Name: A Healing Heart
Twilight Characters are owned by Stephenie Meyer.
The story had 60 reviews when it was last published on 6/20/10
There is some mild abuse in this story, if that is a trigger for you, you might want to exit now.
If you are being abused, please seek help, it is out there for you...life CAN be good.
I looked at my father's closed eyes and spoke clearly. I told him I loved him and kissed his forehead before running my fingers through his hair. I could say it now, because I didn't have to wonder if he would say it back, or if I was making him uncomfortable by being emotional.
He had passed away less than an hour ago and I was full of mixed feelings. I wouldn't have to long for his declarations of love any longer, but I would also have to give up all hope of ever hearing them. I looked around his room, where not a single picture of his only daughter existed and walked away.
My husband was waiting for me outside the house. He was talking to the neighbors and laughing loudly. I hoped he would be waiting to pull me into his arms and tell me it didn't matter that I never felt my father's love, that my husband loved me and it would be enough.
I headed to our truck and got inside to wait for his entertainment to end. I leaned my head back and shut my eyes. I felt like the past year I had been walking around in cement. My life was pulling me to a standstill, no matter how hard I tried to keep moving forward.
Mike finally came back to the vehicle and climbed in, "You done?" he asked without sympathy.
"Yes, I'm done," I said softly and he started the engine.
"Are we going to the funeral?" he asked after we drove several miles in silence.
"It's on Tuesday," I said knowing he wouldn't take a day off from work.
Our silence continued until we got home. I stared at the house anyone would be happy to live in, but it held nothing but sorrow for me. It felt like a pretty prison and I had to force myself to go inside. Mike tossed his hat on the table, which I had asked him over and over again not to do. I picked it up and hung it on the hat rack next to the door.
I went upstairs and held my breath as I walked past the closed, locked door, which used to be my son's room. I couldn't go in there, yet, even though it had been over a year since he passed. I could picture the room perfectly in my mind and would only look inside once that memory faded. His crib would never hold another baby and my own light died with my child.
I ran a bath and climbed in the tub before finally letting my tears fall. I cried for a long time before ducking my head under the water and washing the tears off my face. I heard a noise outside the window and moved the curtain just enough to see the neighbor working on his yard.
He was a single man with meticulous tastes. I assumed he was gay until I was up late one night and saw him giving a very voluptuous woman a kiss before she drove away. I had to admit his obsession for having the perfect yard rubbed off on Mike and he put in more effort with our own property.
Mike had built a gazebo in our garden and it became my favorite place to be. I would sit in there for hours reading. I didn't feel guilty when I read without the constant rolling of his eyes or asking if I had anything better to do.
I washed my hair and let the water, filled with my tears, swirl down the drain. When I walked into my bedroom Mike swatted my ass as I walked passed him to our closet. "Nice ass, feel like messing around?" he asked.
I looked at him with shock, "My father just died."
"So, you weren't close to him, he never gave you a second thought," he said with a shrug.
"Thank you for being so observant, hell, I wouldn't have known if you didn't explain it to me." I dropped my towel and placed my hands on my waist. "Let's have sex so the fact my father never loved me will all go away.
"Forget it, you're in a mood," he mumbled and left the room.
I entered the closet and listened to Mike cuss loudly when he stubbed his toe on something. I dressed and made my way to the kitchen where he was making a sandwich.
"Are you making dinner?" he asked.
"Yes, put the sandwich away," I said and opened the freezer.
"This is a pre-dinner sandwich," he smiled and took a huge bite before heading to the television.
I had been begging him to lose weight, but he never gave it more than a passing thought. I tried to keep my body in shape for him, but he didn't feel the need to try for me. He felt the nice home in an exclusive neighborhood should make up for his lack of personal attention.
I made a teriyaki chicken salad and watched him groan when he came to the table. "This isn't dinner, this is appetizers," he complained.
"You had a sandwich already," I pointed out but he got up and grabbed a beer from the fridge and a bag of chips.
I ate silently and cleaned up the dishes. I headed to my room when Mike called out for me, "Bella, come sit in here and I'll rub your back."
I walked into the family room and sat next to him. He ran his hand up and down my back a couple of times and became lost in a baseball game. I stood to leave and he looked up, "I thought you were going to stay in here?"
