Disclaimer: Twilight belongs to SM. All characters belong to her. The song? It doesn't belong to me either, it's Taylor Swift's.
AN: This story is very different then anything I have written. The story will switch POVs often, between E and B. You will get a sneak peak at memories from both! Lyrics are in bold. POV: MEMORY means the character is remembering something. Their reflection is always the last line and started with a "…" If it does not say memory, it is something they are experiencing presently.
This is fiction. Some medical/ job related things in this story may not be probable. Just enjoy reading the story for what it is. That being said, I did try to get things as close to correct as possible…some things is real life just do not make good stories. =)
"Edward! Memphis? MEMPHIS? WE AGREED ON SEATTLE!" I screeched at the top of my lungs, pulling at my hair. My voice vibrated through our room, lit softly by the setting sun. "SEATLLE, Edward, our home is Seattle! What about my job as the marketing director at Safeco Field? I just signed my contract YESTERDAY, with the Mariners franchise. The SEATLLE Mariners! I felt sick to my stomach as the severity of the situation hit full force.
I watched my life pace in front of me, grasping at his hair, emotions flitting over his face. He looked as lost as I felt. His green eyes were darkened, shoulders hunched as if the stress of this situation was physically resting on his shoulders. And it was. He was the one with the choice.
"Bella, I know. Believe me, I know. But I couldn't give up this opportunity. St. Jude's research center wanted me to serve my residency at their research facility in Memphis. Me, Bella! I didn't go searching for this. They came searching for me. This will make my career. I will be serving as a Pediatric Oncologist at the most reputable research facility possible. 2 years of service and our lives will be set. Think of the possibilities, Bella."
He stopped in front of me, grasping my shoulders tightly. Green eyes begged me to sacrifice what I worked so hard for, so he could make his dreams come true. And all I could think about was what happens to my dreams? My heart was literally torn in two. I toyed with the princess cut eternity band adorning my left finger, symbolizing our marriage to be. I loved Edward with everything I had, but my life was in Seattle. He had the choice, I didn't. My family, my job, my friends were here. He could have been a resident anywhere. But he chose this and he chose it without me.
With a deep breath, my heart shattered. "Edward, you made this decision without me. You are going to have to go without me." I held my breath as I removed the symbol of eternity off of my finger, bitterly thinking eternity isn't so long, after all.
His fingers trailed up to my face, gripping my cheeks, wiping the salty tears as more accumulated in their place. "Bella, no. No. Don't do this to me." His voice breaking as his own tears glistened in his eyes.
"I can't live without you, Bella. It's always been you and me; you have been my life since we were 16. 9 years Bella! Don't do this. Please, come with me. Just come with me. I can't...no…" Edward's voice faltered as he hiccoughed through his quiet sobs.
He moved impossibly closer, his lips ghosting over mine gently as he spoke. "I need you like I need air to breathe."
Backing off slightly, he thread his fingers through my hair. "What am I going to do without the smell of your shampoo on my pillow?"
Gently untangling his fingers he smoothed his thumbs over my eyelids. "I don't want to live a day without seeing your cocoa brown eyes looking at me, loving me."
His fingers ran down my nose as he kissed the tip. His lips traveled lower to brush his lips over mine; vibrating as his voice escaped his lips, "I want you to be there. I want you to kiss away the bad days. I want to celebrate the special moments. I want your lips to kiss mine when you say 'I do'."
His hands traveled, rubbing my arms. "I want these arms to hug me when I get home, to wrap around my waist when we dance through life, to hold me when we sleep."
His fingers danced down my arms and laced through mine. He brought our hands up to kiss my fingertips. "I want your fingertips to dance across my body, playing me like your own personal instrument."
Edward's eyes shifted from my fingers to my eyes, his green eyes blazed with passion, heartbreak, fire. Edward's other hand trailed from my waist to my heart. "I want all those things, but really all I need is your heart. Without that, I have nothing."
Dropping my forehead to his shoulder, I turned toward the clock. 1:58. I took a steadying breath as I puffed out my final plea, "Then don't go. Stay. Just don't go."
Edward exhaled sharply as he shook his head, his expression was heart wrenching. Even through the darkness I could see his dark eyebrows were furrowed, the deep purple circles aged him years, his green eyes were a dull green, not the vibrant emeralds I was accustomed to, glossy with unshed tears "I've got to."
I smiled sadly, nearly choking on tears as I took his hands in mine, pressing the engagement ring into his palm, closing his long fingers.
Before he turned away, he dropped a kiss to my forehead, then to each cheek, my nose, and one last soft kiss to my lips. Edward's lips parted gently, his tongue peeking out to meet mine in a slow sensual dance. Breaking away he slowly walked to the door, reaching for the knob. With a slow exhale, facing the door, he whispered the words that plagued my every thought since.
"I love you."
And then he was gone.
