'Behind The Lyrics' Contest
Title: Missing Him
Disclaimer: I'm not Stephenie Meyer but I think you already know that. She gets all the money, not me.
Lyric prompt that you were given: "Then there was this kiss. Said he couldn't resist. And was I aware of what I missed?"
Summary: Six years ago, Edward made the biggest mistake of his life. Is it too late to make amends?
Edward Cullen took a deep breath and opened the car door. Even the slightest breeze was a relief compared to the stifling heat he'd sat in for the last hour. This was the third day he'd sat in his car, staring at the small house, but only the first time he'd actually gotten out of the silver Volvo. The previous two days he'd sped away after only a few minutes, like the coward he was. Time was running out; soon, he'd have to return to Chicago whether he succeeded in his task or not.
Miles separated his car and the house. One by one, each agonizing step brought him closer to the door.
Left foot. Right foot.
The road was unlined, giving him no indication of when he'd reached the halfway point.
Left foot. Right foot.
What would he say?
Left foot. Right foot.
Edward reached the driveway. It was old and in need of repair. Several cracks covered the pavement, crossing each other like roads on a map.
Left foot. Right foot.
How would he react?
Left foot. Right foot.
Edward kicked a smattering of pebbles. Some bounced off the tires of an old sedan sitting in the driveway.
At the top of the driveway were three steps to the front porch.
Finally, and yet somehow suddenly, Edward stood in front of the door. He still felt unprepared. How could he begin to apologize for a mistake that he made six years ago? Were there even words to adequately describe the regret he felt?
Closing his eyes, he raised his hand to knock on the door. This could be the end of six years of missing something. Of missing someone.
His hand lowered. What was he thinking, coming here unannounced, uninvited?
This could be the moment his heart is crushed forever.
Would that really be any worse than the empty shell he'd become?
Was it truly only four days ago that he'd admitted to himself how lonely he was? Hadn't it been a lifetime ago that he'd been sitting at the piano, working out the bridge of his new composition?
The first movement of his piece was damned near perfect. It was haunting yet contained a certain beauty. Edward knew how he wanted the next movement to flow, but the transition to that richer, deeper section caused him difficulty.
He'd been so focused on his music that he hadn't heard the door of the studio open. He hadn't even noticed that anyone had entered the little studio until Aro, the director of his academic program, sat next to him on the piano bench.
Edward's hands froze on the keys immediately.
"Please, don't stop on account of me, dear Edward," Aro said, placing a hand on Edward's shoulder. "It is really quite lovely. Do you have a name for it?"
Edward attempted to wiggle out from the older man's touch inconspicuously but failed. He hoped to distract Aro from his uneasy reaction by clearing his throat as he scooted closer the opposite end of the bench. "No. I usually don't name my pieces until they're complete. This one is giving me difficulty."
"Ah, yes. And it will consume you until you have fine-tuned it down to the final chord, I'm sure."
Edward gave a small smile, instantly feeling guilty for reacting so rudely. Although he'd never felt completely comfortable around his director, Aro had never given him any reason to distrust him. Occasionally, things Aro said seemed to have a double meaning, but Edward had come to believe that he was imagining it.
"Is there a story behind the music? That often helps."
Edward struggled to find the words to succinctly sum up the emotions stirred by the music in his head. "Hope," was the best he could come up with.
Aro laid his arm across Edward's shoulders. Edward hadn't noticed that he'd slid closer again. "Would you play it for me? Perhaps I could help?"
Edward blushed, feeling both shy about his music and awkward about Aro's closeness. "I, uh… I don't really like playing my music in front of other people, while I'm still working it out."
Aro chuckled. "Sweet boy, there are times we can't do it alone. Times when joining forces can give us all the help we need."
Edward was so busy convincing himself that his paranoia was getting the better of him that he didn't even realize Aro was moving closer. His brain caught up when Aro cupped the back of his neck and brought their lips together. At the touch of Aro's tongue against his mouth, Edward snapped awake. He pushed away roughly and stood up, backing away a few steps.
"Sir, I –"
Aro held up his hands in apology. "Forgive me. A bit too forward, I realize. You are so hard to resist, my boy."
Edward backed away a few steps, shaking his head. His hands trembled. "I can't."
Aro stood as well, but to Edward's relief, he did not step closer. "This is a sadness. I could help you in a great many ways, Edward. Can you imagine the possibilities?"
"No. I can't do that," Edward repeated.
Aro headed for the door. Before he opened it, he turned back to Edward. "Such a waste," he sighed. "Are you even aware of what you're missing?"
After Aro left, Edward could only hear one thing, a single thought repeating over and over in his head with every heartbeat.
What I'm missing.
That night, Edward's sleep was fitful. Every time he fell asleep, he dreamed of the beautiful blond boy he'd left behind. Every time the haunted blue eyes stared into his, he jolted awake, sweating and panting.
All day, he tried to go about his business as if nothing had changed. Because of course, nothing had changed. He was still Edward. Still working towards his Master of Music in composition. Still alone.
And yet, everything had changed. The blindfold had been removed. Edward could no longer fool himself into believing everything was just fine, that he was just fine. He'd realized.
What I'm missing.
He lay in bed in the dark, staring at the ceiling that he couldn't really see. He thought about the soft hair he used to love to run his fingers through. How had it felt, exactly? Like silk? Like velvet? And what had he sounded like? Why couldn't Edward remember the exact timbre of his voice?
