Chapter Sixteen: Irrational


I only wanted him to know how much I loved him...

Know how worshiped he still was...

And could be...

And would be...

In every way, if only I had the chance to show him in.

And how much he was... the first chance I did...

When he told me not to waste it.


I couldn't believe he said that word. That way. My Edward would never...

But he did.

And I know he meant it sweetly. Selflessly...

But so did I when I didn't listen to it. And them. His words. That were a plea, not an order.

Though I suppose were, too...

But an order I didn't take or obey. And a plea that maybe I didn't hear clear enough. Because I was trying to make something else clear to him.

I really only wanted him to know...



Never considering that he'd feel something else. And then be consumed by it when he couldn't feel it again.

Or hasn't yet, at least. No matter what he does. Or I do.

Because he tells me to. "Put it in your mouth."

I don't want to...

Something I never thought or felt before...

And I want to tell him. Tell him no...

Something I've never done...

Not in our bed, anyway... or anywhere else this way...

But something I still don't. Won't. Because he needs me to listen to him. Needs me to do what he says. Needs to see that I am. And will.

Needs me to try...

To make him... "Suck harder, Bella!"

Harder. Hard enough. Hard at all...

Something he still isn't. No matter how hard I try. Or have tried every night since he was.

Because it's what he wanted.

Because he wants–needs–me to take what I wouldn't on that one.

He needs to give it to me. To be able to...

And be able to make me take it.

This time.

And take his pain away.

The pain I never meant to cause him...

But did.






It happened once, why won't it happen again?!

I've tried and I've tried and I've tried...

And made her...

My cock is in her mouth, for fucks sake! What more does it want?! What more does it fucking need to get hard?! And win the ultimate fucking prize?!


She looks up at me when I pound my fists on the bed but she doesn't stop. Doesn't say anything or do anything that I didn't tell her to do...

Doesn't do anything but keep doing what I did...

Suck on my still-limp cock in her mouth...

And try to make it not.

Something I told myself I wouldn't make her do again. Swore to myself after the last two times I did and then did that I wouldn't.

Something else I failed at.

Which is making her. Again.

Which should be impossible...


But isn't. Because I am. Even though she won't say it. Or anything...

Because she's still trying to make it not true.

Because it's what I told her to do.

And what I still can't tell her to stop doing.

Not yet...

Not as long as she's still willing to not.




"Are you tired?"

"Not really. Not yet."

"Okay. Do you–"

"But you are, so go to bed, sweetheart."

"I'm okay, I can stay up a little while longer."

I'm letting you off the hook tonight, Bella, so go... jump... and swim away... as fast as you can...

"Are you hungry at all? Do you want a late night snack? I could–"

I haven't done anything to need late night replenishing... "No."

"Okay. How about–"

"You don't have to stay up and entertain me, Bella," Here or in any other room...though what's been happening in ours has been anything but entertaining to either of us... "You can go to bed."

"I know... but I don't mind keeping you company, if–"

"Do I have to order you to go?"

"No... not if it's what you want."

It's not what I want. It's not at all... but "Goodnight, Bella."

She gives me a small smile, and an even smaller nod of her head, and then a kiss. To my cheek. With her own, though whispered, "Goodnight."

And leaves me.

To suffer in silence.

Like I know I've just ensured that she'll do.

Because she'll never want off of my hook.

No matter how much I make her.




I stayed out there as long as I could. In our living room...

And away from our bed.

Because I didn't want to drag myself into it until sleep had dragged her kicking and screaming into it.

Because I didn't trust myself not to drag her back into my Hell if she was awake.

The sight and vulnerable soundless sound of Bella asleep should have been enough...

More than enough...

To quell my irrational new obsession...

And I was sure it would be.

Until I did drag myself into our bed beside her.

And saw her sleeping mouth curve into a smile.

At the mere existence of me close to her, whether she was conscious or not.

She could only feel me...

And it was enough for her.

And enough to make me crazy. And more irrational than I was on all the nights before.

Because it was enough for her that she could feel me...

But not enough for me that she couldn't.

And wouldn't when she could have.