…They say the pain goes away. They say the memories fade. They were wrong.
I still remember the look on your face
Lit through the darkness at 1:58
The words that you whispered for just us to know
You told me you loved me
So why did you go away
I do recall now the smell of the rain
Fresh on the pavement I ran off the plane
That July 9th, the beat of your heart
That jumps through your shirt
I can still feel your arms
I sprinted down the first class isle of the large 747 bumping into passenger after passenger, only hearing the hum of the crowd. Slowing my pace slightly, I teetered down the stairs returning to a full sprint once my feet touched the sopping pavement; puddles splashed at my jeans. The stale smell of warmed wet asphalt assaulted my senses, a warm July drizzle misted from above.
Bella's was facing away from me and didn't notice my hasty approach. Her head was hunched, looking down at the electronic device in her hand, walking toward the terminal to exit the airport. I hugged her tightly, feeling her hands caressing my arms.
"Please Bella, come with me. We can catch another flight; I'm not due at St. Jude until next month. I can't leave my heart in Seattle." I murmured into her hair.
I turned her gently tangling my fingers in her long locks. Oh so slowly, I brought her face to mine giving her time to retreat. My lips met hers in a soft, long, slow burning kiss. My body trembled with emotions; longing, love, loss...as the kiss electrified my senses. I heard a slight whimper as she broke the kiss.
Bella clutched my hand and pulled it to her heart. Laying her hand over mine, she murmured, "I signed a two year contract; I can't abandon everything I have worked for to follow your dream. You had opportunity here and you chose Memphis. I support you fully, but I have to support you from Seattle as a friend." Tears gathered in her eyes as she dropped my hand and turned away.
I was left in the Seattle rain, a perfect metaphor for this particular scene in the movie I call life. I turned to board the plane. By the time the plane took off, I had left my heart in Seattle. Upon landing in Tennessee, I was a shadow of my former self.
By the time I reached my new condo (already all set up, thanks to Ma and Dad), I barely recognized the feelings raging inside; anger, depression, anxiety, loneliness. They swirled around my senses like the fury of a storm. I took a moment to survey the scene, gazing around the loft. I opened the door next to the foyer, seeing coats and outerwear. A well worn sweatshirt and a familiar scent overwhelmed and trumped all previous emotions, stifling them immediately.
I crumbled to the floor in the foyer, clutching the sweatshirt, sobbing into the worn cotton. She said it herself, we were friends. Friend to girlfriend to lover to fiancé to friend. I don't know how to be anything more than what she would give; I didn't know how to be someone she would miss.
….All I knew then and all I know now is the crippling pain of loss.
But now, I'll go
Sit on the floor wearing your clothes
All that I know is I don't know
How to be something you miss
My eyes stung with tears as I watched my life board the plane taking him 1,864 miles from me. As soon as I could no longer see his shock of bronze hair over the boarding passengers, I turned away. My heart thudded heavily as I took out my phone to text Jessica.
He's gone… /3 Bella
The tears fell free as I stared at my phone waiting for Jessica's reply. If anyone understood even a fraction of what I was going through it was Jess. Jess had known Edward as long as I had, her and Mike were our best friends. Jess and Mike were losing a large piece of their lives by losing Edward, too.
My intense concentration on the device in my hand deadened my sense to the world around me. Two warm strong arms surrounded me, squeezing slightly. My body relaxed into the embrace, quickly dropping my hands to Edward's strong arms, caressing the sinewy muscles softly. My eyes drifted closed as I fought to keep the tears at bay. With Edward everything was love, it was passion, it was friendship, it was comfortable, it was easy, and it was meant to be. This wasn't how things were suppose to play out.
His lips brushed against my hair as he whispered, "Please Bella, come with me. We can catch another flight; I'm not due at St. Jude until next month. I can't leave my heart in Seattle."
My heart stopped beating as I was turned gently. Edward's long fingers tangled in my mess of frizzy curls. After what seemed like an eternity, his lips brushed mine, creating an earth-shattering, heart-breaking, mind-numbing kiss. I felt Edward's body tremors matching my own as the emotions of the love and ultimately the loss devastated my system.
A piece of my heart splintered as I broke away, clutching his hand and pulling it to feel the beats of my heart, hoping to convey my heart beat for him. I could only hope he would understand why I had to do this. I couldn't give up my dreams, but at the same time, I couldn't let him give up his. This move would make his career; I couldn't take that away from him. I couldn't take his talent from a world that desperately needed someone like him. With a deep breath, I let him go.
"I signed a two year contract; I can't abandon everything I have worked for to follow your dream. You had opportunity here and you chose Memphis. I support you fully, but I have to support you from Seattle, as a friend."
I barely stifled the bone crunching sobs as salt leaked from my eyes. I held on for a beat longer, and then dropped his hand. Then, I did the hardest thing I had to do since I pressed my engagement ring to his palm a week ago….I turned away.