The yearning to hear his voice overpowered Edward, and he grabbed his phone before he could change his mind. He punched in the numbers, still automatic after all this time. Only then did he consider the time and thank the gods of the time zones that meant it was only eight-thirty in Forks.
The woman who answered did not sound familiar. She informed Edward that her family had lived there for five years, and she had no knowledge of the previous owners or their whereabouts.
Frustrated, Edward tossed his phone on the desk. It bumped his mouse, which turned off the screensaver on his computer. He sighed. There was nothing better to do, and sleep wasn't going to come anytime soon, so why not check his email?
He was surprised to find an email from Facebook stating he had a message from Alice Brandon. He'd signed up for the website, as did many of his classmates, shortly before high school graduation. In the weeks that followed, he'd realized he didn't really care to keep in touch with any of them…except for one person, and Edward himself had declared him off limits.
He smiled as he thought of Alice, feeling almost nostalgic for her bubbly and know-it-all personality. Her message was short and to the point; it made Edward's knees weak.
Here's his address as of a couple years ago.
He packed enough clothes to get him through a few days, and then he set out. He took advantage of the late hour and empty highways on the way to Ithaca, only slowing down to eighty miles an hour when other cars were in sight. Edward prayed to all that was holy that Alice had given him the correct address.
Edward took another breath, steeling himself. He rapped on the door three times, but with the way his heart was thumping, he barely heard his own hand hit the door. He counted his heartbeats. How many before he could say he waited long enough? How many were too many?
He'd nearly lost his nerve again and was about to turn around when the door opened. He sucked in his breath in anticipation but then huffed in disappointment.
This was not him.
The man who answered the door was tall, but not tall enough, with short brown hair and careful brown eyes. He studied Edward up and down. "Can I help you?" His tone wasn't exactly rude, but Edward was glad he wasn't a door-to-door salesman.
A sick feeling began to form in the pit of Edward's stomach. "I'm looking for Jasper Whitlock. This is the most current address I've found for him." Edward's voice was stronger than he'd expected, hiding the turmoil within him. "Do you know him?"
"And you are?"
On any other day, Edward would have put this obnoxious man in his place. "I went to high school with Jasper. I'd like to…reconnect with him."
The man's eyes narrowed. "And where was that?"
Edward's fists clenched. Anxiety was fading into anger. What was this, some kind of test? "Forks, Washington. Would you like a fucking transcript?"
The brown-haired man nodded curtly and turned away. "Jasper!"
The realization that in just moments he'd be face-to-face with the only person he'd ever loved hit Edward full force. He swallowed hard and swore not to break down. Hopefully, he'd be able to talk to Jasper privately, but this guy was beginning to feel like some kind of bodyguard.
Edward had to blink twice when Jasper walked up behind the stranger. He looked exactly like Jasper. He looked nothing like Jasper.
The soft blond curls that used to graze his ears now hung to his shoulders in limp waves. His lips were still full and wide and beautiful, but his face seemed thinner. He seemed smaller all around, even shorter somehow. The worst of all were his eyes. His blue eyes had once been bright, twinkling, and so deep Edward could stare into them for hours. Now they were dull and guarded.
The sick feeling in Edward's stomach spread to the rest of his body as he watched Jasper wrap his arms around the other man's waist.
Jasper had moved on.
The briefest flicker of softness crossing Jasper's face was the only thing that kept Edward from throwing up all over the shoes of Jasper's…boyfriend. He was desperate for any hope, any chance he might have Jasper back, no matter how minute.
The silence stretched between them. Jasper simply looked at Edward. Edward studied Jasper's eyes, looking for any sign of forgiveness. Mr. Bodyguard glanced at Jasper, but before he could say anything, Jasper finally spoke.
"What are you doing here?" was all he said. His voice was flat. No emotion.
"I had to find you. Can we go somewhere? To talk?"
He sighed. "There's nothing to talk about, Edward."
Mr. Bodyguard's head snapped forward and the look of fury made Edward step back instinctively, even before his hand slammed against the doorframe as if to prevent Edward from reaching Jasper. "Edward? The Edward?"
Jasper pulled the arm down. "Peter, please don't," he said quietly. He turned to Edward. "Just leave. Now."
"Don't come back here," Peter added before shutting the door in Edward's face.
Edward stood still as a statue for several minutes. He was breathing, but he couldn't feel any oxygen entering his lungs. Jasper's rejection hung in the air, making it heavy.
He turned and walked down the porch steps without seeing them.
Down the driveway; past the sedan; past the pebbles.
Across the street.
What had been miles was now merely feet. He sat in his car without even remembering how he got there.
How had things gone so wrong? A week ago, he didn't have Jasper and he was just fine. Or well enough, at least. Had he hoped, deep down, that they might get back together again, in the elusive "someday?"
Now he knew. Jasper didn't want him anymore. Wouldn't even speak to him. Not knowing was supposed to be the worst part. Not true, Edward decided. He'd rather have lived with the possibility of "someday." He'd rather have stayed an empty shell.
Edward turned the key in the ignition. He glanced at the house one last time before pulling away. The curtain in the main window moved. His heart wanted to believe it was Jasper, sorry to see Edward leave, but his brain knew it was Peter, verifying that Edward left.
Edward drove away and the house became smaller and smaller in this rearview mirror. Soon he could no longer see it. Leaving Jasper behind. Leaving his heart behind.
What I'd missed.