A/N: Nothing is mine. Everything belongs to Stephenie Meyer, characters, references, mannerism, etc. The song that inspired this story is Jerrod Niemann's What Do You Want From Me? Thanks for reading, hope you enjoy!
Another blurred day has gone by. Every day is the same anymore, a mind-numbing monotonous march through another day tediously working in the mill. How many logs can you transfer, how many planks can you slice, how many blades can you replace, how much sawdust can you possibly dump before life begins to make sense?
I ponder over how much time has passed. What day of the week is it? What month for Christ's sake? Nothing feels the same, tastes the same, smells the same without her.
This frustrates me more than anything else. Why can I not just get over her? Why can I not forget her? It seems like I can't go more than five minutes without being reminded of her anymore. The color of the chestnut wood reminds me of her hair. The pale glint of the moon reminds me of her skin. The cool smell of the spring breeze that permeates the air reminds me of the smell of her skin. Hell, I can't even eat strawberries without being reminded of the scent of her shampoo.
I slam the fridge door as I finish retrieving my daily after work beer. I quickly pop the top off with the magnetic bottle opener, letting the metal lid fall to the ground and replacing the bottle opener back on the fridge.
I make my way over to the couch, pulling off my flannel work shirt as I go, leaving me in my jeans and a white wife-beater. The remote lies on the back of the cushion where I always leave it. I flip through channel after channel only taking one second of program before I change it, seeing if something catches my eye. Small furry flying creature, woman crying on man's shoulder, kids cheering at an unidentified purple thing, a man in a suit dancing, a woman twirling in a skirt, a baby crawling towards a dog. This continues for a few minutes until I get back to the channel I started on. I flip the TV off and replace the remote on the back of the couch and let my head fall backward, staring at the ceiling.
I close my eyes and her face is seared in the back of my eyelids. I open my eyes and sigh as I look straight ahead. I bring the opening of the bottle to my lips and take a swig before a ringing breaks me out of my thoughts. I glance around looking for the handheld. It's sitting on the coffee table in front of me. I quickly lean forward and snatch the phone off the table.
I glance down at the number before answering and freeze. Oh God, those ten digits make my heart speed up and I can feel my pulse in my throat. It rings again and I'm reminded that I have to do something in order to answer. My finger tremulously moves toward the little green button. When the ringing stops and the word 'Connected' takes the place of the numbers glaring at me, I slowly bring the phone up to my ear.
"Hello?" I croak.
"Edward?" Her perfect voice echoes through to me and my heart clenches. I close my eyes to fight back the rush of feelings that is threatening to break through the dam.
"Bella." I finally manage to answer her. The only thing I can manage to answer. An awkward pause causes the sound of the blood rushing through my ears to roar.
"How are you?" She finally breaks the silence.
I swallow thickly before answering. "I'm…" Shit, what do I say? That I'm good, that I'm content? That I'm surviving on the fence? That I wish she would've stayed? "I'm okay." I let out a breath I had been holding.
"Okay?" She questions.
"Yeah." I nod more to convince myself than her.
"That's good…I guess. How's your job?" She continues the small talk.
"Fine I suppose. I got a promotion which came with a nice raise." Why I'm telling her this I don't know. Actually I do, it's so she knows that I'm in a better place job wise and money wise. Maybe if she knows that-NO! I have to stop this vicious circle here. "Why did you call Bella?" I ask more confidently.
Her breath hitches. "I didn't know I needed a reason to call you. I thought that I'd just check in to see how you were doing."
"Well that would've been alright if things hadn't ended the way they did." I burst.
"I'm sorry Edward. I just-" She pauses and takes a breath. "I just miss you is all."
I close my eyes and hold my breath. My throat lodges and I can't force a syllable out. She takes this as her opportunity to work me down more.
"I miss you Edward. I miss us. I drove past our old spot today. It looked abandoned. It made me so sad Edward. All the things we shared, all the time we spent together. It's really been coming back to me lately."
"Stop." I cut her off with a choking sob. The memories never left me, they've remained in my head always sucker punching me from around a corner whenever I try to do something productive. "Why do you do this?" The plea falls from my lips before I can stop it.