….Time doesn't heal all wounds. Time hadn't even touched this scar. My heart beat for one reason and I let him go.
I'd never thought we'd have our last kiss
I'd never imagined we'd end like this
Your name, forever the name on my lips
"Come on, Edward!" Bella's eyes sparkled with enthusiasm as she reached for my hand, giving in a gentle tug as her head inclined toward the dance floor. The dance floor was littered with women in dresses and men in some form of tux, coats and ties forgotten at the dinner tables. Twinkle lights twirled around the trees lining the beautifully decorated back yard.
Bella's hips swung back and forth in an exaggerated swagger. Her mocha curls swung freely, as she turned her head and winked. When her heels clanked against the floor, she turned to lead me into waltz to a Brad Paisley country song, Then.
I rolled my eyes and stepped back, hopping she would let me lead for once. Bella was a graceful force on the dance floor; I was just there for the ride. Her smile was breathtaking as she pulled me back in. The lights cast a soft glow across her skin as the tiny crystals on her black and white bridesmaid gown glittered as she moved with the music. I couldn't help but grin at the calm bliss exuding from her body to be on the dance floor. I wasn't much of a dancer, but for her I'd be anything.
I do remember the swing of your step
The life of the party, you're showing off again
And I roll my eyes and then you pull me in
I'm not much for dancing, but for you I did
I chuckled as Bella lead me into a turn, catching a glimpse of the newlywed Mike and Jessica giggling at Bella's antics. Mike and Jess had been our best friends through high school. I had been Mike's best man as Bella was Jess's maid of honor. I smiled at them, truly happy for my best friends. Mike and Jessica winked simultaneously as Lost in this Moment began to trickle through the speakers.
Pulling Bella in closer, swaying to the beat, butterflies erupted in my stomach as the lyrics washed over us. I laid my head on the top of her head as her forehead rested against my shoulder, her hand directly over my wildly beating heart. As the last chords played I dropped to one knee.
"Bella, I want to be lost in every moment with you, completely consumed in you. I want to be your husband, will you be my wife?"
Elation filled my senses as I saw her beautiful smile and nod. I barely heard the dreamy sighs and cheers as I slid the eternity band on Bella's left third finger, where it would stay, for eternity.
…Too bad eternity and forever were not synonymous this time.
"Hey, Dad!" I called, Edward in tow. His hands were sweaty and shaking slightly as he followed me further into the house. I stifled a giggle at this tall, confident boy so worked up over "officially" meeting my father. We had been dating for a few weeks now, but we grew up together and had been close friends for as long as I can remember. Today was the day we were going public, starting with my father. In a town as small as Forks, there are no secrets, especially when my father is the Chief of Police and Edward's father is the Chief of Medicine. Two highly powered men, who love to gossip. Nothing gets passed those two. They are worse than Renee and Esme… far worse. Honestly, what do you think two men talk about during weekly fishing trips? The town and its unfortunate inhabitants, of course.
"In here, kids!" My dad hollered, perched at his post in the plush recliner inches away from the flat screen.
Edward and I walked into the man cave, standing directly in front of my father. Our hands remained entwined as a united front facing a worthy opponent. My father gave me a pointed glance as if to say, 'Why the hell are you in front of the television?'. When his eyes settled on Edward, a look of fatherly concern washed over his features.
He popped up from his throne and placed his hand on Edward's shoulder. "You okay, E? You look greeny-white. Should I call Carlisle?" My father sputtered in rapid succession.
I glanced at Edward, noticing his sickly features and gave his hand a firm squeeze, encouraging him to begin as planned.
Edward placed his hand out as if to shake hands with dad's stomach. His hand was visibly trembling and he looked like he was close to fainting. I gave his hand another squeeze, moving to untangle my hand from his and wind my arm around his midsection.
"Good afternoon Chief Swan…" Edward began, shakily.
"Um, Edward?" My father questioned, clearly confused of why Edward was addressing him in such a formal manner after knowing him for all 16 years of Edward's life.
My father took a step back, no doubt to give a struggling Edward some air. Upon his slight removal, he noticed our slight display of affection. A surprised knowing played out over my father's features and I knew he had pieced together a rather uncomplicated puzzle.
Charlie stuck his hand out and met Edward's, shaking it firmly.
With a deep breath and a shy smirk, Edward began again "My name is Edward Cullen. I would like permission to date Bella."
Chuckling softly, my father gave Edward's hand another firm shake and murmured quietly, "About time, son. About time."
Seeing my father's broad toothy grin and Edward's perfectly imperfect smile, I couldn't help but beam myself.
Later that evening, we found ourselves walking along the beach, playfully debating the finer points in life. We walked arms linked down the sandy trails to the waves. Edward's hands, as usual, were stuffed firmly in his pockets. I smiled at the familiar gesture, glancing at Edward. So much of his boyish charm remained throughout his teen years. He reminded me so much of the seven year old I was best friends with, just a little older and much more striking.