And I was going to make her if it killed me. And even if I had to wake her up to. Which I do now...

When I pull her limp body on top of mine. Kiss her limp mouth until it isn't anymore. And until her eyes drift open...

And then closed again. In a different way than they were before.

And grip her... hard...

The way I force her hand into my pajama pants to grip me. And to make me.

Because I need her to.

I need her to try. Again.

Because I need her to feel me.

Her husband...

The only man she ever has. The only one she ever let show her what she could. And made her love it...

Before I showed her that she couldn't anymore. And made her love less. Less than less. Nothing.

A way I can't bear for her to live. Forever or even for a day. Another.

I CAN'T bear it. For the mere existence of me close to her to be enough for her.

It isn't right. Isn't fair. She's given me everything...

And all I've done is take. And then even more away from her. Until she was so selfless that she wouldn't even take something back when she had the chance.

Or let me give.

The something I give her now in that way she did take. So she could give.

The something she lets me...

Because when I pull her hand away and push the rest of her down to replace it, she doesn't resist.

She lets me push. And pulls the softness I can't feel over my hips and the softness she can into her mouth. Again. To try to make it not.

Something she never had to try to do before...

A look from her–or at her–was all it ever took...


Before the then that came after...

And this painful now...

When she's once again giving everything and getting nothing in return...

But my mere existence close to her.

That isn't enough.

For me.




"What's up? And why do you look like shit?"

"Thanks, I will come in." Jasper drops the 12 pack he was carrying into my lap and gives me a rolling shove out of the way, closing the front door behind him. "And you might want to look in a mirror, pal."

"Nah," I tell him, and transfer the cold beer to the coffee table. "Is it even noon yet?"

"Does it matter?"

"Not really," I say, and pull two out, handing him one and gesturing to the couch. "Not to me, at least. Have a seat."

He does, and downs his first beer in about 15 seconds, and then grabs another.

"Are we celebrating something?" I ask him, as he's about halfway through the second.

"Yeah, my divorce."

"Your what?" Don't tell me that bitch left him just because we didn't make the playoffs... well... they...

"My divorce. The one I filed for this morning."

"You filed for?"

"Yeah. I filed for."

"What happened?"

"She got pregnant."

"And? You've been waiting years for that... "

"Yeah, I have."

"So, what–shit. The baby isn't yours? Was she fucking around?"

"No, the baby was mine."

I wait for more, but he doesn't give it, instead finishing off his second beer and reaching for a third.

And while he attacks it, what he did give hits me. "Was yours?"

"Yeah, was mine."

"What happened, Jazz? Did she miscarry?"


"No? Well, then what–" I stop because his face says it all. And how much of a bitch she really is.

"I didn't even know... until after. Until it was too late to... She didn't even tell me! I was a father and didn't... She fucking killed our child! My son... or daughter... because she didn't want to give up her carefree lifestyle! Or her fucking waistline! What kind of woman does that, Edward?! What kind of wife?!"

"I'm sorry... " I say, because he doesn't need to hear the answers to his questions. He already knows them. The hard, painful truth of them. And of the truth that he loved her in spite of what she was. Or, to be fair to him, what she became after he did.

She wasn't an epic bitch when he met her. Or didn't let him see that side of her then...

She was feisty and fiery... but in a way that only pulled him deeper in. The bitch came later. After it was too late. Like now.

"I've put up with a lot of shit, Edward. From her. But this... what she did this time... what she took away from me...

"It was too much. Too. Fucking. Much. And I'll never, ever forgive her for it. For the rest of my life, I won't."

I wouldn't either, buddy...

But I wouldn't have to not. Because my wife would never do such a thing. Be capable of it. Destroying a life... and others in the process...

The life and heart of the man she loved...

My wife would never do it.

Take anything from me.

Even though it's what I've done to her.


Without giving her a chance to stop me.



Edward is at the bottom of our stairs again when I come home from work. Just staring up at them...

As if looking for something that isn't there.

I know he worked with Tyler today...

And wonder now if that didn't go so well. But I won't ask him if it did or it didn't. I won't ask him to share that with me. He has to choose it.

