Entry for "A Love Like Fire 2011"

Title: There You'll Be

Author: kas90

Beta: Thank you myheroin for beta'ing, and lizzylillyrose and morethanmyself for prereading!

Pairing: Edward Bella

Rating: R – dark themes

Prompt: name of song that inspired.- I Can Feel A Hot One – Manchester Orchestra

Disclaimer: I don't own anything, and this is purely a work of fiction. Not for the light hearted…the point of the contest is to make you cry, if that means anything.

Prologue –

Edward 2011

My fingers shook whenever I touched her pale, soft skin. My eyes burned looking at her soft brown curls. My stomach twisted whenever I smelled her delicate floral scent. Opening up my arms to her took the energy and willpower of a thousand men. My heart couldn't take it. It was a constant battle over my rational mind and my crumbling emotions.

I had to remind myself every moment that she was innocent, that it wasn't her fault. She didn't mean to…she was missing just as much as I was.

But the war zone that my life had become was now a permanent thing. Loving her, supporting her, being strong for her on most days seemed like the deepest kind of blasphemy.

But I knew I needed to love her. She was the only thing I had left…even if it meant that every hug, every kiss goodnight, every, "I love you," left a searing fire, a destructionist set of flames straight through my heart.

O.o

March 2009

"More, take more," I begged. "Please, take more. All of it, she can have all of it." My tears soaked my jeans as they fell, my sobs making it hard for the nurses to draw the blood.

"Please hold still, Mr. Cullen," the nurse patiently instructed.

"Can't you go faster? Come on, please."

"I'll take as much as I can from you, sir, but you must calm down."

Calm down? She was joking right. This was life or death…and hers was slipping away, quickly.

I didn't bother to watch as the blood was taken from my arm, flowing freely in the tube that was attached. The nurse had me lay back, mundanely instructing me to open and close my hand.

"This will work, won't it? This will be enough?"

She looked at me and smiled, but her eyes were lit with no emotion.

"No," I began to shout between my tears. "Tell me…tell me."

"Of course it will be enough, Mr. Cullen. Now, please, just relax. The doctors are doing everything they can."

How could this have happened? So quickly? Already? I knew I had to prepare myself for this, but not now. It was still too soon. I couldn't lose her yet; we still had a life to live together…she promised me her life. I hated her for backing out on her promise. I hated her for being so selfish, for forcing me into this.

But most of all, I hated myself for hating her. This was the vicious circle that our life had morphed into.

O.o

2005

"Excuse me…," your soft voice called from behind me. I jumped from the contact of your hand on my shoulder, causing me to whip around. The force of my movements caused me to spill my freshly poured hot coffee all over myself and you, this beautiful girl in front of me.

"Oh my God," I cried, quickly putting the coffee on the counter. The liquid was scorching, and I already felt it burning my skin. As fast as I could, I peeled the soaked shirt off of my body and went to do the same to you without thinking.

"Take it off; it will scar," I said in panic, tugging at the bottom hem of your green blouse.

You just smiled shyly and brushed my hand away. You simply moved the wet shirt away from your skin and kept the fabric on. "It will be fine…only a few drops. You got the worst of it," you dismissed. You casually reached for some napkins and dabbed your shirt. "That is a clever way to get a girl to take off her top, though. Use that technique often?" You laughed lightly, your brown eyes crinkling at the corners.

Your light attitude quickly diluted my panic, and I assessed the situation. I clearly made a fool of myself, but you didn't seem to mind. You were actually joking about it….

"I'm really sorry. You just scared me," I admitted sheepishly. I soon realized my new state of undress, and I moved my ruined shirt up to cover up my bare chest.

"Oh, please don't apologize," you insisted with the wave of your hand. "This was entirely my fault! It was really careless of me to approach a man armed with hot coffee like that!" Your face was tinted with light pink blush, and when your eyes locked with mine, I saw…something. "I, uh, actually just needed some sugar," you stammered after a long moment. You stepped around me at the condiment counter and grabbed two pink packets of sweetener.