We were currently engaged in a heated debate. Seattle v. Boston. The Mariners were gearing up to face the Sox in the next week and every year it was the same battle, with new players to rave about. I stayed true to Mariners while Edward had been in love with the Bo Sox since he vacationed in Boston and went to a game at Fenway Park.
"Bella, the Bo Sox clearly have a better bullpen then the Mariners!" Edward sighed, clearly exasperated with my failure to understand his point of view.
"E, the Mariners starting pitchers have a better ERA and more completed gam…." My sentence and thought were interrupted as Edward's lips brushed against mine. Pressing firmer, his tongue darted out to caress my bottom lip. My lips parted and my tongue met his, effectively destroying all thought process.
My eyes fluttered open and I was met with Edward's crooked smirk. The one he uses when he thinks he has won. I smirked back, ready to resume our conversation after his rude interruption.
"..Um. Uh. Hm..What were we talking about?" I muttered, still in a daze.
Edward chuckled and kissed my forehead, resuming our walk. Huh, I guess he had a reason to smirk.
…What I wouldn't give to have one of those rude interruptions now, to see that adorable victorious smirk when his kisses leave me breathless.
Because I love your handshake, meeting my father
I love how you walk with your hands in your pockets
How you kiss me when I was in the middle of sayin' something
There's not a day I don't miss those rude interruptions
Traded? For two interns. I was unaware ball clubs could trade personnel. But that is exactly what happened today….
"Bella, Mr. Bavasi would like to see you in his office." Lauren's sing-song voice crackled over the speaker.
As the marketing director, it was not unusual to meet with Bill Bavasi, the GM on a regular basis. So it was a shocking blow when Mr. Bavasi began talking…
"Bella, as you know we are impressed with your work here with the Mariners. Your team of marketing personnel is close-knit and innovative; publicity for the M's is at an all time high. You also know November is contract time, and your contract is up. With that being said…" Mr. Bavasi looked up from the papers on his desk to meet my eyes. His expression made my stomach churn. This was not a meeting I was going to enjoy by the end.
"The Boston Red Sox offered us two highly capable marketing interns in turn for your services at Fenway Park. The board of directors chose to accept Boston's offer. As of now, your employment is no longer with the Mariners; it is with the Red Sox. We will pay out your contract; however, you will have the remaining month off to prepare for your move. Boston has purchased a condominium for you at Battery Warf. You will report to Fenway Park, November first. You are able to move to Boston when ready, your new home is ready for you. Bella it has been a pleasure. Thank you for your service."
Mr. Bavasi returned his attention to his paperwork, concluding the meeting immediately. Standing up on shaky legs, I returned to my office to pack. An hour later, I exited the Mariner's headquarters in a haze. Moving wasn't a big deal, in fact the more I stayed in Seattle the more I grew to resent the town that took him away from me. The fact I was moving into one of Edward's favorite cities had my mind reeling and my heart beating wildly. While I knew he did not live in Boston, I felt more connected to him now than I had since he left Seattle. The feeling had me conflicted. It was a little more than pathetic to be hung up on your ex after nearly two years. At the same time, I couldn't bear the thought of forgetting him and the way he made me feel. I couldn't bear the thought of him forgetting me. I still needed him, whether I would ever get the chance to express this need to him, who knows.
Entering my apartment, I immediately started planning the move, including selling everything. The Harbor Steps apartment had not changed since the day Edward walking out my door. New home, new city, new life. I sat at the computer desk overlooking the harbor, just staring at the sparkling water, waiting for the computer to load Facebook. The more I stared at the harbor, the more I knew I wouldn't miss this place. My surroundings were a painful reminder of what life was like and should be like.
Battery Warf. Isn't Boston cold in November? I guess I will find out. Bo Sox, are you ready?
I clicked post. Now all 345 of my friends would know within minutes and I would have to field millions of phone calls. Out of the corner of my eye, a suggested friend caught my eye. A gorgeous bronze haired man sat with an adorably tiny raven haired woman between his legs in the sand, his head resting on her shoulder looking down, her face turned toward his, both smiling widely. My heart stopped dead in my chest, causing me to take several deep breaths from the assault of emotions.
My fingers traveled to the picture ghosting over his face. Feeling ice cold, I rose slowly walking to the coat closet, pulling out a Boston Red Sox sweatshirt. Even after two years it still held the scent of its owner. I slipped it over my head, sinking to the floor next to the door.
My phone began to ring, but I didn't care to get up to retrieve it, stuck in my world of self-wallowing and pity. I looked to the ceiling like it contained all of life's answers. My voice broke as I choked out one more confession. "Edward, I don't know how to be something you miss."
