Contest: Season of Our Discontent Anonymous Angst Contest
Pen Name: mpg
Twitter or Facebook: mpg82
Title: Our Song
Picture Prompt Number: 8
Word Count: 6984
Summary: I dreamt Edward would serenade me with the song we'd perfected. It spoke of love, and overwhelming joy at being in the presence of each other. It would play on repeat through the key moments of our life and prove just how perfect we were together.
Warnings and Disclaimer: I own nothing. There is one special person, Boydblog, who helped me whip this into shape. Thank you always and forever bb :D
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When Edward smiled, the left side of his mouth rose ever so slightly higher than the right. That smile was reason enough to get up each morning and go to school. It was enough to steal my breath momentarily and send my heart fluttering inside my chest.
He was easy to spot in the crowded hall, with his tall, lean frame, shock of ruddy-brown hair, light tracing of freckles and shocking green eyes. Once my eyes found him, they never left and I watched his smile as he strode confidently toward me. His focus was on me, in almost the same way mine was on him.
"Hey, B," he greeted as he leant casually against the locker beside mine. He met my eyes and gifted me with a close-up of one of his perfect smiles.
"Hey," I replied breathlessly.
There was something about him lately that made my heart race and my breath quicken. Just being in his proximity made my body ache and throb in ways I'd been unable to imagine before. It was as if the emotions racing through me were copied straight from the bodice-ripper romance novel hidden deep in my underwear drawer.
Despite the way he sent my emotions into overdrive, we were totally comfortable around each other. More than any teenage boy and girl had a right to be. There was a sense of ease between us that belied hormones and puberty, and transcended high school politics. Edward was my best friend, and I couldn't help but hope one day we would be so much more.
"Are you coming to Em's party on Saturday?" he asked, reaching automatically to take my books from me.
"I'm not sure." I passed them to him without fuss. For a long time I had refused, but somewhere along the way he'd broken down my defenses and now it was just one of our 'things'.
"I'm not sure if Dad will be home. If he is, you know he won't let me go." I added.
"You can always say you're coming over to my place, you know Mom would cover for us."
Only my father would prefer me spending the evening alone with a boy rather than going to a party with my peers. I must have been convincing all of the times I'd told him that Edward and I were 'just friends'.
"Maybe," I offered. "Are you definitely going?"
"When do I ever say no to a good party?"
I rolled my eyes.
Six months ago, Edward had puppy fat, was inches shorter, covered in acne, and had a voice that was in the final stages of breaking. He wasn't popular and didn't go to parties. He hated going anywhere. I think it was around that time his mom called my dad to beg for me to be allowed to spend the weekends with him. I think she figured it was probably a good idea to have a friend in close quarters with her son while he was going through that difficult time—even if that friend happened to be a girl.
I knew the party would just be another hormone and alcohol fueled romp that most people would regret come Monday, but that was part of the appeal. It seemed to be a right of passage, to witness someone pour their heart out to the object of their crush, only to be crushed in return. I also figured that since I'd stuck with Edward through his awkward phase, I should just enjoy the benefits now.
"Sure, I'll work on Dad and convince him."
His smile was enthusiastic and catching. A little bubble of hope built within me that maybe he had an ulterior motive for making sure I would be there. My own smile matched his in intensity. My mind began to concoct a series of potential scenarios that all included how he would tell me that his feelings for me had grown. I imagined him falling on his knees and confessing his undying love. We would be high school sweethearts, and our relationship would only grow stronger with the passing years until we married. I could see our whole life together playing out in front of my eyes.
"B, have you listened to a word I've said?"
"Sorry. What?" I asked, snapping out of my stupor and focusing back on the here and now. There was no point planning everything that was to come if I didn't enjoy what was happening in front of me.
"I asked whether you're coming over tonight to work on that song."
"Yeah, of course." I wondered why he even bothered to ask. We were in a band and every Tuesday was our jam night. It was only the two of us, but we both sang and played the guitar.
"Good, because I really want to get that song finished by the weekend."
There was mischief hidden in the depth of his eyes. I knew he was planning something.
The daydreams overtook me again. The song we were working on was a complete change from our previous ones. Where our older ones were filled with angst and torment, this one was gushing and romantic. It spoke of love, and overwhelming joy at just being in the presence of another person. I'd been struck with inspiration when I'd realized how my feelings for Edward had changed.