"Will your skin be okay?" you asked when you saw me just standing there looking at you. "I can take you to a doctor, or something," you offered kindly.

"Oh, um…" I finally looked down at my chest, the skin was red, but I'd had worse. "It should be fine; no need to worry."

"I'm really sorry. I honestly didn't mean to burn you."

O.o

March 2009

I thought of how Bella and I met as I sat idly in the waiting room of the hospital. Had I known then that everything that Bella touched caused a burn, I probably would have walked away-ran even. My life would be so much cleaner, simpler, void of her scars. But she wasn't simple; she was unintentionally full of fire, and this would no doubt cause the worst burn yet.

Even as she lay dying in the operating room, she cast my world into flames.

Images, soundless videos, perfectly skewed memories of my years with Bella played like a classic film in my mind. My back was stiff as I sat hunched over, my elbows resting on the tops of my knees. I didn't even have the strength to hold myself upright. Time moved like molasses, every second painting my heart in increased despair.

My bones felt like they were cracking, ripping me apart in preparation for what had to come. I lifted the palm of my left hand and pressed it into the temple, trying to ease a bit of the pain. The ring on my finger grazed my skin, bringing on a whole new wave of torture.

O.o

2006

"Oh, shit, oh, shit, oh shit." He paced back and forth, probably burning a hole through the carpet of the church.

"Emmett, will you just relax?" I pleaded. This was ridiculous. This was my wedding day, and, yet, he was the wreck.

"What if I…? Oh, God. I'm going to cry my eyes out. If I trip while walking down the aisle, man, she's going to kill me!"

I laughed and nodded; he was right, after all. As I sat in the old brown chair in one of the rooms of the large church, I literally began twiddling my thumbs as I waited for the clock to reach two. I took deep, heavy breaths, counting slowly in my head – all in attempt to keep from going crazy with anticipation.

I was finally doing it; I was finally marrying you. This past year had turned my life upside down completely. My once bland, simple existence was blasted with light and color as soon as you stepped into it. You had such a carefree sense about you. Your eyes were always directed towards the most optimistic outcome, inevitably melting my heart of stone.

You were my light, my life, my only love.

There was a knock at the door, and before I could cover my eyes, I took in the sight of you now standing in the room, dressed in your delicate gown.

"Baby, what are you doing?" As quickly as I could, I blocked my view of you with my hands.

"Can we have a minute?" you asked, directing your question towards Em and my best friend, Jasper.

"Uh, yeah, sure," they worriedly agreed.

"What's wrong?" I asked, panicked, already having dropping my hands and walking towards you.

You shut the door behind the guys and locked it, turning back to face me with a wicked smile across your lips.

"I missed you," you admitted, meeting me halfway in the center of the room, throwing your arms around my neck. You smelled like lilies and cinnamon.

"I missed you, too, love, but isn't it bad luck to see each other before the ceremony?"

"Bad luck can bite me, Edward. I was going crazy upstairs. Alice kept pacing, sure she was going to screw up the maid-of-honor speech. And my mother, oh Lord, she's no help to anybody. If I get the sex talk one more time I'm going to be forced to share the intricate details of our love life, and I thought you wouldn't be too fond of that, so I came here, instead."

I looked down at your glowing face, the pink blush highlighting your cheeks, matching your rosy lips.

"You look absolutely stunning, Bella," I told you honestly, finally taking in your attire. "Just how I always thought you'd look."

You smiled at me and did a little twirl. "I thought you'd like it."

I smirked and nodded, lowering my head so my lips could reach yours, searing them together with all the love I could show you in that moment. "I can't wait for you to be my wife."

"Oh, Edward," you sighed. "I'm already yours."

O.o

March 2009

"Lost a lot of blood…"

Static

"Machines are…"

Static

"Be with her…"

Static

"...for your goodbyes."