..And he had moved on. If any memory at all, I was an ancient one.
And I'll go
Sit on the floor wearing your clothes
All that I know is I don't know
How to be something you miss
I'd never thought we'd have our last kiss
I'd never imagined we'd end like this
Your name, forever the name on my lips
My hands scrubbed the side of my face as I walked the short distance to my place. In all conscious, I could not refer to it as home. This place, Memphis, was not my home. If home is really where the heart is, my home is still in the small Harbor Steps apartment Bella and I owned. My heart still belonged to her, even after a year and a half away.
I stopped before I entered the building full of upscale condos. Harbor Lights. Even in Tennessee my choice haunted me, forcing me to remember the consequence of my hasty decision every day. The similarities were startling. My condo had the same view of the sound, the same layout, the same décor. The similarities were down to the name. Steps versus Lights. Karma is a frigid bitch, mocking my preference to live in the limelight instead of taking safe steps toward my future. When you are the son of a renowned oncologist, medical doors for opportunity are opened just for you. Those doors do not lead to happiness, at least not for me.
The door this opportunity afforded me was full of heartbreak. My life was constant anguish, surrounded by struggling babies, cuddly toddlers, hopeful children, heartbroken families. I lived triumphs and failures. In the year and a half of the two year residency, I have had the joy of sending cancer free children home, giving parents hope of a remission on the horizon, giving children hope of a full life. In the year and a half of the two year residency, I have had to endure the endless pain of diagnosing a toddler with leukemia, relaying the devastating news a child's cancer is no longer in remission, giving the life of a small child a time limit. It is a doctor's blessing to heal and curse to fail.
Today, I was informed I would be working at Children's Hospital in the Dana-Farber Cancer Center, in Boston starting in November. My dreams of remaining at St. Jude disappeared in front of my eyes as I was told of this great opportunity and how the Dana-Farber Cancer Center had heard about my work and wanted me out of all the oncology residents in the nation. I should be celebrating, but I can't find it in myself to celebrate. I would be leaving behind Jasper and Alice, my closest friends here in Memphis, I would be leaving my dream to be a part of groundbreaking cancer research, and I would be admitting to myself leaving Seattle was a mistake that did not fulfill the dreams I had for my career.
That led me to my present spot on my sofa, feet on the table, beer in hand. Chinese takeout containers littered the floor. My laptop sat on my bended knees as I scoured Facebook, looking for a reason to feel blessed with the cards I dealt myself. After reading mundane complaint after mundane complaint, my eyes traveled over to the People You May Know bar. After I exed a few, a jolt shot through my heart causing my breath to catch painfully in my lungs. There sat a picture of Bella wearing a breathtaking smile, on the verge of laughter. Her small frame was surrounded by muscular arms, in a sideways bear hug; a large man with short curly hair appeared to be whispering something in her ear, smiling.
My legs dropped heavily to the floor. I faintly heard the sickening crash of my laptop as it collided with the oak floor. I couldn't bring myself to care about my shattered computer. I blindly stood up, stepping on pieces of apple technology as I plodded to the coat closet in the foyer. My hands trembled as I grabbed the worn Seattle sweatshirt off its hanger. Slumping down the wall of the closet, I bunched up the fabric and held it to my face. It faintly smelled of Ralph Lauren Blue, Bella's favorite fragrance.
She had moved on without me. She was happy with someone new, while memories of her plagued my every thought. Her smile. The taste of her lips. The tingling of her fingers laced through mine. When I walked out, it never occurred to me this would be it, the end.
Looking intently to the sweatshirt for answers to my unspoken question, I choked out "Bella, I don't know how to be something you miss…" on the floor, curled in a coat closet, for the first time in nearly two years…I let the heated tears fall. When she walked away from me, I never allowed myself to think it was the end. I never imagined it would all end like this. Time had yet to heal this broken heart, I honestly doubt it ever would.
I shook my head vigorously, trying to expel the absolute hatred I felt for myself. I without a doubt was one masochistic bastard. Facebook will be my undoing. Once seemingly innocent social networking site will undoubtedly be the death of me.
Once I picked myself off of the floor, thoroughly disgusted with my hysterical display of emotion, I did what any normal, 27 year-old male would do. I dusted myself off. I made sure I didn't look like a mess. And within 15 minutes, I found myself at the Apple store down the street purchasing a second MacBook Pro, after the untimely and awfully violent demise of the first one.
When I arrived home, I did what any normal, completely normal, 27 year-old male would do. I powered the computer up, connected to the WiFi in my building, and logged into Facebook. Upon login, I did what any normal, completely normal 27 year-old male still pining over his ex-love after two years apart would do. I Facebook stalked her.