My new visions were all variants of Edward and his guitar, serenading me—with the song we had worked hard to perfect together—at the party.
I imagined that song featuring in all of the key moments of our life together. We would sing it together at our wedding and everyone there would just know how perfect we were for each other.
The evening alone with Edward was more productive than I could have dreamed. The goal of completing the song was the most important thing. We worked together with more focus than we ever had before. It seemed that we both understood the absolute importance of the song and were feverish in our desire to complete it.
There was no way I could deny my hope anymore. The way Edward's eyes lit up as he added words and adjusted the timing, confirmed that something had changed for him too. It was obvious to me that our relationship would shift on Saturday night.
Given everything we'd been through, I could understand why Edward wanted to make the transition special. I also couldn't blame him if he was a little nervous about it. It was a big leap after all. I tried to make it easier on him, whispering words of encouragement when he grew frustrated and telling him that any girl he desired was a fool if she didn't feel the same way. He granted me another of his special smiles for that.
After we'd worked on the song relentlessly, and just moments before I was due home, Edward played it. My heart almost shattered when I heard how perfectly the words encapsulated everything that was us. Every day we had spent together, ensconced in our own little world, immediately meant so much more. They weren't just hours and days spent as best friends, they were the minutes and seconds that sped us toward this ultimate connection.
Edward said nothing more. By the time he dropped me home, I knew it was because he wanted to wait until Saturday. He wanted the perfect moment. Then he would tell me that his feelings had changed.
I floated on air. The days seemed brighter, jokes seemed funnier and life was just better. Edward, my best friend of so many years, would finally be my boyfriend. I wouldn't have been surprised if angels appeared to sing to the heavens when the perfect moment finally arrived.
On Saturday, I could barely wait to get to Emmett's house for the party of the century. For everyone else it would be just another teenage party, but for me, it would be the turning point in my life. I knew it was going to be a defining moment; one I would look back on with fond memories in the years to come. A story Edward and I would tell our grandchildren one day.
Butterflies danced strange little pirouettes in my stomach as I dressed for the party. I took extra time to get myself ready. I utilized every item in my tiny makeup bag—being the only daughter of a single-father had its drawbacks sometimes. By the time I was ready to go, I felt as confident as I could be. I was eager to hear Edward's declaration.
I was also late.
I drifted into the party, my eyes scanning quickly from side to side, trying to find him. I wanted it to happen. I was more than ready to start the rest of our lives together. I was even contemplating just declaring myself if he didn't say something within the first three seconds of seeing me.
I heard the first few chords of our song and my stomach clenched tighter. Even though I hadn't seen him yet, he obviously knew I was here. I smiled to myself as I realized he'd probably been watching me through the window.
I followed the sound.
His gravelly voice joined the soft guitar and my heart fluttered. I could picture the way his eyes would half-close and he would become lost in his own little world as he sang—just as he had a few nights earlier.
His quiet voice led me to one of the bedrooms. My mouth grew drier with every step I took toward my destiny. The door at the end of the hallway was ajar, the music floating softly to me from within, and I couldn't help but think that the only way the moment could be more perfect would be if we were completely alone.
And maybe if there was a trail of rose petals leading me to my future.
I could see him in the dim-lit room. He was sitting on the bed with his guitar supported in his lap. I stood watching him for a moment, leaning against the door to get a better view. His eyes were wide open and he stared intently at a spot I couldn't quite see. I decided I would wait until he was done before I interrupted. If he could time his perfect moment, so could I.
My intention was to applaud him the moment he'd finished. That all changed when I heard a tiny noise from within the room, the sound of bedsprings shifting even though Edward hadn't moved an inch.
My blood turned to ice as my mind considered what could have caused the sound. Instinctively though, I knew the reason. There was someone else with him. My fears were confirmed when he placed the guitar beside him before he'd even reached the final verse. Another girl filled his arms almost instantly. I stepped backward, clamping my hand tightly over my mouth to stop from crying out.
His hand reached into her long hair and he pulled her close. The room was filled with the sounds of sweet kisses, and then desperate moans for more.
I couldn't take any more. I turned and fled. I ran two blocks before I just couldn't hold myself together for one second longer. I fell onto grass, collapsing into a heap before rolling myself into a ball. My sobs overtook me. To even try to stop them just hurt too much.
