All things Twilight belong to Stephenie Meyer, I just play with her toys.

Many thanks to MC for beta'ing (she's awesome!) and reyes139 for pre-reading and being my girl! Also added Boo to the crew! Thanks ladies!

I'm taking a few creative liberties with this story, because I know this is a highly unlikely situation... but just go with me cause I think it's going to be a fun ride. :)

Chapter 26 – His Loneliness


Silence. I couldn't remember a time my house had ever felt so empty. Even when I was living alone. My gaze was locked on the spot she'd been standing. The sheets on the bed – our bed – were tangled on her side. I didn't even get to sleep beneath them with her the night before, to breathe in her sweetness, feel her warmth.

I hadn't slept the previous night, haunted by what she had said to me and wondering when things had gotten so fucked up. I crawled onto the bed, lying down on her pillow in hopes of getting a little bit of Bella's lingering scent. It was calming and gave the illusion she was still there, that she hadn't walked out and left me. My aching heart was soothed by the falsity of it all.

How had it all gone so terribly wrong? My recent behavior had been deplorable, so I couldn't really blame her for leaving me. The realization I'd fucked up so bad that it gave her no other choice but to leave for her own peace of mind, was like poison. Acid burning me from within. Too late to take it back.

Then there was Maggie…

Maggie had upped her advances in recent weeks, but I knew how she operated. It pissed her off if I ignored her. If I pushed her away she thought it was a game and came at me harder. So when she kissed me that morning I went still as stone – they weren't the lips I wanted. I was about to tell her to get the fuck out, but then Bella was there, bag in hand with no school, and the world fell out from beneath me.

Bella couldn't see my reactions from the angle she was watching at when Maggie kissed me, and she had no idea how badly I wanted to slap the shit out of that bitch.

My heart shattered as she got into her car, saying that I should find someone new. I knew then I'd fucked up so badly it would take a miracle for her to not divorce me let alone talk to me.

"Get out of here, Maggie. Get out of here or so help me…" I raged, trailing off at the end. I knew her game. She'd twist my words, tell the paps I'd beaten her, threatened her life. No, I wouldn't threaten her life, though I wished she'd leave mine, but I could end her career.

She cackled and it grated on my last nerve. "Oh, Edward, I know you don't hit women, unless it's when you're spanking while you fuck. You always were a kinky bastard. You won't do anything to me, because I can tell the whole associated press your little secret. Married to a high school girl? They'll eat that shit up."

"Say one fucking word about my marriage, about my wife, and I will fucking end you."

Her smile faded. "You couldn't. I'm too big now."

My eyes were slits, my fists clenched in fury as I growled, "Oh, trust me, I can end your whole fucking career in minutes. You're not as good as you think you are. No one in this fucking town will hire you except the pimps. You'd be a natural; I know how you like to spread your legs. Without me, you have nothing but that."

"Fucking asshole, always so full of yourself. I have my own name now, I don't need you," she argued, her lips pursed, chin high in the air. She was confident, full of her own ego, but I also saw fear in her features.

"Oh, really?" I questioned, glaring at her. I smirked at her as my eyes narrowed. "Shall we test it out?" Her eyes widened and it brought me so much glee. "Get out before I call the cops to extract you and TMZ to blast you."

She screeched in anger as she stormed out, and then everything went to shit. Bella was gone, fed up with everything, with me.

I awoke some time later, early morning light filtering in through the curtains, and laid there listening to…nothing. After an hour or so I moved downstairs, trying to figure out what to do. My head was spinning, my thoughts jumbled. I was at a stalemate…my future depended on what she decided. If she thought I was worth the trouble or not.

As I walked into the kitchen my eyes were locked onto the table. Memories of us together, loving each other, on the smooth wood filled my mind, my body reacting to the memories of taking her. Times when I was deliriously happy. My body stumbled out of the room and into the living room. I remembered her meeting Esme, and introducing her as my wife.

Pain coursed through me, my hand lashing out, smacking the vase filled with flowers on to the ground. The sound of it shattering on the hard wood floor echoed off the walls. My chest was clenched tight, becoming increasingly harder to breathe.

I heard the garage door open, a small spark of hope begged for it to be Bella. My eyes were locked on the hallway, waiting for whomever it was to appear.

Esme's figure came into view and I sunk down on the couch, my head collapsed into my hands, fisting my hair.

"Edward? Are you alright?" she asked. The concern in her tone told me I looked as bad as I felt. "Edward, what's wrong? Do you want me to get Bella? Is she upstairs?"

"She's gone."

Her eyes went wide, but her mouth silent, before pulling out her phone. "Is she at Charlotte's? I'll have her come home."

"No, Esme, she's gone. She left."

"What do you mean she left? Edward, what happened here?"

"It's my fault… I've lost her, Esme." My eyes watered and I almost felt like I was choking.

"What the hell do you mean by that…gone? Where is she?"

"Phoenix. She went home. She – is – gone."

"You Cullen men are so fucking hardheaded sometimes," she commented and pulled out her phone, walking out of the room as she dialed a number.