So I watched her new life played out in pictures. I met her new friends, I met her colleagues, I was at her family functions and unwrapping presents with her under the Christmas tree. I was there for the inside jokes. I watched the moments flicker by on my computer screen like I used to watch her facial expressions as she slept next to me. With every picture I clicked, I felt her forget me a little at a time. New people and places appeared in pictures, her smile brightened with each click of the camera. I was there for every milestone I missed.
In second to last picture, Bella and I smiled brightly, our faces pressed between Mike's and Jessica's, strawberry margaritas in hand, at M and J's Annual Fiesta. I smiled at the picture remembering the origin of the party, taking place in 9th grade with virgin margaritas, chips, and salsa. I smiled as memories flickered through my mind as I remembered the "sophistication" of the party over the years, from virgin margaritas to Coronas and tequila. From truth or dare to Mexican drinking games. As quickly as the fiesta picture put a smile on my face, the last picture erased it. The last piece fell in place as the whole picture of my actions were finally revealed.
There in plain color, was a picture just a couple of months old. Bella grinned at the camera clutching a sleeping baby, a dead ringer for the man standing next to her, playing with the baby. A blonde woman stood next to Bella, smiling at the trio. At that moment, I felt her let go of the last memories she held on to. I hope she is living a beautiful life. Despite the ache in my heart, I would never want her to feel the same. Even though I may be a distant memory, my memory of her is anything but.
With a deep breath, I picked up my phone and dialed a number I hadn't dialed in quite a while.
"Hey, Mike. How's it going?"
So I'll watch your life in pictures like I used to watch you sleep
And I feel you'll forget me like I used to feel you breathe
And I'll keep up with our old friends just to ask them how you are
I hope it's nice where you are
The last box was packed, ready for the moving company to load up. I looked around the empty apartment, surprised at the relief washing over me. I will miss this place, for the people I will be leaving behind. This apartment itself had been a daily reminder of the choice I made to stay in Seattle and Edward's choice to leave.
My going away party was bittersweet. I was excited about moving to a new city, a new start. But I would be leaving the people who have literally forced me to live outside of misery. After nearly 20 years of friendship, I would be leaving Jessica, Mike. I would be missing out on the birth of their twins, Isabelle and Mason. I would be missing the annual parties, the late night chats, and the date nights. I would be losing my last connection to Edward. I would be leaving Rosalie, Emmett, and their adorable newborn, Kyle. I would be leaving my family. I would be leaving painful memories.
Before exiting the apartment a final time, I quickly scanned the room, remembering the last six years in a flash flood of memories. The good, the bad, but when it came down to it, this just wasn't home anymore. It hadn't been for a while. I quietly shut the door and walked down the stairs for the final time, shutting this chapter of my life.
Standing at the top of Harbor Steps, I realized I wouldn't miss this place at all. The sparkling water. The muted sunshine. The beautiful backdrop of the sound. There was a time I wouldn't have left this place for the world. Today, it just wasn't home.
As I reflected on home, I couldn't help but wonder where Edward was now. Was he in Memphis? Did he move? Wherever he is I hope the sun shines down on him and he stops to appreciate the beauty in each day. More than that, I hope something reminds him of home, and he wishes he had never left our city.
As quickly as the sun peeked out of the clouds, the rain began to drizzle. I pulled my hood up smiling at the temperamental change in weather. Change was prominent in Seattle, from the weather to the ever changing culture and progression. It was one of the things that initially drew me to Seattle…it was ever-changing. I always planned on Seattle changing and evolving. I never planned on Edward changing his mind.
…In a world of change, Edward was my constant. What happens when the constant leaves? Do you keep evolving? Or do you stalemate and become a constant within yourself?
And I hope the sun shines and it's a beautiful day
And something reminds you, you wished you had stayed
You can plan for a change in weather and town
But I never planned on you changing your mind
Packing the last of my belongings felt indifferent as this tumultuous chapter in my life ended like the final chords in a song. I could never bring myself to become attached to this place. I would miss Alice and Jasper like hell, without meeting those two through my residency, two fellow residents themselves, I would have crashed and burned. I owed them my career really, because they pulled me out of the funk I was in upon arrival.
Alice was a force to be reckoned with. She had a big personality and an even bigger heart. Her smile lit up a room and she could diagnose with the best of them. Kids loved her and parents somehow felt comforted in her presence. And Jasper. He quickly became my confidant. He was the epitome of calm, completely offsetting his better half, Alice. Trials and tribulations in his life trumped mine ten to one, but yet he managed to save faith and have a positive outlook.
I would miss their crazy antics and the sense of family we had built during our residency. Alice was signed on a St. Jude and Jasper had plans to open a private psychiatric practice in downtown. Once again, I was leaving people I deeply cared about behind.
I picked up a picture frame to place in the final box. I had to laugh at the picture, taken at the beach during my birthday party. I sat on the sand next to the bonfire, with Alice sitting in between my legs. Jasper was laying on the sand, facing the camera in a model pose, head propped up on a fist, flexing. I was looking down at Jasper while Alice cracked a joke about Jasper's lack of muscle. On the frame it read Doc One, Doc Two, and the Muscle-less Man.