I tried repeatedly to clear the images of her in his arms, but I couldn't. There was nothing I could say or do to change what I'd seen. I felt sickened that for almost a week I'd been wandering around school thinking my feelings were reciprocated. The dream had burst, broken by the sharp claws of reality.
Light flooded the space around me and I realized my pained howling had disturbed the occupants of a nearby house. I tried to drag myself to my feet and keep running, but I just didn't have the energy. Hands grabbed at me, blankets were wrapped around me, words were whispered and questions were asked. Through it all, I could only think of his hands on her body.
What are they doing right now?
Eventually, whoever dragged me into the house must have worked out who my father was. I wasn't sure whether they had gone through my purse or whether I'd inadvertently said something to give away my identity. In the end, it didn't matter. Once they'd discovered who I was, they called my dad. Within ten minutes, he walked through the door looking equal parts anxious and relieved.
The ride home was silent. I didn't want to talk about what happened, and he didn't want to ask. It was another benefit-but-drawback of having an absent mother. I wondered for a moment whether being able to talk to someone would help, but then realized that it wouldn't smooth the serrated edges of the metaphorical knife, twisting deep inside my heart. It wouldn't stop the pain caused by the fact that Edward had been singing our song to someone else. I didn't know who it was. It didn't really matter. He hadn't sung to me and he'd never intended to. That knowledge hurt more than anything else ever could.
I felt like a fool, a useless, heartbroken fool.
I spent Sunday underneath the blankets of my bed, ignoring my phone each time it rang. I locked my bedroom door and refused to see or talk to anyone. I hated the fact that Edward had been thinking of someone else the whole time we'd been working on the song. He'd been the only thing on my mind; he was always the only thing. I was devastated and embarrassed. I was furious at myself for being so stupid, and angry at him for leading me on.
Much too soon, Monday arrived. I knew I couldn't face anyone from school yet. My only luck came from the fact that there had been very few, if any, witnesses to my arrival at the party, or my subsequent fleeing. Regardless, I couldn't face him.
I ignored the repeated knocking on my door, calling out to tell my father I wasn't going to go to school when he threatened to break down the door. I made up some excuse about feeling sick. I knew I would have to return to school eventually, but I couldn't yet.
Once I was certain I was alone in the house, I reached for my well-loved guitar. I sat on my bed and laid it across my lap. I hunched over and watched my fingers as I strummed the familiar chords to our song over and over. I hummed the words that I could no longer bring myself to sing. Words I had once thought meant something, but which I now knew were meaningless—at least as far as we were concerned.
My tears splashed heavily onto the strings, joining with the chords to become part of the song. My sobs accompanied the melody, taking the place of words written but left unsung. Less than a day earlier they had been so uplifting, but now they seemed melancholy and pained. The bitter irony of it all left a horrid taste in my mouth and rendered me unable to speak.
I played until my fingers were red raw and ached. I tried to focus on that pain rather than the one in my heart—which seemed infinitely worse. I eventually fell asleep, well before nightfall. I clutched my guitar as my dreams were filled with the impossible—Edward declaring his love for me.
~ 0 ~
Almost as soon as I opened my locker, Edward was beside me.
"What happened to you on Saturday?" he asked, holding his hands out for my books.
I shrugged, and concentrated hard on the words printed on my math book in an attempt to stop myself from crying.
"Some people said you were there, but others swore you weren't."
When I didn't immediately hand him my books, he grabbed them off me.
"And then you didn't show up yesterday. I was really worried. I called your house about a hundred times, but your Dad said you were sick."
"I was sick."
"Hope it's not contagious." He gave me a playful nudge.
"Can we not do this?" I sighed. "I'm still not feeling very well."
I swung my locker shut before reaching out and tugging my books back from him. I turned and walked away as quickly as I could.
"What the hell, B?" he shouted loudly after me.
A few other students stopped what they were doing and paid attention to the two of us. I wondered what they thought was happening. I knew between Edward's raised voice and my storming off, we would be the gossip for the next few days. At least until something more interesting happened.
I closed my eyes and walked a little faster. I thought two days wallowing would empower me to face things better, but clearly I was wrong. I heard footsteps running behind me and wasn't sure whether it was Edward. I just knew if I looked over my shoulder and saw him, I would break down on the spot.