"Edward?" Her voice echoes sadly to me from across the distance. "Can I come over?"
"I don't know if that's such a good idea." I answer quietly. I know it's not a good idea, but the thought of seeing her, of being in the same room with her again sends a trill of excitement from my head to my toes.
"I'll be there in twenty." The line goes dead before I can rebut. I stare at the phone frozen to my hand as my mind plays catch-up to what just happened. I need support. I need…Jasper. I quickly dial Jasper's number and shove the phone between my shoulder and ear.
"Hellur?" He groggily answers after a few rings.
"Jazz code red." I quickly answer as I haphazardly throw the dirty dishes from the sink into the dish washer.
"Whaa?" He asks still not quite alert.
"Bella is on her way over." I answer as I feverishly scrub at the counter.
"WHAT?" He shouts causing me to drop the receiver on the floor in an attempt to get away from his outburst. I scramble to pick it up and return it to my ear. "Edward?" Jasper's voice urgently asks.
"Yeah, sorry. Dropped the phone at ur bitch-like response to my dilemma." I huff as I begin sweeping. I put on a tea kettle, orange spice is her favorite. What the hell is wrong with me? I give up in the kitchen feeling that it's in showable order.
"So what the fuck is going on?" Jasper asks more calmly.
"Bella called me about ten minutes ago. She's on her way over." I answer as I begin fluffing cushions, picking up empty beer bottles, old pizza boxes and straightening magazines.
"What the hell? What did you say?" He demands.
"I told her I didn't think it was a very good idea." I reply lamely.
"Damn straight it's not a good idea. Edward, she broke you, pulverized you even."
"Don't you think I know that?" I growl in response. "She said she missed me, missed us."
"And you believe her?"
"I don't know." I shrug as I head to my room. I shove dirty clothes into the corner of my closet and jam the doors shut. "I mean I'd like to."
"Of course you'd like to, but the fact of the matter is, you're not in a position to trust anything she says at this point. How many times do you have to take her back only for her to leave again? How many times do I have to watch you fall apart at the seams before you get it?"
"Jasper I know that's happened before, but this time is different." I whine as I quickly straighten the comforter and fluff the pillows.
"Bullshit." Jasper fires back. "Just fucking bullshit." I wander back out the kitchen to make sure the tea isn't boiling over.
"Jazz, I can't just let her go again. I've done that, more than once. It kills me every time, but I can't stop myself. You know what she does to me, how she makes me feel."
"Yeah, I know perfectly well how she makes you feel. Like shit. Like hell. Worthless. Edward you know I love you man, but I can't watch you do this to yourself again. I already tried to help you move on with Tanya. And Jane. And Leah."
"I understand." I set my jaw and run my hands through my messy hair trying to tame it a little before she arrives. "But they're not her."
"Fuuuck, you're killing me here dude." Jasper huffs. "Call me when you get done shooting yourself in the foot."
"Yeah, alright." I answer, knowing that by this time tomorrow I'll be tossing back my fifth or sixth shot while Jasper reminds me of all the things I won't be missing from her.
I don't have time to ruminate over this fact anymore as there's a small knock at the front door. I tense but manage to move my legs the dozen or so steps. I slowly open the door and the sight of her is like a wrecking ball to all of the thoughts I may have had thirty seconds ago.
"Hey." She whispers softly.
"Hey," I breathily whisper. "Come in."
"Thanks." She answers before allowing herself to pass by me. I take in every aspect of her, not believing she's finally here. I admire her mahogany hair, the way it flows so evenly and naturally. She's wearing a white tank and a pair of jeans that hug her legs and hips in all the right ways. Her body makes my entire being thrum to life with need. I forgot how much she affected me physically. I find it hard to not just reach out and stroke her, any part of her.
As she enters the living room she turns around. I take in every aspect of her facial features, noticing the slight difference since the last time I saw her a little over a year ago. Her hair is shorter. Her lips still look soft and kissable. Her cheek still emulates that blush that I love so much. Her eyes are like brown pools of lava, setting me on fire.
"We match." She giggles. I look down at myself then back to her.
"Huh, yeah." I scoff. I can't think of anything more to answer with so I don't.