I sat there, unmoving, numb from everything. I didn't know for how long, but soon Carlisle was tripping over himself to get at me. He grabbed my shoulders and shook me. "What have you done? What the fuck have you done, Edward? "

"She's gone. She just…couldn't take it anymore. And I couldn't stop her." My eyes shifted down. No way could look him in the eye after how badly I'd been treating my wife—the best person aside from Carlisle, I'd ever known.

"Well, fucking get her back!" he snarled, his fingers digging in my flesh. "I mean, shit, I knew things weren't good, especially that day when you and Maggie were all over the magazines. Then at school she'd been quiet and very down, so much so it was reflected in her music." He shook his head in disappointment.

I brushed his arms off and scowled. "How the fuck am I supposed to do that? She hates me at this point. I'm not capable of having a normal relationship!" I slammed my fists down on the couch, my jaw tight in frustration. "I thought if I could just make it through this week, if I could just get everything done without one more goddamn fucking thing going wrong or falling apart I could take the holiday week off and make it up to her."

He glared at me. "You're so fucking stupid, you know that, Edward? A grade A moron."

"Excuse me?" I cocked my head and looked at him though my head was angled down.

"You heard me." He kicked the chair nearby. "All this time—I was so happy for you to finally have something good in your life. The dream you were looking for. I couldn't even see it at first, and then you piss it all away. I mean, I guess I shouldn't be surprised, you stayed with Maggie for six years."

I snapped up to my feet, my hands pushing on his chest in anger. "What the fuck is that supposed to mean." With Maggie it was business and pleasure, not love. I couldn't confide in Maggie on anything, because we didn't talk like that.

With Bella it was different. It nearly killed me when it came out at Thanksgiving about my parents. I was afraid how she would look at me, knowing that I'd been a drug addict, wondering if I was worth it.

It didn't deter him, he only pushed back. "It means you haven't been in a loving committed relationship ever in your life. The closest you ever came was Steph, and she was engaged when she began working for you. That was the most you ever really cared about someone until you met Bella, and you weren't even in a relationship with her!" I stared at him in disbelief, but not at him insinuating I had feelings for my assistant Stephanie, because I did, he was right. "Deep down you're just scared."

"Scared? Of what?" I cried, throwing my hands in the air.

"Of being happy. You don't know how to do it, do you?" His voice lowered, but he still looked ready to rip a fucker's head off. My head off, to be exact.

I shrugged. "I don't know… I try…" I trailed off. "What did you want me to do? I didn't have time to spend with Bella," I countered, stretching my neck and shoulders. Everything was stiff.

"Well, you should've fucking told her what was going on. She had no idea Esme and Angela were trying to tamp down all the lies Maggie was telling tabloids and papers, or that Paramount almost ended their contract with you over the Rosalie Hale shit. And you should've seen that blowout coming that happened in your office. My God, you were taking all your shit out on her. I would've left your ass too," he spat, then took a deep breath.

"When did you become her biggest fan? You hated her."

He stared at the floor and took a deep breath. "I get it now, what I didn't want to see then. I'm your supporter. All I want is what's good for you, and she is good for you. You think Esme wasn't telling me everything when we weren't talking?"

"Esme can be so nosey," I grumbled.

Carlisle's eyes narrowed on me. "She was trying to get me to see how happy you were. That's all I want for you, and Bella is the key."

"I missed her every fucking minute, but when I'd get home… fuck! She wasn't available to me, and it pissed me the hell off. I've been doing all of this for us—for her!"

"No, Edward. You did all for you, and nobody else. She couldn't have fucking cared if you lost your job and worked retail. She wants you, I know that now. She doesn't care about how much money you make or what you do as long as you're happy and there for her." His knuckles cracked as they fisted. "You weren't there for her. You left her all alone…in a strange place."

"She knew I'd have to leave sometimes and be on location, but then I get back and she's off with her little friends partying. Her priorities were fucked up," I complained. "Of course I snapped. My time is valuable—and I have little of it. She needs to be there for me when I'm available." My gut tightened as the words fell from my mouth.

God, you sound like the biggest dick ever. Just shut up now.

Carlisle sucked in a tight breath, and I waited for the blowout. All Bella had tried to do was make me feel better, but she got sick of my shit and she was a strong enough woman she had to respect herself and leave. She knew she didn't deserve to be treated as second best.

"Do you know how empty my hotel room felt without her? How much I wished I could've taken her along with me? I was a step away from calling her up, begging her to drop out of school so she could be with me."

"Selfish, prick," he mumbled under his breath.

"I know!" I hissed, slamming my hands on my thighs. "That's what she does to me….all the damn time. I can barely breathe without her – she's become my life force."

"You're the only person I know that can leave on good terms with his wife, then shit all over it the moment you get home, to make sure it gets fucked up." He shook his head and stared at me like I was brain-dead.

I chose to ignore that last comment. All I had wanted was to make it up her when I got home, spend as much time with her as possible to show her how much I had wanted her while I was away.

