't know how long, the doctor comes and informs her of what she already knows.
Of course, she blames herself.
She hears all the typical things one would imagine.
"You did everything you could."
She looks the doctor in the eye then turns and walks out of the hospital. She can hear the doctor shouting her name.
No, his name.
She doesn't turn. There's nothing more for her there.
She can feel the cold; she can feel her body shake, but it's not registering for her. Before she knows it, she's standing in front of their apartment door. She's not sure how she got home or how long it took. Holding his wallet she enters their home. Gently, she lays the wallet on the counter next to his breakfast dishes from that morning. They left it; he's dead, and they didn't even take his wallet.
The shoes he slipped off after work are sitting in the middle of the walkway. With a sob she picks them up, cradling them to her chest as she slides down the wall. There's no telling how much time has passed when she lines them up with the rest of his shoes against the wall. She makes them line up perfectly. Left next to right. She wishes the perfection would make the shoes necessary again.
They won't ever be.
Walking into the room she collapses, seeing his clothes thrown all over the room. The bed is still in disarray from their passion. It hurts worse for her to go into this room, but she does anyway.
Nothing can break someone who is completely broken.
Lying in their bed, on his side, she wraps herself in his clothing, his pillows, his blankets. She talks to him. She's not sure if it's out loud or a prayer within her mind, but she speaks to him.
She thanks him.
He saved her.
She wishes he didn't.
It could be the next day, or it could still be the same night when she goes into the bathroom. She's unrecognizable. Her face is swollen from the tears that will no longer physically fall; her eyes bright red and painful to open. Her arms, neck, dress, hands are all covered in the evidence of his death. Terrified from her own reflection, she backs up until her back hits the wall.
She needs someone.
She has no one.
Reaching behind her she gently pulls the zipper down on the most precious gift he bought her. Filling the sink with cold water she stands naked, desperately determined to get the stains out of the dress. The sink water turns pink, and she can't handle the reality of the situation.
Falling to the floor, she curls in a ball and prays for someone to take her away.
She wants to find the men and ask them to kill her as well. How cruel to take him and leave her on this earth alone. He's her everything.
With no strength left in her weak body, mind, or spirit, she crawls to the shower. Reaching up she turns the spray on. Lying on the floor of the shower, she's blasted with hot spray. Pink water rushes down the drain. Her skin is free of the blood, but she isn't clean. She can still feel it. She stares at the shower wall and remembers every detail of every day they ever spent together.
She laughs at the good, cries with the sad, and screams with anger.
She cries out for him.
She cries out for a sign that he's still with her.
In some way.
In any way.
It never comes.
There's no moving forward. There's no moving on. He will always be everything.
Lying on the shower floor she feels the water go ice cold, but she doesn't care. She remembers a story she learned as a girl about water safety. She learned how someone could drown in only an inch of water.
Laying her head on her arm, his name a whisper on her lips, she hopes for this, as she watches the water gather.
Even with the tragic ending I hope you guys still enjoyed reading.
I would love to hear what you think