After taping the final box and handing it to the moving company, my eyes drifted around the apartment. Near the door sat a tattered Mariner sweatshirt. One last look at the harbor, I turned and walked to the door. I threw the sweatshirt over my head and shut the apartment door, never looking back. It's hard to miss something you never enjoyed in the first place. It's hard to miss the place that led to a last kiss, to the end of a 9 year relationship. It's hard to miss the place you resent for reasons completely controlled by you.
I missed her like I missed the heat in the winter. But I didn't know how to be something she would miss. I wasn't entirely sure I wanted to be something she missed. For her to feel what I feel…I wouldn't wish that on anyone. I never thought this decision would come to this. I never imagined leaving Seattle would really be it.
So I'll go now, clad in her tattered sweatshirt. One more door closed. One more chapter wrote. One more step away from the ending I wanted.
So I'll go
Sit on the floor wearing your clothes
All that I know is I don't know
How to be something you miss
I never thought we'd have our last kiss
I never imagined we'd end like this
Your name, forever the name on my lips
Just like our last kiss
After a month of preparation, moving, long talks with movers and interior designers, long goodbyes…I was finally here, in my new home, Battery Warf. The thought of home was foreign to me; I hadn't felt it in so long. But this place felt like home, right where I needed to be. The luxury condominium had no resemblance of the small Seattle apartment. The view of the water was breathtaking as the lights sparkled in the darkness. The décor was modern and the layout was open, rooms flowing together in harmony. It was like living on a movie set, every element was perfectly planned. And thanks to the moving company and a wonderful interior designer, I didn't have to unpack a single box.
I couldn't help but grin as I took in all the condominium had to offer and the feeling of home enveloped me like a friendly hug. This was it. This was meant to be. I was finally exactly where I belonged.
Hearing a box drop, the tell-tale sound of glass shattering from next door, I remembered I hadn't shut the door upon arrival, in my haste to see the condo in person instead of through digital pictures. I reluctantly tore my gaze from the massive glass wall looking over the skyline and the glittering water below and toward the door. My heart stopped as I took in my new neighbor, who was standing frozen mirroring my position near his glass wall with a box of shattered glasses at his feet, hands still out as if he was still holding the box of destroyed tumblers.
I could feel my lips turn in an excited smile, my heat pounded furiously in my chest. Without a second thought I ran across my condo, entering his. In seconds, I was enveloped in his masculine scent, my arms embracing him tightly, standing on the box of broken glass.
He picked me up and whirled me around breathlessly laughing "You're here. In Boston. It's really you!"
"Yes, it's me. I can't believe you're here. I've missed you so much, E."
Behind him, a picture caught my eye and my heart sank. I untangled myself from Edward and walked over to the picture, picking it up softly. I gazed at the picture as forced a smile and mumbled, "You guys look really happy."
Edward rested his hands on my shoulders and chuckled at the picture, "Yeah, I had some great times with those two. As much as I loved Alice and Jasper, a deep yearning was always constant in their presence, sometimes it was stifling."
I smiled knowingly. "You fell in love with Alice."
His voice dropped with incredulity "I did what, now?"
I laughed humorously as I tried to gather my thoughts "Come on, Edward. We are friends here. This picture tells a story, all pictures tell a story."
"Then please, friend. Tell me this story, because I am dying to hear it." He spat.
Confusion flittered over my conscious. I had no idea why he was fighting so hard against the feelings he so obviously felt for this Alice woman.
"Well, look at the proximity, E. You are sitting close to her, resting your head on her shoulder. Completely comfortable. She is gazing up with you with affection. Love in pure form."
It was Edward's turn to chuckle humorously as he began in a harsh voice "Love in pure form, huh? That is laughable. Of all people I would think you would know love in pure form. I wasn't even looking at Alice in this picture. I was laughing at her husband, Jasper. This pale, skinny guy sprawled out on the sand posing like a body builder." Punctuating his statement with a poke to a figure in the picture I hadn't noticed before.
His voice filled with sadness as he placed the picture frame back in its spot. "What about you, Bella? I know love in pure form? I have witnessed pure love; when a husband marries his wife, when a parent holds a child. Witnessing and experiencing are two separate entities. While I have witnessed, you have experienced. So don't tell me I know pure love, when so clearly I do not."
Utterly confused at his statement I questioned, "What do you mean I have experienced? The only love I have ever experienced is through you, Edward."
Edward muttered, clearly in disbelief. "What about the guy? The baby?"
"What are you talking about? What guy? What baby? I swear Edward, stop speaking in code!" I screeched, frustrated with his lack of verbiage.