My hearing went in and out, and my vision faltered. The older man dressed in dark blue scrubs kept going out of focus, not making sense. I couldn't comprehend; all I kept thinking about was how I needed to keep breathing. In and out. In and out.

"Mr. Cullen?" I vaguely felt something tug on my arm. "Mr. Cullen?"

"Where is she?" my voice cracked with the pain that was bubbling from within.

"You can follow me."

One step in front of the other – right, left, right, left – it felt like a death march.

"I don't know if she can hear you, but you can try. We'll be back in a little while. Is there anyone we can call?"

I wasn't coherent enough to give a correct response; I just shook my head and mumbled, "No. "It's just me."

"Very well," the doctor said and left me to my misery.

She looked so pale; her complexion seemed to match the starkness of the white bed sheets. I stood frozen in my steps, unable to do the one thing that she needed me to do, which was to comfort her, hold her, tell her she would be okay.

"Please," I croaked from the doorway. "Not now," I added, finally taking another step towards her.

Eventually, I stood directly beside her bed. I wasn't used to her looking so small, so unlike how she used to just a week before.

"You're so beautiful," I whispered as I pushed her hair behind her ear. I ran my thumb over the curve of her eyebrows, tracing a pattern down her face and across her chapped, ruby lips.

I gently lifted the covers and, as carefully as I could, I moved her over to the edge of the bed so I had room to crawl in beside her.

"You'll be okay," I said for both of our benefits. "You have to be…we need you."

O.o

2007

"Do you think it's fair?" you asked, your voice calm and sedated, relaxed in our surroundings.

"Do I think what's fair?" I gently stroked your bare back as you lay in my arms. Our sheets were hastily discarded on the floor of our bedroom, our bodies providing enough warmth for that moment.

"Our life. It just seems so…perfect." Your fingers trailed idle patterns on my chest, creating a delicious burn with the sensation.

I laughed and held you just a bit closer. "I would hardly call our life perfect, Bella." I turned my head so I could give the top of your forehead a soft kiss. "We aren't some characters out of a fairytale. We have our problems, our arguments, our struggles. We work hard to be where we are," I defended. Our relationship was hard, challenging.

"Well, perfection isn't found in the details, Edward," you countered. "I meant finding each other, living life together. Even in our fights, arguments, that time I kicked you out of the house for a week…together they are perfect because they are what make us work. They make us…us."

Even though I didn't want to admit it to you, I hadn't a clue in hell what you were talking about, but I gently rolled us over so you lay on your back, and I held myself above you. I took in the sight of your body, the curves, the dips and soft skin. You were easy to find perfection in.

"I think you're perfect," I said honestly.

You lifted your hand and ran your small fingers through my hair. "You make me perfect."

"So you admit you are perfect?" I joked, laughing.

"Do you always have to be so difficult?" you asked, a chuckle behind your words.

"But in all seriousness," I continued more solemnly, "I wouldn't have life without you in it. I wouldn't know what to do with myself if you weren't here…if you weren't around." My eyes locked onto yours, afraid that if I looked away, they would be gone.

"Don't think that way," you scolded, your voice lowering to a bare whisper.

"Just don't ever leave me, and then we'll never have to worry about it."

You smiled, knowing that walking away could never be a possibility, as it were for me. "You know I would never leave you; don't even entertain the idea…it will get you nowhere."

"Do you promise?"

"Edward, stop. I promised that when we got married. How many times do I have to remind you?"

"Okay, okay," I surrendered. "But know, I'll never forgive you if you break that promise," I warned.

"Stop worrying about it, then." You tugged on my neck, bringing my lips to yours, successfully ending the conversation.

O.o

March 2009

Her skin was cold, distant. "I forgive you," I whispered into her ear, my voice catching from the sob that was willing to escape. I only hoped she would be able to understand.

