Disclaimer: Twilight belongs to Stephanie Meyer.
Thank you to EmilyMasen and AskTheMagic8Ball for all the help with this chapter!
"The follies which a man regrets most in his life are those which he didn't commit when he had the opportunity." - Helen Rowland
"Bella?" Edward's voice echoed throughout our apartment. From our bedroom, I heard him set his keys on the counter. "Are you home?"
I remained silent as I sat at the foot of our bed, my hands clutching the letter I had received in the mail a few hours earlier informing me that my transfer to the New York School of Interior Design had been approved.
"Bella? Bel-" his voice stopped as he came into the room.
I quickly looked up, setting the letter beside me, to see him leaning easily against the doorway.
He nodded toward the letter I had just set down. "What's that?"
I swallowed. "This?" I lifted the letter.
"It's … mail," I finished lamely.
He quirked an eyebrow and smiled at me in amusement. "I can see that."
He put his hand out against the wall, balancing himself as he kicked off his shoes. "Is it something bad? Are we late on our phone bill again?"
"No, no," I assured him, letting the hand that was holding the letter fall back to my side. "It's nothing money related."
"Good," he said, clearly relieved. "I honestly don't think I could handle another overdue bill." He shrugged off his jacket and tossed it on the bed. "Or another overdue credit card payment." He sighed, wandering into the bathroom. "And I still refuse to ask my parents for any money," he said, raising his voice a little as he turned on the faucet. "I know money's tight right now, but we're going to make this work." I heard the water stop. "I promise."
"Edward," I said before he could say anything else. It was now or never.
"Yeah?" He poked his head out of the bathroom; his button-down shirt was now halfway undone, and his hair was slowly freeing from the hair gel he used every morning to tame his unruly locks.
"It's a letter from the New York School of Interior Design," I said.
His eyebrows rose in surprise. "That's great, Bella," he responded, his face breaking out into a large smile. "I knew you were going to get some great attention with that student project you did last semester. What did they say?"
My throat tightened, knowing what I was going to say next would change my life as I knew it.
"Bella?" His face dropped a little, concerned, and he moved toward me.
"They approved my transfer," I whispered, holding the letter out to him.
"Transfer?" His eyebrows furrowed as he stepped forward and grabbed the piece of paper from my hands. He gripped the edge of it, his eyes skimming over the letter. When he was done, he looked up at me, confusion and anger spreading over his face. "When did you apply for a transfer?"
"A few months ago," I answered.
"When?" he asked sharply.
I flinched at his tone. "In September."
He shook his head and turned away from me, his free hand twisting into his hair as his other hand threw the letter down onto the floor. "Why didn't you fucking tell me?" he shouted, whipping back around to face me.
I jumped at his sudden outburst. I opened my mouth to answer, but no sound came out.
There were a million answers to that question. Millions of answers, and millions of reasons why I had even applied for the transfer. But none I could make into words.
"Edward." I stood up and tried to move closer to him, but he took a few steps back.
"Are you going to go?" he snapped.
I inhaled deeply. "It's complicated."
"Don't give me that bullshit," he said harshly. "Are you going or not?"
"It's more complicated than just what I've decided to do, Edward," I begged, praying that he would understand. "Can we please just … talk about this?"
His jaw clenched, and his eyes squeezed shut, and when they opened moments later, they were softer, pleading. "Just tell me, Bella," he said slowly, enunciating each syllable. He then took a deep breath. "Are you leaving me?"
I felt tears sting my eyes, and I stepped forward and took his hand. "I have to go to New York," I whispered.
He stared at me. Anguish that matched my own filled his eyes, and with his free hand he reached up and brushed the tear away from my cheek.
"When are you leaving?"
"After finals," I said quietly.
His jaw clenched slightly. I wanted to ask him what he was thinking, but as he brought his hand back to my cheek, I stopped myself. I knew by the warmth of his hand and the way he was looking at me, this wasn't the time for questions or answers about the future.
I grabbed his hand as more tears spilled out of my eyes. "I love you," I said clearly, wanting him to know that my leaving had nothing to do with him.
He nodded as he brought me closer and wrapped his arms around me. I closed my eyes and inhaled his scent, a smell that couldn't be described as anything else but Edward. It was his very essence, and I had grown to love and take comfort in it. But now, as I took in his scent, all I could feel was a dull ache in my chest.
I slowly lifted my eyes and looked up at the man who was both my first love and best friend. We had gone through so much together, relied on each other, lived and breathed for each other. And although we still had so much to talk about before I left, all I could think of as his hand stroked my tear-stained cheek was feeling him and the way he made me feel, for at least one more time.
I tilted my face up and brought my lips to his, closing my eyes to relish in the feel of his soft lips against mine as he kissed me back. "I love you," I whispered, wanting to repeat the phrase as much as I could before any final decisions of our future were made.
He brought his other hand up and cupped the back of my neck, bringing me even closer to him and intensifying the kiss. I breathed him in again, my hand winding up his neck and into his hair.
He moaned against my lips, lifting my shirt up a little and gripping my bare waist, a gesture that had always made me squirm. Generally, the action would make me wiggle away from his grasp, and he would smile and laugh and grab onto me again, pulling me back to him. But this time, I savored the feel of his large hand against the ticklish part of my stomach instead, and I brought him closer to me.
As his tongue swept along my bottom lip, I gripped him tighter, and he tore his lips from mine and peppered kisses along my jaw and neck as he backed me onto the bed, catching himself so he wouldn't fall on top of me. I moved, pulling him with me, so that we were situated more comfortably.
He brought his lips back to mine for a brief minute before lifting my shirt up over my head and tossing it over on the side of the bed. He moved down my body, planting open-mouthed kisses on my stomach, as he unbuttoned my jeans and slid them off my legs.
I pulled him closer to me, undoing the rest of his buttons before pulling the shirt off his shoulders.
His hands found their way back to my face and neck, and he kissed me intensely, bringing me deeper and deeper into a world where only we existed.
And as we made love, our touches weren't filled with raw passion or need. It was simply him and me, savoring every moment we had with the other before facing our unknown future.
And as I was overtaken with waves of pleasure, I clutched him to me and closed my eyes, desperate to hold on to him for just another moment, to hold on to the past I was comfortable and familiar with. Every touch, every second I memorized. And as we fell asleep in each other's arms, I was overcome with a sense of calm and happiness, for the future would come when the future came. But now, at this very moment in time as I held Edward, everything was perfect.
And the future did indeed come, hours later, when I awoke in darkness and found myself alone.
A/N: I hope you all enjoyed (even though it was quite angsty.) I'm really excited about this, as it's my first Twilight, full-length fanfiction. And not to worry, all the questions will be answered. Thank you so much for reading and please leave a review! They are alwaysappreciated.
3/09/2012 EDITED, thank you so much Project Team Beta :)