"You've done some work to the place." She states matter-of-factly, changing the topic of conversation.
"Um, yeah." I smile sheepishly. "New flooring, new wiring, new entertainment system, completely new kitchen and bathroom." Bathroom, shit. That's what I forgot to make sure was clean. I nervously rake my hands through my hair. "Go ahead and have a seat. I'll be back in a minute." With that I turn and head to the guest bathroom.
I switch the light on and enter. I prop my hands on the counter and lean over the sink, staring down at the drain. "Fuck!" I whisper forcefully to myself. She's here, in my house, our house, the house I bought for us to start our lives in. Apparently it wasn't enough for her, I wasn't enough for her. I slam the cold water tap on and splash some cold water on my face before toweling off and straightening up. I make sure the toilet seat is down and the toilet paper is well stocked before turning to go back out.
I turn around the corner to see that she's not in the living room. I search for her in the kitchen, she's not there either. Where did she go? Did she decide against this? I peek out the curtains and notice her truck is still out there. I go in search of her again. As I look down the hallway towards my room I notice the light in my office is on and the door is open. I shuffle toward it.
I push the door the rest of the way open and see her. She's looking at the pictures on the walls, her arms wrapped around her. Her back is to me so she doesn't see that I've entered. I take a couple steps and stand behind her, quietly allowing myself to thrill at being this close to her. Her strawberry shampoo that I vividly remember wafts into my senses.
"That's my favorite one of them." I break the silence as I comment on the picture that she's looking at of my parents on the day they pledged their vows for the second time. They look so happy, just staring into one another's eyes and smiling, lost in each other. I remember at the time thinking that someday Bella and I would have that. She jumps slightly and turns to see me.
"It is a good one." She finally answers before letting her arms drop.
"Would you like a drink?" I ask just as the telltale whistle from the teakettle begins to crow its completion. "Orange spice."
"Yeah," she smiles warmly. "That would be great." I let her lead the way out and flip off the light off. We make our way to the intimate but comfortable kitchen. She leans against the counter as I gather the cups and tea bags. I busily keep my mind on this small task, not wanting to meet her gaze yet. I carefully pour the scalding water into the cups and watch the orange inky color tint the water. When they are both full I replace the teakettle on the stove and hand her a cup. She smiles and takes it, causing our hands to brush. The familiar but forgotten spark of electricity zings to life at the slightest touch of her hand.
She must feel it too because she freezes and her breath hitches a little before allowing herself to grasp the cup fully and then break the connection. I sigh and lead her into the living room, taking a seat on the couch. She sits on the other end, pulls her feet up to her and rests her cup on her knees before blowing on it and taking a small sip.
There's an awkward silence as we just look at each other. I finally break it.
"So what have you been up to? Still working the internship thing at the firm?" I ask before taking a sip. I never did care much for this stuff, but she loves it.
"No, I'm working as an assistant at a publishing company." She answers.
"Well that's right up your alley." I chuckle. She loved books. I remember when we were kids, she always had her head in a book. Part of the reason she was so clumsy was because she would never watch where she was going while reading.
"Yeah, I love it. I'm almost done with school, hoping to one day get a job as a junior editor."
"That's great." I say almost overenthusiastically.
"Thanks." She responds into her cup as she takes another drink.
"How's your brother?" I ask still trying to lead the conversation it seems.
"He's doing well. He and Rose are expecting their first baby in a few months."
"Wow, that's great! Good for them!" I answer again with the overenthusiasm.
Before I can think of anything else to say she blurts, "Are you seeing anyone?"
I choke on my swig of orange blossom tea or whatever this crap is. "Um, not really." I reply.
"What does 'not really' mean?" She asks her interest piqued.
"Well," I huff not wanting to get into this subject matter. "Jazz and I have gone out with a couple girls. I didn't hit it off with any of them. He found a girl he's head over heels for. Short little thing, black pixie hair and an energy store that rivals that of the energizer bunny." I answer. Bella chuckles in appreciation.
"What about you?" I put her in the hot seat, see how she likes it.