O.o

2008

My job was crazy and demanding. I was the marketing director for a publishing house, which caused me too many headaches a day to even count. I had packets and documents spread out all over my desk. A picture of you and I on our wedding day was the only thing even remotely pleasing to look at. The mess was overwhelming.

I was in the middle of trying to sort through the chaos when there was a knock at my door.

"Yes," I called absentmindedly.

"Mr. Cullen," my secretary greeted, "your wife is on line one; she said it was imperative that she speaks with you."

"Uh, okay, thanks," I dismissed, searching for my office phone underneath all the scattered papers.

"Hi, baby," I answered. "You okay?" I took a seat in the large leather chair behind me, listening to the protesting squeaks of the springs beneath.

"Edward," you said blankly. "You need to come home."

"What? What's wrong?" I asked, my body startled into panic.

"Nothing, um, just, I need to talk to you."

"Are you hurt? Where are you?" I shot out of my chair and tucked the receiver between my chin and shoulder so I could shrug my jacket on.

"I'm at the house…"

"I'm on my way." I hung up without another word and rushed out of the building.

The world seemed to stop moving; the people stood frozen on the streets in mid motion; the birds having stopped mid song. You were hurt…you needed me…that was the only thing that mattered.

I hastily parked the car in the driveway, scrambling out and racing towards you.

"Bella!" I yelled, shoving the door of our house wide open, not even bothering to close it behind me. "Bella!" I yelled again, frantically searching the lower level of the house. When I couldn't find you, I scaled the stairs, two-at-a-time, heading straight towards our bedroom.

"Bella," I practically cried, taking the first deep breath since I answered the phone, and saw you sitting on the bed, your hands twined together on your lap. Your long brown hair hung down and blocked your face from me.

"Baby?" I asked, coming down to kneel before your knees. "Baby, what's wrong?" I gently stroked your pale cheek, your brown eyes finally meeting mine.

You didn't speak for a moment, only looking into my eyes and making my heart stop. Finally, you took a deep breath and said, "I'm pregnant."

O.o

March 2009

Words like complicated pregnancy, risks, high mortality rate rang through my mind like nails on a chalkboard. The poison that those words meant seeped through my brain, right down to my heart, making me angry with you all over again. Perfect, you said. Our life was perfect.

And you ruined it.

Tick. Tick. Tick. Our seconds together were slipping away…you were slipping away.

I felt it.

O.o

2008

"I'm pregnant."

"Pregnant," I clarified, trying to wrap my head around it.

Finally…oh, sweet Lord, finally, your somber face broke out into a huge smile. "We're going to have a baby!" You flew off the bed and right into my arms, knocking us both to the ground. I clung onto you as tightly as I dared.

"Parents," I mumbled.

"Oh, Edward," you sighed, sitting up to straddle my waist. "You are going to be the most wonderful father."

Tears swelled in my eyes, and I lifted my hand to rub against your glowing face.

"A baby," I whispered. "You're giving me a baby." My voice was in absolute awe.

You kissed me then, your one kiss holding the love of a thousand souls.

O.o

March 2009

I was crying again, and I had to climb out of the hospital bed so I wouldn't shake her and hurt her even more somehow. I crumbled onto the blue speckled hard floor, sobbing uncontrollably.

Something that we were both so excited about turned out to be my worst nightmare.

I didn't hear anyone come into the room, but I felt a hand on my shaking shoulder and I snapped my head up to the nurse on call.

"Mr. Cullen," she said softly, and I knew what she was going to ask me before the words were even out of her mouth.

"No," I said abruptly. "Not now, no. Not without her. No. NO!" I began to shout. "NO! FUCK! I can't. Don't you fucking see?" I begged through another wave of tears. "I can't, stop, no, stop…"

I was back to my original mess on the floor, my body curling into itself; my cries loud enough to wake even the deepest sleepers. I hoped Bella could hear me…hear the pain I was going through…hear my heart breaking with every intake of breath. I wanted her to know that my entire existence was burning to the ground, leaving the foulest of ashes in its wake.