Hugging my books tighter to my chest, I took off at a slow run, aiming for the girls' restroom. I expected the hand on my shoulder at any moment to indicate Edward had caught up with me. I knew if he reached me, he was going to stop me and demand an explanation. I definitely couldn't deal with that.
I pushed into the restroom quickly and ran for a cubicle. I slammed the door behind me before resting my back against it. I drew in deep, ragged breaths as I tried to calm myself, at least a little. My body shook and my knees buckled beneath me. I slid heavily down to the dirty floor and wrapped my arms tightly around my leg.
I didn't cry. I couldn't. I wasn't even sure that I had any tears left. I hid there for the whole of first period, berating myself for not being stronger. And for not being enough.
After the end of first period, the restroom became a hive of activity. As if the break in silence was the cue I'd needed, my tears began. Girls came and went in a steadily flow, some pausing momentarily to exchange idle gossip, others rushing out quickly. I tuned out their voices and focused on staying quiet until the room was still again. All the while, silent tears slid warmly down my cheeks.
I shakily climbed to my feet and pulled open the door. I forced myself over to the basin and splashed my face, washing away the salty evidence of my wasted morning. When I glanced up, I barely recognized myself in the graffiti-covered mirror. My dark eyes were haunted and my skin paled beyond reason. My long brown hair stuck to my skin in matted clumps. I was a complete mess.
I realized I was a fool for thinking I could be over the heartbreak so quickly. I wasn't entirely sure that I would ever truly recover from it.
I pushed the girls' room door open slowly and looked around the seemingly deserted hall to ensure there weren't any lurkers. When I was certain I was alone, I ran to my locker and shoved my books back inside.
"I knew you'd come back here sooner or later."
I slammed the locker shut in surprise when I heard Edward's voice. He was leaning casually against the locker on the opposite side to where he usually stood.
"You want to talk about it?" he asked.
I squeezed my eyes shut. "Talk about what?" I asked quietly, in an attempt to keep my voice under control.
"Whatever it is that's upset you so much, B."
"It's nothing. I told you I was sick." I gave him a watery smile and I hoped he couldn't see through me.
He raised one eyebrow. "How long have we been friends?"
I sighed. "I don't know, E. Why don't you tell me?"
"I will tell you. Too long for you to get away with bullshitting me."
He gave me a pointed stare and I knew I would have to tell him something—or convince my father to move to another city. The bell rang, signaling the end of another period.
"Why don't we cut?" he asked. "We can go back to my place, I know Mom won't mind."
I wanted to say no. I knew the damage I would inflict on my already injured heart by going back to his house. In the end though, the prospect of spending time alone with him was just far too appealing. I nodded.
He gave me a small, reassuring smile and held my hand. It was ridiculous how good it felt having his skin connect so innocently to mine. He led me to his car and held the door open for me. The only thing I could think was how right it felt.
How can he not see how perfect we are together?
The entire drive was silent. I was nervous about what I would tell him—what I could tell him—and overwhelmed by the pain in my chest each time I looked at him.
We remained quiet until we were locked away in his bedroom.
"It's nothing," I murmured. "I'm just not feeling well."
"I don't know what you want me to—"
He cut me off. "The truth, B, that's all I want. I want to know why you're upset. Is it something I've done? Something that happened? What?"
I decided to be as honest as I could be while still maintaining the last of my dignity.
"On Saturday, I saw the guy that I've lov—, liked for the longest time kissing someone else."
"You've got a crush?" His eyes lit up.
"It's pointless. He doesn't even know I exist." At least, not in that way.
"B, any guy is an idiot if he can't see the wonderful girl that you are."
He caught a strand of hair that had come loose of my ponytail and tucked it gently behind my ear. It was something he had done for years, but it never felt so intimate before. My lips burned, longing desperately to join with his.
I wanted to tell him that. I wanted to acknowledge the swell of emotions that rushed through me at the slightest of his touches. I couldn't risk his disappointment though. I was just barely holding the pieces together. I couldn't take an outright rejection.
"I want him to be happy." I could admit that much. Tears welled in my eyes as the images that had haunted me for days infected my mind once again.
Edward pulled me into an embrace and held me while I sobbed quietly. I pressed my face against his chest and breathed him in. I wanted to spend forever right there.
The other girl doesn't exist. He doesn't bring her to his room. This connection we have is reserved just for the two of us. Isn't it?