"Well there is this one." She tilts her head and squints. "Jacob. He's a nice guy. He bought the mechanic shop I've always taken my truck to. He has a crush on Old Beauty." She refers to the nickname for her car that I originated. Anyway, we've gone out a few times and it's starting to get kind of serious. I think he's more invested."
I stand suddenly, not wanting to hear this bullshit. I stride into the kitchen, rip the door open and grab a beer before repeating the same motion I have every night for the past I don't know how long. I uncap it and take a long pull.
"Edward?" Her voice asks from behind me. I turn to see her leaning against the doorjamb. I want to kick the shit out of myself for thinking she came back here because she wanted a second chance.
Before I can stop myself, my filter has malfunctioned. "Why are you here Bella? Are you here to tell me that you've moved on? That I'm some used-to-be you need closure with so that you can feel better?"
"No-" She begins.
"I'm so stupid." I admit out loud. "Why do I keep letting you do this to me? Do you realize what you do to me? How you make me feel? I'm so over being your filler for when you're lonely. I don't want to spend the night thinking you've changed, that we've changed and then wake up to an empty bed and a note. Do you understand me?" I fume as I pace back and forth across the kitchen pointing my beer at her.
"What do you want? Huh Bella? What do you want from me?" I finally ask as I let my hands prop me against the counter and my head falls so that I'm looking at my feet. I deflate at my request to put me out of my misery.
I feel her small hands on my back as she tries in vain to mold her petite form to my six-foot-two frame. "I'm sorry." Her words cling to the air and I feel the tear sting the corner of my eye. "I'm so sorry Edward. I was scared. I didn't know what I wanted. I felt like I was being pushed to this, like I didn't have control over it. I came back to you those times because I needed reassurance."
"Reassurance for what Bella?" I say as I spin around and face her. "That I was still an option? That you could come crawling back anytime you wanted and I'd still be here, waiting for you?" She lowers her eyes, confirming my theory.
"Just go." I breathe as I turn to walk out.
"What?" She asks surprised.
"Just go Bella. Save us both the time. Leave now instead of slipping out sometime in the night or morning. I can't say goodbye to you again Bella. It's too hard." With that I walk back to the master bedroom and sit on the edge of the bed. I leave my feet on the floor as I lay back and put my arm over my eyes. I can't believe I just told the woman that I've been in love with for six years to walk out of my life. The pain in my chest is immeasurable. I take a grief stricken breath and sit back up, my eyes opening in surprise.
She's standing there, in front of me. "I thought I told you to leave?" I whisper.
"Edward, I came here because I don't love him. I love you." I hadn't heard those words come from her for at least two maybe three years. I can't process what she's just said to me. I snap my mouth shut and close my eyes.
"Did you hear me?" She asks. "Edward, I said I love-"
"Yes I heard." I cut her off. "That was a low blow Isabella. You've really come far from just showing up and batting your eyes to get your way with me."
"It's not like that this time." She answers.
"Prove it." I challenge. Her eyes never leave mine as she reaches into her pocket. She brings her right hand to her left momentarily and I look down. The diamond I bought her, the one I asked her to marry me with is sitting on her ring finger. I can't speak, I can't move, I'm completely floored. But even though my brain has malfunctioned, the part of me that is so damaged by this woman is still afraid. He doesn't want to trust her, he couldn't take another hit as big as this one. If she disappeared in the morning then he wouldn't be able to survive.
"I want this Edward. I want us. I want it all with you." She whispers as she moves closer. I put my hands out to her waist to stop her advances. "Please Edward, tell me I haven't lost you completely. Please tell me I can make it up to you."
I hold my breath for a moment, weighing my options. Once I've decided I look up to meet her eyes. "You can try." I answer.
With that she bends down, my eyes close and her lips meet mine. Her kiss is soft, light. She's testing my reaction. I don't move, I just feel. Feel her trying to do the convincing to stay for once, rather than me.
"Edward, I love you." She whispers as she pulls back.
"I love you too." I manage to choke out. With those words any resolve I had left is broken. Her lips meet mine again and I can't help but throw myself into this one. She wants me, she loves me. My heart is soaring out of my chest right now.