I eventually lost myself to the exhaustion, allowing yet another source of blackness to bring me under.

O.o

December 2008

You sat in the rocking chair right outside the doorway. Green…you picked green. "I love this color," you said happily, and I gave up the fight again right there.

I dipped the paintbrush back into the can of paint and continued the long, tedious process. "I hate this color," I said, even though it obviously didn't matter.

You giggled and grabbed your swelling belly. "She will love it."

I rolled my eyes but continued stroking. "I don't know why you think it's going to be a girl," I challenged.

You lifted your shoulders, shrugging lightly but giving me that knowing look. "I just know."

"Well, I think it's going to be a boy, which is why I wanted to paint the room blue."

"Do you really not like the green?" you asked in that sad tone that you knew got me every time. I sighed heavily and put the brush down, walking across the room and out into the hallway where you were. I leaned down and pressed my lips against yours before I did the same to your belly.

"I really don't like it, but it doesn't matter. You matter," I said as I kissed her again.

"And she matters," she added as she rubbed her belly again.

I smiled and nodded. "My favorite girls."

O.o

March 2009

"Mr. Cullen? Mr. Cullen?" A deep voice woke me from my dream and I shot up. I was still lying on the floor, my body aching from the lack of support.

"Mr. Cullen," the man said again, and I looked up to see Bella's doctor. His voice was so full of pity that I just…knew.

I stood up as quickly as I could and turned to look at Bella on the bed, checking to see if her chest was still rising and falling.

He was saying words, but they didn't register, they just sounded like loud passing cars on the highway, going in one ear and out the other. But when I turned to look him in the eye, his face said more than any amount of sentences could have.

"No," I croaked.

"We did everything we could, Mr. Cullen, but she lost too much blood. Only the machines are breathing for her now. She's already gone."

"No," I tried again. If I said it enough, she could come back. If I refused to believe it then it really didn't happen, right?

"You have a decision to make, sir."

I shook my head, trying to rationalize what was happening. "But she's my Bella," I reasoned, as if it were enough. It used to be enough.

He stood still as I turned to my beautiful girl. "What do I do?" I asked her.

"I can give you some time to say goodbye, if you'd like."

I nodded my head in response.

I waited until I heard the door click on his way out before I took another breath.

I just…looked at her. In that moment, I tried to memorize everything about her. It was stupid of me to think I would have the rest of eternity to do this. So many days I took for granted, thinking that she would be there the next.

"Oh, baby," I sighed, my voice thick and barely audible. "Why are you doing this to me?" I finally asked, my chest compressing. "It wasn't supposed to turn out this way. You're leaving, you're walking away!

"I don't get it, Bella! You said…you promised…you told me it would be okay. You said that you were strong enough for this…that we were strong enough for this. I just…you were wrong. I can't lose you. Please, oh God, please…

"God, just give her back," I pleaded, praying that He could hear me, at least, begging for His sympathy.

I took a seat in the chair next to the bed, taking her hand and entwining it through mine. I thought about all the moments I spent holding her hand, times when she stroked my back while lying in bed, the countless times she pushed her slender fingers through my hair.

All the while knowing that once I left this room, I would never feel it again; I would never see her again. She would never smile again….

"I loved you since the first moment I saw you. Your smile lit up my world, Bella. Your heart made me want to be someone that was worth loving you. You completely changed my life, bringing me out of the darkness that surrounded me. You are my favorite girl, my only love, my only reason for…anything.

"I honestly don't know what I'm going to do without you. I can't breathe without you. I can't move, I can't think. You're it for me. You're my second half, my better half. My soul is yours…what am I supposed to do now?"

I stopped, giving you a second to answer. Please answer, come back and talk to me, love.

"Bella," I begged. "Please. I love you.

"I need you."