Over the course of half an hour, Edward and I morphed from our tight, comforting embrace to spring back into our usual shape. We sang in unison while I played one of his spare guitars. Our old songs were performed because he seemed to realize that angst and heartbreak were what I needed. It was almost how it had always been between us; only almost, because I couldn't help but wonder whether he was thinking about her.
We played our older songs twice. Then Edward began to strum the first few bars of our new song, and I felt my tears threaten.
"He was the one that inspired this, isn't he?" he asked.
I nodded, fighting back the fresh tears.
"Do I know him?"
I bit my lip and strummed in time with him.
"I'll take that as a yes."
We played through to the chorus, neither one of us singing the words, each of us lost in our own thoughts.
"Do you need me to kick his ass?"
I laughed weakly. If only he knew what he was threatening.
"Okay, don't tell me about him then." He narrowed his eyes at me, one last attempt to get me to spill, but I couldn't.
"Why don't you tell me about your inspiration instead?" I said meekly.
I almost didn't recognize my own voice as I asked the question I didn't want the answer to. My aim was to change the direction of the conversation, but in doing so, I steered it toward dangerous territory.
His face lit up. My heart clenched tightly deep within my chest as he began to talk about her. I managed to stave off my tears by continuing to strum quietly and pretend he was talking about me. By the time he dropped me back at home, I'd heard every aspect of his undying love for her.
I lay awake staring at the ceiling for a long time that night. I weighed the risk of losing Edward as a friend against the cost of betraying my own heart. Edward won easily. It was almost too easy to set my own pain aside to be whatever he needed me to be.
~ 0 ~
I kept waiting for the moment Edward would realize I was better for him than she was.
Six months after he'd performed our song for her, they were still going strong. I spent very little time with Edward outside of school. His evenings and weekends were all hers. No matter how many times I'd tempted him with concert tickets, new video games or the latest blockbuster, he always chose her over me. Each time he made that choice, it broke me just that little bit more.
I'd never had a conversation that lasted more than two minutes with her though. I felt like one half of a divorced family, passing Edward across dutifully at the end of each day even though it broke my heart to do so. The smile on his face when he went to her made my whole body ache. I faked my own smile in return, knowing that it never really reached my eyes. It hurt that he didn't even notice.
Edward still confided in me, and I in him—at least about everything that wasn't about him—but now all of his confessions revolved around her. They were thinking about taking it to the next level. She was applying for the same colleges as him. I smiled and was supportive, even though each new admission ravaged my heart. I had no doubt it was punctured beyond all hope of repair, but I didn't focus on it.
One afternoon, I finally convinced Edward to join me for a jam session, the final one before graduation. We no longer called them band practice. I no longer held delusions that we were going to take over the world that way, and he was no longer interested in things that didn't involve her. I didn't even believe that our musical connection could hold us together for much longer.
Edward began strumming our song, talking softly about her. He talked about our upcoming graduation as if it was a bright new beginning to the rest of our lives. I saw it for what it was: a death knell for our relationship. We were in the final days—hours—of our time together, and all he wanted to do was spend time talking about her.
"What is it, B?" he asked.
I looked up; realizing that it had been a few moments since I'd last heard or played a single note. I'd been lost in my own melancholic mind once more. I shrugged. "Everything's changing."
"Isn't it great?"
"Is it?" I couldn't stop the darkness that seeped into my voice.
"Why wouldn't it be?" His eyebrows furrowed as he studied me carefully, as if seeing me for the first time in forever.
I slumped forward, allowing my hair to fall across my face and mask me from his inquisitive stare.
"I liked things the way they were," I admitted quietly.
I felt him move closer to me, but I didn't dare look up. His hand moved ever so slowly to gather up my hair tenderly, tucking it behind my ear. He was so close it was almost hard to breathe. He moved closer still, his face becoming my sole focus as I lifted my eyes to find his.
Time slowed as I leant toward him. My tongue slid slowly across my lips as my focus bounced from his eyes to his mouth. Less than a second had passed since he had shifted the strands of my hair, and yet it was enough time to have shifted everything. It was an impossibility not to kiss him. I had longed for him for so long I could deny myself no more. I craved him so desperately that I didn't consider the consequences as I covered the last of the distance between us. My lips touched ever so gently to his.