His smooth voice was etched with emotion as he struggled to string words together. "The Facebook pictures! I saw them when you were a suggested friend. You were with a guy holding a baby that looked just like the guy! Don't tell me you are unaware of what I am talking about Bella."
Realization dawned on me as I had never thought about the possibility of Edward seeing pictures via Facebook. "Edward, those boys were Emmett and his son Kyle. Emmett's wife, Rosalie was off to my left. I am Kyle's godmother, not mother. I can't believe you thought it…what in…oh so that's why you called Mike and Jess."
Edward's cheeks flamed in an uncharacteristic blush as he was caught in his attempt to secretly obtain information about my life by means of Mike.
"You know, Edward. All this time you have had my number. You could have called me." Remembering Mike was not the most descriptive person on the planet, nor one to gossip, even to Edward.
"Bella, be serious. Would you call, if by the use of Facebook, you thought I was with Alice, seeing how Jasper is not in the focus of the picture?"
I thought about my feelings when I had seen this particular picture on Facebook. Deciding not to divulge that information, I shook my head weakly. It was painful for me to believe he was with someone new, to have that information come from his lips would have been devastating.
I couldn't wait any longer. Two years away from this love had been too long. Without thinking, without caring about consequence, I stretched up on my toes and brushed my lips with his. And again. And again, until our lips found the rhythm they were once upon a time so accustomed to.
After moments of complete bliss, I looked up into his field green eyes, and knew why this felt like home.
Forever the name on my lips
I look back and smile. Every decision, wrong or right, had brought me to where I am today.
I waited a long 5 months before I asked Bella to marry me again. This time, I went big and very public, asking her to marry me in front of 36, 000 people and millions more watching the Seattle vs. Boston game over the airwaves. With Bella as a marketing director, I had access to dozens of people who could make my plans real. So on our original anniversary which would have signified 12 years together, forgetting about the two year break and 5 months of dating…in the middle of Fenway park on home plate…
36,000 people were silently waiting in anticipation as they realized what was happening in front of their eyes. Bella had been told she and a fan would be involved in a pregame game show, involving Fenway Park. She walked out of the clubhouse with an adorable apprehensive look on her face.
I stood at home plate nervous as can be. My whole body shivered in anticipation and I silently berated myself for wanting to make such a grand gesture. She smiled, clearly confused as to why I was standing on home plate, instead of a random fan. Her eyes asked a million questions and I tried to suppress her questions with my own eyes.
The "game show host" began, and I swear I almost lost the contents of my stomach on the freshly lined batter's box.
"Bella, your opponent today is a Dr. Edward Cullen. Today's subject, the past, present, and future." Boomed a radio personality I was familiar with, but couldn't remember to save my life.
With that, our theme song from younger days, James Taylor's, You've Got a Friend in Me, trickled over the speakers. Bella let out a small laugh as she glanced at me with a look of excitement and silent wondering as she turned her gaze to the screen in center field. Pictures of our past flashed across the screen transitioning from playful to silly and romantic as the song transitioned to Brad Paisley's Then. She grabbed my hand and squeezed as we continued to watch our lives play out over the screen. Finally, Big and Rich crooned through the speakers singing Lost in this Moment with You. Bella once again squeezed my hand, her eyes sparkled through a teary smile, remembering the moments captured digitally. The slideshow froze on target as the last picture remained on the screen, my favorite picture of all.
We were visiting home one summer, and Charlie had just got a new camera. He had been dying to become an amateur photographer, Bella and I happened to be his victims. Bella and I were lying on our backs, in the grass, surrounded by little wildflowers. Our gazes were locked, small smiles playing on our faces. My hand was cupped in a half in a half heart over my head; her hand completed the half of the missing heart. Our other hands were linked together between us. Charlie had snapped the picture unbeknownst to us until we were mailed the picture days after we returned to Boston. Apparently, he was hidden in a tree searching for wildlife and snapped a picture of us instead. We had that particular picture enlarged and framed and now it rested above our fireplace.
I barely heard the host ask Bella if she was ready to answer her trivia questions. I turned her so we were standing on home plate and dropped to one knee.
"Bella, there was a reason I fell in love with this city at a young age. There is a reason my favorite team was Boston. I didn't understand the whys until my eyes locked on yours across the hall. In that moment, all the wrongs righted themselves and I knew this city was magical. After all those months away, Boston brought me back to you."
With a deep breath, I took the light blue box out of my coat pocket and flipped it open. The 2 carat cushion cut solitaire, surrounded by tiny diamonds glittered in the sun. "You are my past, you are my present, will you be my future?"
Bella sank to her knees and threw her arms around my neck as she sniffled, "as if there is any other future, Edward."
My smile took over my face as tears of joy threatened to spill. I gave her a sweet kiss as I slid the ring on her finger where this time, it did stay for eternity.
Forever the name on my lips.
Well, here it is! I hope you liked it.
Let me know your favorite part! =)