And I don't know exactly what I should ask him... or not... but then I notice something in our living room that makes my choice easy. "Did you and Tyler have some fun today? Of the liquid variety?"

He doesn't respond to my hello kiss, but does to my question. "No, Jasper stopped by for a while right after he left. And he just left a few minutes ago. I was just getting ready to clean it all up."

"You don't have to, I'll get it." I put my bag down and start collecting the empty bottles from the table. "I haven't seen Jasper in a while, he's good, I hope?"

"He's getting a divorce."

I'm shocked, but I can't really say that I'm sorry. I never liked Maria, and always thought he deserved better than the kind of woman she was. Someone sweeter... more affectionate and loving... less hard and shallow.

"Hmmm... and is this good news or bad?" I say instead.

"Good, in the end, but for a bad reason. She was finally going to make him a father, but decided not to without even telling him he had been."

"She... " I can't even say the words. I think I'm going to be sick.

"Ripped his heart out. And his child right out of her heartless body."

"That's... " Again, I can't finish my thought. Because it's unthinkable.

"Selfish is what it is. To say the least."

I nod wordlessly, because the sudden weight on my chest keeps them in. But not only for the pain I feel for Jasper.

There's something else crushing me. Something in Edward's eyes as they stare at me.

And for the first time ever...

Truly scare me.




Whenever I wasn't out on the road–and before one took my life away from me–my morning routine was often to watch Bella move through hers.

And just as often try to disrupt it.

She couldn't shower alone...

If I was home, I was in it with her. Wanted or not.

Not that she ever didn't want me...

But some days when I'd step into it, she'd shake her head–and her finger–at me and say "I do not have time today, Mr. Cullen. OUT!"

To which I'd laugh. And then prove her wrong. While she let me. And make the rest of her shake...

And after...

I'd watch her get ready. Get dressed. Dry her hair... though sometimes I did it for her while she put her makeup on, depending on how late I'd made her...

But if she was doing it, or anything, I was watching her.

Like I am now. While she sits on the edge of the bathtub and shaves her legs. Something else I've done for her, because I thought doing it, and her letting me, was sexy.

"I owe you a razor," she informs me, when she feels my presence. "Or some new blades, anyway. I forgot to get new ones for mine, and I nicked myself with the first sweep of the old. And you... well, you haven't been using yours, it seems, so I helped myself."

"What's mine is yours, Bella." Help yourself to anything you can find that works... "And you sure as hell don't owe me anything."

"Well, thank you. And whether you want to use yours or not, I will come home with new for you today."

"Is that your sweet way of telling me I need to?"

She studies my face, that, as she mentioned, I haven't shaved for days, paying particular attention to my jawline, that disappears more with each day of my laziness, and shakes her head. "No. Not if you don't want to."

"What about what you want?" I ask her, because she won't ask herself.

"I just want you... " she answers, because she knows that one as automatically as she knows how to breathe. And because she never hasn't since I proved to her I was someone she could let herself. "Whatever beautiful way you come. Or let me have you."

Let her have me...

Now, that's funny...

So funny that I wheel myself–without another word–back out of the bathroom where I can't see her anymore. Or watch her.

Because I couldn't stand what I saw this time.

What she let me see.

And have.

And what I know I don't deserve to anymore.





"I want you to go back to our bedroom."

"I'm in our bedroom."

"The real one, Bella. The one upstairs."

"If you don't like this one, Edward, or if it doesn't feel real to you, then tell me why you don't, and why it doesn't, and I'll change it."

"Go. Back. To. Our. Bedroom."

"I'm. In. It."


"And I'm staying."

"Against my wishes?"

No, Edward... "No. For your others. Your real ones." The ones that never scared me.



Edward is back to pushing again.

And back to not. And not touching me at all. Or asking, or telling, me to touch him.

He lays rigid in our bed every night. Close to me but not.

Because he's far away.

And pulling himself more and more, farther and farther, the more I don't let him push me.

It's hard. For me...