The moment was perfection. Light seemed to emanate from my body. The sensation was so heavenly I could have cried tears of joy. It was everything I'd imagined it would be, and more. My heart beat rapidly through one wondrous moment of intimate connection, before everything shifted again.
Edward drew a sharp breath in and I prepared for him to return my kiss, to be swept up in the moment when he realized who it was that he really wanted.
Instead, he pulled away.
His fingers left my hair and pressed immediately to his lips, as if he couldn't understand what had just occurred. My rapid heartbeat stalled completely as tears rushed unbidden to my eyes. The confusion and disgust on his face spent cold knives tearing through my veins. The pain of his instant rejection, of his revulsion, rendered me motionless for the length of a broken heartbeat.
By the time he'd pulled away fully, I knew I couldn't sit there any longer and pretend things were okay. I couldn't deny my own pain one moment more. I pushed the agony into my limbs and used it as fuel to run. I fled from his bedroom without a backwards glance.
His shout reached me as I hit the end of his drive. "B, wait!"
I ignored him and ran as if my life depended on it. I left the road as soon as I could, trying to find the old tracks through the forest that we used to run along when we were younger.
Somehow I made it home.
~ 0 ~
I ignored his phone calls and the pounding he'd given the front door. I'd thrown all of my clothes into a suitcase and prepared for my father's return from work.
I refused to return to school and had insisted on visiting my grandparents, immediately. Things had changed and I knew I couldn't just go back to the way things were.
I applied and was accepted into a college very near my grandparents' house. No matter how far away I travelled, it wasn't far enough to get away from the humiliation of my unrequited love for Edward. No matter how many guys I tried to date, none of them compared to him.
Despite the embarrassment and hurt I'd suffered, I missed having Edward in my life. Partly it was that I missed having someone to talk to. I'd tried to make new friends, but no one just 'got me' as well as he did. I realized I should have tried to distance myself from him as soon as I knew I had feelings, but even as time passed and the ache faded a little, I knew it wouldn't have been possible. Even after the humiliation I'd endured, I knew I needed him in my life.
Eventually, it became too much living away from him and agonizing over what might have been if things had gone differently. I decided to return home for summer. While I was arranging the details with my father, I learnt some devastating news.
A summer wedding.
Friends of mine.
You remember Edward?
Apparently, rumors swirled about a shotgun marriage. I doubted their accuracy. Even being away for so long, I knew the truth. I knew Edward was so certain in his love for her that he wanted to start their forever as soon as possible. Part of me was surprised it had taken him so long.
I debated waiting a little longer, spending another year away before returning home. Let them settle into wedded bliss before injecting myself back into their lives. In the end, the magnetic pull toward Edward was too great.
~ 0 ~
I stepped back into the house I'd grown up in. The house filled with memories of Edward and me. My father was out at a wedding.
At the wedding.
I tried not to think about it.
Walking through the house, it was surreal seeing nothing had changed, even though I felt like everything had. My eyes glanced at photos of me and Edward together at junior prom. It was during his awkward phase, and we'd decided to go stag, but had spent the whole night together.
I climbed the stairs slowly, unwilling to rush headlong into the past and make the same mistakes I had then. I held my breath as I pushed open the door to my room. The dust had been swept away at some point, but was already starting to cling to some of the surfaces again. Other than that, nothing had changed. My guitar sat in one corner, unused and unloved for the past twelve months.
Just as I had done once before—was it really only just over a year ago—I picked up my guitar and strummed it softly. I ignored that it was out of tune, and concentrated on playing the chords anyway. My tears fell regularly, staining the long-faded wood until its original color had almost returned. Each tear traced the same path from my cheek to my nose, before dripping off and splashing onto my fingers. I played my tears into the notes; desperately hoping that some miracle would happen and Edward would walk in and tell me the wedding was off. I knew it wouldn't happen though. He was in love with her. Even without the benefit of his company, I knew that to be true. Besides, he had no reason to suspect I was back in town.
The words of the song that I refused to sing, even though I played it until my fingers were raw and red, ran through my mind on a repetitive cycle. Each time I reached the chorus, my humming would cease because of the lump in my throat. I could still remember the day we started writing the song together, but now that meant nothing.
As I played, I noticed a scrap of paper that had fallen down when I'd shifted the guitar.
I know the song was about me now.
I didn't know, but we really need to talk.