"Everything got so out of hand," I revealed, shaking my head. "I was losing control of so many things…"

"That you forgot to appreciate your wife? Fuck, Edward! Let me tell you something, I know I fucked up in the beginning with her, but I'm beginning to think I know her better than you do. She's a woman. I know you didn't get a chance to date her or chase her, because you skipped all of that, but all those things you should have been doing over the last few months. She's a person, ripped out of her world and dropped into yours."

"I get that!"

"Do you? I don't think so. You don't fucking try to do anything but work yourself to death. Stop it! I'm telling you right now—that shit's killing you. And it's not worth it. She is worth it, though. She made you happy even when you had no idea she did." He sighed. "I can't believe you did this."

"I did this?" I growled. "She fucking left me. I wasn't the one—"

"God dammit—forget it! You don't deserve her. If you can't even get it that you're the one that pushed her away." He pointed in my face. "Get a fucking clue and stop being this…self-centered, controlling ass. You're turning into Dad!"

I bolted up to standing. "I am not!" I yelled, leaning forward, my chest heaving.

Carlisle threw his hands up in the air. "He directed your life, took every decision away from you including what went in your body. Now you're making sure no one else can ever have that power over you again. You control everything, even her and what time you give to her."

"No… No, you're…" Wrong, he had to be. I couldn't be like him. I despised my father.

"You're him without a son to push into an early grave. You've taken his role, doing it to yourself and her!" His hand dropped and his eyes were wild. "If you were serious about your marriage, about Bella, you'll not do what he did! You'll back off, spend time with your wife, make a family, and be happy.

"Fuck!" I hollered, pulling my hair and tipping my head back.

How had this happened?

"Get. Her. Back," was the last thing he said to me before I fell to my knees and sobbed hysterically.

My body heaved as the tears streamed down my face. He was right, but then again, Carlisle was always right.

Every decision I made without her only made things worse. Every time I didn't tell her when I had the opportunity too about all the shit that was going on just pushed her further away. I began to wonder if I was self-sabotaging.

After a while of sitting on the floor I got up and headed upstairs to take a shower. With all that was going on I hadn't even changed my clothes in almost forty eight hours, let alone get cleaned up. My eyes were unable to avoid looking at her side of the bed, wishing she would appear so I could apologize… I needed to apologize.

After turning on the shower I stared at my reflection, my fingers tracing the letters on my skin. I hadn't gotten to show her yet. I knew I'd been an ass recently. I realized at Thanksgiving, when I was talking to Charlie, how much she meant to me…how much I loved her. My actions never gave me a chance to tell her. I treated her terribly and said so many awful things to her out of stress and agitation, none of it caused by her.

She was my light. It was because of her I was able to make it through the day without going off the deep end. Every night in bed with her I was able to reenergize just by having her in my arms.

The shower could wash away the dirt and grime on my flesh, but couldn't rid me of the deeds I'd done and the things I'd said.

My resolve came then. I wasn't going to wait for her to come back to me; I was going to go to her. I would do whatever I had to, to get her back, to have her come home. I loved her. It was a young love, new and uncertain, but it grew stronger every day we were together. She was mine, ever since I saw her in the lobby Starbucks at the Mirage.

I decided to drive to Phoenix, it was going to be a long drive, giving me time to get my head sorted out. All I knew was that I was not going home without her. I couldn't.

I stared at the GPS, Seth having already entered in her address, reading a near six hour journey to gather my thoughts. I drove and reflected, hoping I wasn't too late. Carlisle was right, I needed to cut back on work. If I was going to make it work, I needed to commit myself to Bella. Work would always be there, but if I didn't slow down, I was going to lose Bella forever.

The thought alone was heart wrenching. Her not being with me was not an option.

As I pulled into the driveway I headed to the front door with trepidation of what would greet me. I found I was holding my breath, hoping she'd hear me out. I needed her, and I didn't need anything.

The door opened before I had the chance to ring the doorbell, a very pissed off Renee staring me down.

"You have a lot of damn nerve, or a lot of guts showing up here," she said, crossing her arms and blocking the way.

"Please, Renee, I need to see her. I need to make things right."

She pursed her lips at me. "You have a lot of explaining to do, along with groveling – and I mean a lot! I didn't send my daughter with you so she could come back in a couple of months with a broken heart."

"I acted terribly, I admit it, but I'm here to grovel, just as you've said, until she comes home."

"She's a person in your care, and I'm not just talking physically. You have to care for her emotionally, spend time with her. She's not a pet. Do you love her, Edward? Or do you just love the dream?" She quirked her brow, clearly telling me I needed to prove myself before she let me near her daughter again.

"She is the dream, she is love, she is everything. I'm new at this, Renee; I admit that I don't know what I'm doing. All I know is I want and love her."

"Then prepare to get on your knees and have your balls ripped from you," she said and stepped back inside, calling for Bella.

When she came into view, my beautiful wife was filled with sadness; an emotion I'd put there. She gasped upon seeing me, her arms folding in front of her, regaining her composure.

"What are you doing here, Edward?"

I've come to take you home.

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