"I'm getting my book," I said and continued out of the room.
I sat next to him and read until commercials came on, then he would grab my book or tickle me until I gave him my full attention. As soon as the game came back on, he would turn back to the television. We spent the entire evening this way.
I couldn't sleep and Mike's loud snoring was driving me insane so I got out of bed and took my book outside to the gazebo. I held a small flashlight as I read and hoped the battery wasn't low. I was in deep concentration when a noise startled me.
I looked up to see our neighbor standing on the top step of the gazebo looking at me.
"You scared me," I said as I held my chest.
"Sorry, I saw you out here reading and I wanted to offer you something," he smiled handing me a book light.
I didn't care I was in a nightgown and my hair was a mess. I took the light and attached it to my book.
"Thank you, are you usually up at this hour?" I asked and looked up at him.
He shrugged and leaned against the gazebo. I smiled knowing he most likely sent a lady friend home. I saw his eyes move to my book and I held it up to show him the title.
"Lady Chatterly's Lover, not very original," he chuckled and I sneered at him.
"It's for a book group," I confessed. I didn't add the fact it was an online group. I had lost touch with most of my friend since Mike demanded all of my attention. We did things with his friends but mine had dropped by the wayside.
"I see, women who desire their own working class man, to make up for their lifestyle indulgences?"
"You're clueless," I said and went back to my book. He remained and that concerned me, so I looked back up to see him looking at me with an odd expression. I kept his gaze and he finally spoke.
"Why do you read so much?"
"Why don't you let the women sleep over?" I threw back at him.
He moved into the gazebo without being invited and sat across from me. I could tell I hit on a sore subject and he looked a bit uncomfortable. I couldn't see him clearly in the dark and it gave me courage to speak the truth. I didn't have the emotional energy to play games with him, so I spoke honestly. I didn't worry about the possibility of offending him, since I never invited him over in the first place.
"It is none of my business, but speaking for women, it is a bit rude," I said bluntly.
"I guess I could bury my emotions in the pages of a book, but I choose to participate in the real world. I am very picky with my sleep and need to be alone in my bed," he said and I could see the moon shine off of his teeth as he smiled. I didn't buy his excuse one bit.
"Literary appreciation is now a flaw?" I asked outright.
He was quiet for a moment and I began to feel very uncomfortable. He leaned forward and rested his elbows on his knees. His voice was very soft and he said, "I never told you how sorry I am for your loss. It is very late, but I wanted to say it."
I stared at his dark face and felt my heart wrenching in my chest. I had no idea why he would offer me sympathy; I didn't even know his name. I think I nodded at him, but I wasn't sure he could tell in the darkness.
"My father died today," I said softly and felt so stupid for telling him.
"I'm sorry," he said and I shook my head.
"We weren't close, he didn't like me," I confessed and then quickly pulled it back. "I mean we were nothing alike, so we weren't close."
"Maybe it was a generational thing, coming from a different time so he didn't feel comfortable showing emotion?"
"Yeah, well, it doesn't help," I said hatefully.
"I'm sorry," he said again and I wiped my tears away briskly.
"I'm Bella Newton," I finally said to introduce myself. I didn't extend my hand or expect any reciprocation. I just felt since we were sitting together in the dark I should give him my name.
"Yeah, I know, I get your mail sometimes," he chuckled. "I'm Edward Cullen."
"I sit out here often, you don't have to keep me company," I said hoping he would leave. I wasn't worried about Mike seeing us, he wouldn't care who I spoke to in the middle of the night as long as it didn't interrupt his sleep.
"Why did he die?" he asked with a very soft voice and I wanted to scream at him to leave me alone. He leaned closer and said, "I'm sorry if it is still painful." It was then I realized he was talking about my baby, not my father, and I expected to be angry, but it felt…nice, to be asked about Luke.
"He had a very rare illness, his own antibodies turned on him, nothing could be done," I said and watched his head nod up and down like he understood. I was sure he would leave now, not wanting to deal with the emotions of a woman, but he continued on.
"Were you with him at the end?"
"Yes, I held him in my arms as he struggled to breathe. I would have willingly given my own life to spare his; I wanted to breathe for him. It wasn't right, mothers are supposed to be able to fix things but I helplessly watched him die."