I read the note over and over, feeling every part the lovesick teen I'd been when I'd fled just over twelve months ago. The sophisticated college student persona had been stripped away frighteningly quickly.
I didn't even stop to think. I just ran from my room and out the front door. I drove as fast as I could to the church, desperate to get there before it was too late.
His note proves that he wants me.
His note proves that he cares.
I didn't stop racing until I was running up the stairs of the church. The doors stood slightly ajar and I pushed them open easily. A few people in the back rows turned and stared at me. A mutter went up, a curious murmur about why I would be late and not dressed appropriately for my childhood friend's wedding. I was certain some of the gossips wanted some drama that they could discuss at length through the otherwise long, boring days to come.
I stopped when I reached the third pew from the back.
Edward was standing at the altar looking stunning in a black tuxedo. He was everything I'd ever dreamt that he'd be in this moment.
I took a ragged breath in, desperate to call out to the minister to stop. Edward was marrying the wrong girl. I was the one who should be dressed in white, standing up there with him.
I turned my attention to the one who was in my rightful place. Even I had to admit she looked stunning in her wedding dress. I studied her features in a way I never had before. In some ways, there were a lot of similarities between the two of us.
Her hair was long and brown like mine. However, where mine was the deep brown of overturned soils, hers was a rich mahogany. The sunlight shining through the windows highlighted the red in her hair.
Our eyes were both brown, but my eyes were dark, almost black, while hers were soft and warm, melted chocolate swirling and mesmerizing.
She stood just a little taller than me, distinctly womanly. My figure had never really developed beyond boyish, while she had curves that were accentuated by her flattering dress.
She looked at Edward the same way I did. I knew the love she felt for him was every bit as real as mine. I felt sorry for her that she had to learn of Edward's true feelings this way.
I opened my mouth again, ready to stop this travesty.
My voice stalled when I saw the way he was looking at her. He had never looked at me like that, and in that moment I realized he never would.
I was wrong. His note wasn't apologizing for not knowing I was in love with him. He was apologizing for not loving me in return. I stepped backward as quietly as I could, but I couldn't avoid hearing the words I dreaded more than anything.
"I, Edward Anthony Masen Cullen, take you, Isabella Marie Swan, to be my wife. To have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse; for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; and I promise to be faithful to you for as long as we both shall live."
I took another step back as tears sprung to my eyes as she repeated the vows back to him.
I had escaped the church by the time the minister announced it was time to kiss the bride.
I couldn't leave yet though. It was as if something anchored me to the spot, weighing me down for just a few moments more. A chorus of voices bombarded me as guests commented on what a nice wedding it had been and how the bride didn't look pregnant. I hid in the shadows. I watched to see a blur of black and white proceed through an arch of living bodies, congratulating them on their new joining with a shower of rose petals.
I remained hidden as kisses and hugs were shared and photographs taken. I watched as his eyes scanned the crowd, as if searching for something lost. Then the groom held the limo door open for his bride. He touched her arm lightly and offered her a reassuring smile. I stood motionless as he walked away from the limo and headed in my direction. I gaped as the sea of bodies between us parted as if he was Moses. I was paralyzed as his arms encircled my waist and he pulled me into him.
"I can't even begin to tell you how happy I am you that made it here, Bree."
I pressed my face against his chest and listened to his heartbeat for three perfect seconds. He smelled like home. I pulled back and gave him the best smile I could. "I wouldn't have missed it for the world."
"Will I see you at the reception?" he asked.
I shook my head. "No. I don't think so."
He assessed me carefully for a moment. "We have a lot to catch up on," he said eventually, sadly I thought. He held out his hand for me. "Friends?"
"Friends." I tried the word out. It felt inadequate for the emotions I felt toward him, even after so long apart, but I knew now that it was all I could ever expect from him. It would never be enough for me, but I would endure the pain to be in his life.
I offered my hand—and my heart—to him, and he wrapped it warmly in his own. He leant forward to kiss my cheek lightly before turning to walk toward his waiting bride. I watched with tears welling heavily in my eyes as their sleek black car drove away. I knew he would hold my heart in his hands until the day he died, even if he wasn't aware of it.
I found out later that just before their first dance as a married couple, Edward had sat with his old guitar and serenaded his wife with a song that spoke of his undying love. A song that left the guests with no doubt just how perfectly matched they were. I asked about the lyrics, but I already knew.
It was our song.