Rather than push, my hands begin to pull. She advances willingly, our lips never leaving one another. She lifts her legs on either side of mine and sits on my lap, letting her hands glide over my shoulders, arms, chest, back. I revel in her touch, thrive for it. She grips handfuls of my shirt and begins to lift slowly. I reach my arms up and let her set me free. After tossing her shirt on the floor next to mine we return to the soft kisses again.
"Edward let me love you." She whimpers. "Let me show you how much I've missed you. How much you mean to me." I nod against her lips because my mind can't form words with how much this girl is affecting every part of me. She stands from my legs and slowly begins undoing the button at the front of her jeans. I lick my lips to try and keep my mouth from going dry. As soon as the waist of her jeans is pushed below her hips, the glands in my mouth kick back into salivating mode. Based on the white and black satin panty and bra set she's donning, she was expecting the night to end up like this.
She reaches out with both hands and pushes my shoulders back. I willingly fall over as she follows me, letting her body stretch across mine, her breasts press into chest. I trail my hands down her back and up again, absorbing every moment of being with her like this.
She kisses from my lips, to my jaw, down my throat, past my collarbone, over my chest. Her lips caress the flat lines of my abdomen as she begins releasing the button and zipper of my jeans. When she's finally rid me of my pants she sighs in contentment. Her warm hand runs along the underside of my anatomy. I groan and close my eyes.
I look up just in time to see her smile before delving her hand down the front of my briefs and grabbing hold of me completely. My breath hitches and I clench my jaw to keep from crying out. She begins stroking up and down, pulling soft whimpers from my lips. When she reaches beneath me and pulls at the only piece of material left on me I adhere. The second all of my clothes have hit the floor, her lips meet the head of me. She smiles again and traces her hands along my thighs as she begins to suck and lick at me lightly. I sit up slightly so that I can watch her. She looks lovingly into my eyes as she sinks her entire mouth down onto me. I groan and push my hand through her hair. Why did I ever let her walk away from me so many times? She's gorgeous and perfect and amazing and everything I could ever want.
As that realization dons on me I pull her chin from me and lift her so that her lips meet mine. My hands wind their way to the small clasp at the curve of her shoulder blades and I release her as well. I want nothing more than to take her into my mouth as well. I slowly kiss each perfect peak and twirl my tongue around the small beads of pleasure. Her hands roam through my hair and her back arches into my body.
She pushes me away again and shimmies her hips as her panties fall to the ground. I pull her back onto my bed and she follows me on her knees. I think she's going to lay next to me but instead she hitches one leg over my right leg and the other over my left. She slowly inches her way back up my body, leaving kisses and nips. Finally, she reaches my face and kisses me with a passion I had long forgotten she could emulate.
As I get drunk on her kiss I don't register that she has positioned herself perfectly above me. She sinks down and we moan into each other's mouths at the feeling of euphoria.
"I love you so much Edward. I can't believe how stupid I was. Please, please forgive me baby." She whispers against my lips.
"I love you. I want you. Please keep going for me sweetheart." She shivers as she pulls away and moans again as she returns. Her hips move slowly, her kisses are languid, her touches are soft and reverent. In this moment I have felt more love from her than in any other we've shared. I wrap my arm around her lower back and the other under her thigh as I pull her to me over and over, never wanting to leave the warmth of her embrace again.
"Ed…Edward." She whimpers. "I'm close baby."
"Yes," I sigh not wanting it to be over this soon but knowing that as soon as she climaxes I won't be far behind.
Her movements become more erratic as she spins out of control. I thrust into her with a little more force as her body begins to unravel and her movements become more scattered.
"I love you, I love you, I love you…" She softly purrs as she orgasms, causing her body to squeeze mine tightly and the inferno that has been racketing up in the pit of my stomach and groin finally backdrafts through my entire body. I throw my head back and yell her name to the heavens.
As we both try to steady our labored breathing she curls up to me, not having retracted me from inside of her. I sigh in contentment as I let my hands trace up and down her back.
"Thank you Edward." She sighs into the night.
"Thank you my love." I answer as sleep draws me in. I know tonight will be a night of dreamless sleep. A night I won't wake up in a cold sweat as I watch her walk out the door. The moment I awake will be when the dreams begin or the nightmares come back to haunt me worse than ever.