Chapter song: When You Find Me by Joshua Radin ft. Maria Taylor
Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight.
She closes her eyes and rests her head on the back of her chair as she feels the rush of a cool breeze hit her face from another summer storm making its way across the lake. She knows that she needs to go inside soon. The rolls of thunder get louder and the storm reaches the shore, but the dive her mood has taken keeps her in place.
She feels almost defeated but at the same time angry by the fact that right when she started trusting that his actions have been true and she's ready to start to forgive, it only took that one brief hesitation in her husband's voice to send all of that into doubt again. She's trying really hard not to believe that her husband was lying and that maybe she had just imagined it, but she knows she hasn't. She tries to think of any other reason he would have had to lie, but the only one she can come up with is that he was with someone else.
She knows she'll never find out the truth unless she asks, but right now she's too angry to be in his presence. The last thing she wants to do is approach her husband accusingly, knowing that, from what her therapist had advised, it wouldn't help.
She glances over at her husband through the window and sees that he's still in the kitchen cleaning up dinner, and is surprised at the urge she has to go in there and start breaking every dish in their kitchen while she demands answers she knows will only lead to more heartbreak. Needing an outlet to calm down her anger, she wishes she could take a walk down the beach, but with the lightning that has started to flash across the darkening skies, that's not an option.
Taking in a deep breath, she closes her eyes again and tries to relax before she makes a move to go inside, but as she feels the first of many raindrops that are sure to fall hit her face, she knows her time is up.
Looking over at his wife as he rinses the last of the dishes to put them into the dishwasher, he sees her closing up the patio umbrella and his heart immediately begins to race even more than it has been since he brought the dishes in from outside. If it wasn't for their son still being in the house to change his clothes before he left, he would have just told his wife the truth before he even started to clean up the kitchen, but after his son finally left, the moment of impulse to tell her right away had left too. In just the few short minutes that he waited for their son to leave, his mind had time to think about what the aftermath could be once he talks with his wife.
One of his biggest fears is that she won't believe him when he tells her where he was last night, and having no proof to back himself up, he doesn't know what he could do or say to make her not doubt him. Another fear is that instead of spending the day tomorrow trying to fix things with his wife, he'll be spending it packing, and it pains him to think that last night really was the last time he got to hold her in his arms.
Hearing the sliding glass door open and close snaps him out of his thoughts and he realizes he's been standing at the sink, with the water still on, staring at nothing but his own distorted reflection in the window. Shutting the water off, he hears her footstep grow closer, but he still doesn't move from his frozen stance at the sink. He sees her reflection through the window start to walk past the kitchen towards the stairs, and he knows that he needs to say something now or he'll just spend the rest of the night regretting that he hadn't.
Before she reaches the stairs, he says in a low tone, but loud enough for her to hear over the rain, "I was there last night… at the festival."
When she hears him start to speak, she speeds up her walk a little bit to the stairs, not wanting to listen to anything he has to say right now, but as his words start to register in her mind, her walk slows until she comes to a halt before she reaches the stairway.
When he sees that she stops, he waits to see if she'll say anything, but when she doesn't, he continues on in the same low tone, "I came there because I wanted to be there for you. I'm still not sure what I was expecting to see when I got there and saw you, but when I did…," with a slight shake of his head, he pauses for a moment, leaning his hands on either side of the sink and closing his eyes as he remembers the way she looked when she laughed, still wishing he could have heard it.
During his pause, she turns slightly towards him as she waits for him to continue, not quite understanding where he's going with this.
Opening his eyes again, he looks back up at her reflection, which has become easier to see now that the skies have darkened even more outside, "You just looked so happy and unguarded… different, yet familiar. It was a look that I haven't seen on you in years," he bows his head back down and grips onto the counter as he starts to choke on his words. Taking in a deep breath, he tries to continue when he thinks he has his emotions under control, but his voice still comes out unsteadily, "It was that moment that made me realize you're only unhappy when I'm around. I knew that if you would have seen that I was there, it would have just ruined your night, so I left… When you came home, and you looked as though it was the last place you wanted to be, it made me see even more how much I have failed you as a husband, and that hurt- still hurts to know that I don't know how or even if I can make my wife happy anymore…that's all I want for you…," he trails off in a hoarse, trembling voice as he scrunches his eyes shut trying to keep his tears from spilling over.
