Please be aware, this story contains themes of domestic abuse, non-romantic sex, depression, and character death.
Please read with caution. PM me if you have any questions.
"Bella, come on sweetheart, let me in."
"No, Edward. No. Please, please leave me alone. Please. I can't do this. It's not right."
"Darlin', it's been six months. Please let me in, love. I've missed you terribly."
I've been on the road for nearly five of the last six months; and have been trying to get Bella to see me for the last six weeks. She's continually made excuses and even flat out refused to see me. I miss her terribly, which is why I'm now pounding on her apartment door at nine o'clock on a Saturday morning. I have no intention of leaving until she lets me in. I'll sleep out here for a week if I have to. I will see her.
"I can't. It's not right. It's not right."
"Love, what's not right? Talk to me." Please.
"I'm not right. I'm an awful, awful person. I-I'm disgusting."
"Sweetheart, you know that's not true. Come on, please, Bella. At least open the door."
"I can't. I can't. I can't see you."
I'm thoroughly confused about what it is Bella's talking about. I don't understand why she won't see me, and I'm hurt. I don't understand why she's decided seeing me is "wrong" or something she shouldn't—or can't—do. I need an explanation, and I'm not leaving with out one.
"Bella, honey, I'm not going to leave. I'm staying here until you let me in. If you really don't want to see me anymore, if you don't want to be friends any more, then I'll accept that, but you have to say it to my face."
It breaks my heart to say this. I love Bella and have for years, but if she doesn't want me around, well, I'll do anything for her.
There is silence, except for a few soft sniffles on the other side of the door. After a minute, though, I hear her fiddling with the locks and I breathe a small sigh of relief.
The door is flung open, and my relief vanishes. I barely recognise my best friend. She has lost a disturbing amount of weight, and her pale face is gaunt and tear-streaked. Her long, dark hair is lifeless and dull, and her eyes, which used to sparkle and dance so beautifully, are red-rimmed and empty. I curse myself silently. I should have stayed when she sent me away.
She insisted I go, promised she would be fine, but I should have trusted my gut feeling.
There is nothing 'fine' about this girl, this shadow of my best friend, who stands before me.
Without thinking, I draw her into my arms, desperate to soothe her. She feels so insubstantial in my arms, and I feel tears start to collect in my eyes as she fights my embrace. I'm stronger than she is, and I hold her carefully until she stops fighting and sags against me, sobs wracking her tiny body.
She continues to cry as I manoeuvre us inside the door, and I scoop her up into my arms as I walk across the tiny space and settle myself on the chocolate leather couch.
Bella no longer fights me, instead she is clinging to my shirt with a ferocity that surprises me, given her weakened state. She continues to weep, and I feel my shirt become damp with her bitter tears. I'm openly crying too, completely overwhelmed by the situation, and the distressing changes in the girl I care for so deeply.
We sit, Bella curled on my lap, interminably. It may be a few hours, it may be a few days, before her sobs become sniffles, and then there is quiet.
She falls asleep, her fists clenched in my shirt, exhausted by her outpouring of emotion. I stroke her hair as she sleeps, my mind a mess as I struggle to comprehend what is happening to my Bella.
When her eyes flutter open a few hours later, I'm still stroking her hair. She looks up at me, her smile gentle. She takes my breath away, but then, she always has.
"Edward," she whispers, "I miss you."
"I've missed you too, sweetheart."
At the sound of my voice, she stiffens and pushes herself upright. "You're here."
"No. I can't see you. It's wrong."
This again? I'm hurt and frustrated.
"Bella, stop. Why is it wrong to see me? We've been friends for years. Why, now, is it so wrong for you to see me?" I need an explanation from her.
She looks at me, and I can see the conflict in her eyes.
"Why don't you want to see me anymore?"
"That's not good enough, Bella. You need to tell me the truth, love."
Her eyes flash—she knows I'm targeting her weakness. We've always been honest with each other, and she knows I deserve the truth.
"Don't you understand, Edward? Don't you get it? I'm disgusting. I basically wished him away. And now he's gone. And it's my fault. I wanted it."
I'm even more perplexed.
"Jacob's death was an accident. No one was at fault. I don't understand what you're trying to say."
Bella stands up and backs away from me.
"Fine. You want the truth; here's the truth. You'll wish you never asked." She's shouting now, and I don't understand her sudden anger.
"The truth is I love you. I'm in love with you. I've been in love with you for years. I loved YOU when he was alive. I fantasized about being with YOU, even when he was alive. And now he's dead. And I'm disgusting, because I WANTED YOU. I wanted to be free of him and now he's gone and it's all my fault because I WISHED HIM AWAY." She draws in a shaky breath.
"He's gone. HE'S GONE. And I wanted him gone. But I didn't want him to DIE, Edward. I loved him, but I wanted you and now look what I've done."
She looks at me, her cheeks pink, her dark eyes wary.
I'm frozen, stunned. My mind scrambles to fit the pieces of this puzzle together.
"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry, Edward," she whispers.
Before I've managed to say a word, she's gone.
The bathroom door slams shut. The lock clicks into place.