And getting harder everyday. Because he's never wanted anything but to be close to me. As close as he could get. As close as I'd let him.

No matter what games we played...

Roles we took...

Immersed ourselves in...

I always held the power. Ultimately. And knew I did.

And chose to give it back.

Relinquish it.

To him.

My husband.

The man who loved me beyond words or games or possibility. Rationality. And who would never stop.

I had no doubts about that. Not a single one. And I don't now...

But that doesn't make it easy.

Or soften the blow of his pounding.

Which is what his rigid stillness feels like.

On my heart.


"Feel like getting out of the house?" Because I think spending so much time in it is hurting you. And us... "I was thinking we could–"

"No. But you can. Go, if you do."

"I don't. Unless it's as we."

"You should get used to doing things by yourself, Bella. And for... if we is what you still want to be."

"We is what I'll always want to be, Edward. And there's no self in that."

He looks at me... his eyes soft for just a second... before they turn hard. "At least you're finally willing to admit it."

And then he rolls away from me.


With painful, pounding, ease.



I miss my wife.

She's right next to me and I miss her.

The way she used to smile at me...

Whether from across the room, or right beside me. Under me, or above. For every reason and none at all.

I miss the way she touched me, or I her. The way she–or I–couldn't not, if we were close enough to.

Simple strokes of fingertips...flutters of lips... the brush of an arm, or leg, against the other's.

Unspoken I love yous, and I'm glad you're here with mes. And You're mines. All of which were said often enough but could never be, screamed or whispered, in the dark or blinding light.

I miss the talks we used to have, about the hours or days we spent apart. The other things we loved, shared our minds and hearts and bodies with.

And I miss being able to. Share myself. With her or... it. That thing I loved second only to.

I miss the grass under my feet. Or the air if they left it.

I miss the feel of leather... in my hand or around it.

And wood... gripped tight and swung hard in it.

I miss tired, aching muscles. That were never too of either. For me...

Because I was in love with it all.

Almost as much as I was with this woman beside me but not.

Who made them even more tired... ache even more... then... when I could let her.

Like she does now to my heart... because I'm not. Can't...

And because she's far away. Trying, I know, to figure out how to get closer.

To me...

The man who's trying to figure out how not to let her again.

For her.

Because I love her more than I miss her.

Or anything...

Most of all, myself.



I found Edward watching game tapes when I came home today. Watching, rewinding, and watching again...


Doing what he loved.

And took pride in.

And what he excelled at. Besides being my husband...

Something he also used to take pride in...

Before he stopped letting himself.

He barely even acknowledged my presence when I came in. And he didn't consciously...

Didn't look up, didn't speak, and didn't smile.

The only thing that told me he even knew I was there was the way his shoulders stiffened and his jaw twitched.

A much different greeting than any he ever gave me.

And than the one I gave him, in spite of it. "Hello, gorgeous," I said, and kissed him sweetly on the cheek, letting my fingers graze the back of his neck as I moved past him to put my things away.

All of which were met with the same stiff silence.

And not because he was watching himself excel on the screen in front of him. Not for that reason at all.

I wish it were, instead of for the one it is.

The one that tells me he's fighting for something.

Something that doesn't include me...

But is in every way for.

And in no way for himself.



I hate the night. Even more than the days that precede it every.

Because nights are hard. Harder...

Because Bella's here for all of them.

Every hour, every minute, every second of the darkness...

She's right here. Wanting–needing–me to fail with my efforts. Lose my fight.

The one with my heart...

That I don't know how I could ever win, but will still try to anyway.

Because I love her enough.

I love her that much.

And so much that I can't keep hers.

I have to give it back to her.

Keep fighting until she takes it.

And herself away from me.

Because she deserves to be part of a better we than I can offer her now. Or give. Or let her have.

I can't be selfish anymore.

And can't let her let me, no matter how much and how hard she tries to tell me I'm not. Or that she wants me anyway. And any way I come.

I want her to want more than that. More than this.

And have it. Have everything.

Even if it means she can't have me.

And that I'll have nothing.

Which is exactly what I'll be if I win.

And lose the best thing I ever did.