I wished in that moment that I could just see her brown eyes one more time, hear her voice or just a minute more. I wanted to feel her breath on my face right before she kissed me. I wanted her to pull me closer, tell me that she loved me back, tell me that she needed me just as much as I needed her.

But deep down, I knew that wasn't going to happen. There was only one thing left of her that remained.

On shaky legs I stood up, leaning down across the bed and gently pressing my lips to hers, kissing her one last time.

"I'll miss you always, and I will love you every day of forever."

There was another knock at the door, and when I turned my head, the nurse from before was back.

"Mr. Cullen," she greeted in a soft voice. I nodded my head for her to continue. "Are you ready to meet your daughter?"

O.o

2011

My fingers shook whenever I touched her pale, soft skin. My eyes burned looking at her soft brown curls. My stomach twisted whenever I smelled her delicate floral scent. Opening up my arms to her took the energy and willpower of a thousand men. My heart couldn't take it. It was a constant battle over my rational mind and my crumbling emotions.

I had to remind myself every moment that she was innocent, that it wasn't her fault. She didn't mean to…she was missing just as much as I was.

But the war zone that my life had become was now a permanent thing. Loving her, supporting her, being strong for her on most days seemed like the deepest kind of blasphemy.

But I knew I needed to love her. She was the only thing I had left…even if it meant that every hug, every kiss goodnight, every, "I love you," left a searing fire, a destructionist set of flames straight through my heart.

O.o

The past two years had been the hardest of my life. Losing Bella and raising the reason for her death almost put me under. But her life was still living and breathing through our daughter.

Elizabeth Isabella Cullen was the only thing I had left of her, the only proof that she existed, and the physical evidence that Bella had loved me.

"Daddy!" I heard my name stream through the intercom from my bed, and on instinct I reached over for Bella, only once again to be crushed by her absence.

I walked down the hall to the nursery and saw Izzy sitting up in her crib.

"Daddy," she said again when she saw me. When I got close enough, I saw that her tiny brown eyes were filled with tears.

"What's wrong, baby?" I asked as I picked her up in my arms, the heaviness pressing down on my still aching heart. She dug her small head into the crook of my neck, her favorite spot to be whenever I held her.

"I had a bad dream," she informed, her soft voice reminding me more like Bella's every day.

I brought her over to the rocking chair and sat down, cradling her in my lap. "Oh, Izzy, it's okay. I'm right here. I won't let anything hurt you."

She sighed in relief, my simple words being enough to calm all of her fears. "I love you, Daddy," she whispered as she fell back asleep in my arms.

I took a deep breath and kissed the side of her head. "I love you, too."

O.o

Oh, Bella. Late at night, when she's sleeping, I tell her about you. When she's playing in your garden, I tell her about you. When I read her a story at bedtime, I tell her about you. You are everywhere…she knows who you are; she loves you just as much, if not more than I do. I miss you more than you know. Some days, it feels like I can't take it, and I want to give up so badly that it breaks me down completely. But it's in those times that I feel you, that I know you are with us every step of the way.

She looks just like you. Her hair has grown now, soft brown locks to match her deep brown eyes. Sometimes, I feel like it's you looking back at me, and I have to compose myself all over again.

I want you here more than anything. I want you to be with me when I take her to her first day of kindergarten. I want you to be the one who tells her about boys. You were the one who was better at healing a broken heart; hell, you had enough practice with mine. I want you to be there to cheer her on when she walks the stage at her graduation, and then help her pick out a wedding dress. It's not fair, Bella. I pray every day that you will come back.

I spend every day waiting for you.

O.o

Watching Izzy grow up was both a blessing and a curse.

Days passed as if the world forgot that it was missing someone. Years continued on, people coming in and out of our lives, but no one could replace the one who had brought us both to life.

O.o.O.o.O

Remember to vote from April 25th – May 2nd.

Thanks to UNF4Rob and Teambella23 for hosting the contest, and of course thanks to the judges, as well.

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