"I bet he knew you were there, as he straddled both worlds. It must have been comforting for him," he said and the sincerity in his voice sent warmth through my entire body. Why couldn't Mike talk to me like this instead of ignoring my pain and wishing I would just get over it.
I knew he loved our son, but he was able to concentrate on the fact Luke would have suffered longer and death gave him peace. I wasn't able to do that and I wanted to talk about my beautiful baby and his horrible death.
"Thank you, Edward. That was a really kind thing to say and it really meant a lot."
He finally stood and smiled in the moonlight, "I'll let you get back to your reading, goodnight, or maybe good morning would be more appropriate."
"Thanks again, for the light," I said and watched him walk into the darkness of the large yard.
He was nothing like I had expected, and although I still didn't really know anything about him, I considered him a friend. I read for over an hour and headed back into the house. I crawled up onto the couch and fell asleep.
I heard Mike getting ready for work and got up to make him an egg white omelet. He came downstairs and grabbed a handful of cookies and headed out the door. I dumped the eggs in the trash and headed upstairs to get in bed.
The curtains were drawn and the room was dark, so I fell quickly back to sleep. The sound of a loud mower woke me and I looked at the clock to see it was almost noon. I groaned and headed for a shower. I removed my clothing and peeked through the blinds to see Edward mowing his lawn without a shirt.
I watched as he made a few passes. His muscles flexed and a sweaty sheen built up on his body and I felt my own flesh tingle with desire. It had been weeks since Mike and I made love and I felt maybe I was finally coming back to life.
I showered and dressed for the day. As I headed down the hallway I stopped at the locked door. I stared at the unobtrusive knob and wondered if I had the strength to enter the room. I leaned my forehead against the door and hummed, Baby Mine, softly. I pondered if my father would see my son and if he would tell him the words he never said to me.
I put my palms against the door to push away, and felt the familiar sense of self loathing rising up inside of me. My parents, who are supposed to love you unconditionally, treated me like a disappointment. My son, who was supposed to fill my empty soul with purpose, left me. My husband, who vowed to love me forever, didn't have a clue who I was inside. The common denominator was me, something was obviously wrong with me.
I made my way through the house emptying the trash and carried the bag to the garbage can on the side of the house. Edward walked from his garage and looked over to smile at me. I couldn't help but smile back.
"I want to show you something," he said with a nod of his head toward his backyard. I stepped over the berm dividing our yards and followed him. He walked up to a dogwood bush and pulled the flowered end into his hand.
"See how the petals have to be pulled to fall? Your husband is over watering your dogwood and with the cool nights it is not necessary."
"Oh, okay, I'll talk to him about it," I assured him.
"I want to give you something," he said and walked onto his patio and reached for a hanging basket of Sweet Peas. He set the basket at my feet and spoke without looking at me.
"These are the birth flowers for April, um…they also mean goodbye. I want you to have them," he offered and finally looked at my speechless face.
How did he know these things? And why did he make me feel like Luke was still a part of my life when nobody else did? I felt my tears fall as I looked at the basket of flowing flowers and then back at Edward's eyes.
I saw something familiar in his stare, the same pain I saw whenever I looked in a mirror. He knew, because we shared the same pain. He knew the inner ache that screamed to be acknowledged when everyone told you to forget about it and move on. He understood the desire to die and the hurt of knowing you would wake again the next morning.
"A daughter or a son?" I asked him.
"Both, my ex-wife drove drunk. I was on my way to pick them up and came across the crash. My daughter was still in her car seat. She looked up at me and I watched the life slowly leave her eyes."
"She waited for you," I said softly as my tears fell.
He gave me a big smile and nodded, "She was a daddy's girl."
"If you ever want to show me pictures, I would love to see them," I told him and felt like he understood the things I never dared to speak because of the pain it caused.
"Thanks, I'll be out of town for a couple of days, but someday I would enjoy telling you about them."
I picked up the flowers and headed back to my yard. I hung them on my patio and wondered how they got their meaning. Who was the mother whose heart broke first, and then decided Sweet Peas would tell her goodbye?
The phone rang and I answered to hear Mike's excited voice, "Do you feel like going out tonight? I got tickets to a Mariners game."
I looked at the flowers and wanted to tell Mike about them, but knew he would not find them comforting like I did. I took a deep breath and said, "Sure, let's go out tonight."