She's shocked into silence, scared to even move or talk, having never heard her husband sound so broken before. All of the anger and assumptions she'd had towards him earlier left as soon as she heard the first tremble in his voice and she's now angry at herself for letting it get this far.
Turning around to face her, he sees that she has silent tears streaming quickly down her face almost as fast as the rain that falls outside, and her arms are wrapped protectively around her torso as if she's in pain. At this point, he's not even thinking about whether she believes him or not. He just wants to see her happy again like he had the night before, and the pain in his chest when he realizes what he might have to do to get her there is almost crippling.
Slowly, he walks across the kitchen, and stops about a foot in front of her. She has her head down and her eyes closed. She has avoided eye contact with him for weeks, but tonight he needs to see her eyes. He needs her to see his. He needs more than just verbal communication with what he's about to say.
"Bella..." She still won't look at him, too afraid of what she'll find if she does.
"Bella… Please look at me," he says, pleadingly, as he places his hands on either side of her face.
She finally looks up at him and notices his eyes are red rimmed and glassy. She tries to look away, but his last plea keeps her eyes on him. She doesn't want to see him like this. She had only seen him close to tears once, and that was when their son was born. But those were different tears.
These tears… these are not ones she ever thought she would see. These tears are not ones she would ever want to see. Her husband has always been the strong one, always the rock of the family, never one to show his emotions. To see him breaking down like this is too much.
He brings his face closer to hers with trembling hands until their foreheads are touching. When tears start to fall from his eyes, she closes hers, trying to hold back her sobs but they escape anyway.
"I love you so much… so much…,"he croaks out, "I am so sorry... I can't change the past. I wish that I could-God, I wish I could, but I can't. Just tell me what to do and I'll do anything, anything to see you happy again," he says with as much conviction as he can. Pulling his face away from hers, he keeps his hands on both sides of her face as his thumbs try to brush away the never ending tears that fall from her eyes. He doesn't even care about his own that fall as he continues, "I'll do whatever it takes. Even if it means…,"he pauses, swallowing thickly, "Even if it means me leaving, I'll do it for you… As much as it would kill me to lose you, and as much as I want to do anything I can to fix us and not give up, if us not being together anymore is what you need to be happy again, I'll go… Just please…please tell me what to do."
Unable to answer him with words, she crashes her body into his, causing him to let go of the gentle hold he'd had on her face, and wraps her arms around his waist as sobs rack freely through her body. The image of her husband's tears falling from his eyes and the foreign sound of desperation he'd had in his voice play on repeat in her mind and she holds onto him even tighter. She had feared earlier in the day that he had read her last journal entry and, now, she finds herself wishing he had; He would have known that she could never live without him.
As his wife falls apart in his arms, the guilt, shame, and regret hit him hard and he can't help but let out a few sobs of his own as he moves one of his hands up to cradle the back of her head, leaving the other wrapped tightly around her. He's not sure if this is her way of saying goodbye or if she's trying to tell him to stay but either way, he feels it's still a step forward to getting her where she needs to be.
He tries to sooth her by rubbing his hand up and down her back and when her sobs start to subside, he lifts his head from its resting spot on the top of hers allowing her to pull back a little, but only enough to rest her forehead comfortably in the center of his chest. When her breathing starts to slow down, he uses the hand that was cradling her head to move her hair away from the side of her face, whispering, "Talk to me…"
Shaking her head, with her forehead still on his chest, she fists the back of his dress shirt in her hands as she says brokenly, "I have never wanted you to leave… and I hate that I made you feel like you should," and then adds in a whisper, "I'd never be happy without you…"
The relief he feels knowing that she doesn't want him to leave brings back the hope that he had lost over the last couple of days. It still doesn't help the confusion he still feels on where to go from here and he's hoping that his wife is ready to start opening up to him or they'll never be able to survive. Softly, he kisses the top of her head and says gently, "We can't keep living like this, Bella… You need to talk to me."
Taking in a deep, shuddering breath, she lets go of the hold she has from around his waist and looks up at him, bringing both of her hands up to his face. Gently, she wipes the wetness from his cheeks as she locks her eyes with his for the first time in weeks, whispering, "I know…"
There is a Light by BellaDonnaCullen: /s/7015642/1/ - I cannot express enough how much I absolutely LOVE this story and the author!
Thanks goes to my pre-reader, Crackylu and my beta, Allison Cullen.