Entry #18 - AH
Truly Anonymous Twilight O/S PP Contest
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Picture Prompt Number: 36
Pairing: Bella, Edward
Word Count (minus A/N and Header): 1,911
Summary (250 characters or less, including spaces and punctuation): Bella and Edward fell in love in high school. She always knew he would leave. She tried to tell herself he wouldn't, but she knew nothing could ever really be enough for Edward except his music, not even her. This is a story about chasing dreams at any cost from the perspective of the one who is left behind.
Warnings and Disclaimer: None
We fell in love in high school. It was a mad, crazy, passionate love.
I knew he would leave. I told myself he wouldn't, but our little town could never be enough for Edward. Nothing could ever really be enough for Edward except his music, not even me. That music was just in him. The notes and chords and lyrics swirled in his mind.
He left me on a Tuesday. It wasn't a surprise. He very gently separated himself from me all summer, little by little, in ways I almost didn't notice. There were less I love you's, less kissing, less hugging, less talking about the future, less us.
"I need to be with the music," he told me, "and the music isn't here."
He came back a few times, but he really wasn't with me...he was someplace else, wherever the music was.
He left me behind completely then. It wasn't gentle like the first time; it was abrupt.
He called me once to say he was sorry. "It's not you," he told me.
By that time, I had realized he was not the only one with dreams. I had dreams of my own. I was going to be a lawyer and save the world. I was going to fight for the people who could not fight for themselves, the people who had no voice.
I heard he was signed by a small indie label. I was in a place to be happy for him by then and hoped it was finally enough.
I heard the first song when I was in college. He sang about possibilities. There was excitement, discovery and hope in his words, and the song mirrored my life. It was a thrilling time for me…leaving our little town behind, meeting new friends, and chasing my dreams.
I met a man soon after. Well, he wasn't really a man. He was a boy trying to be a man, but I think it was a good start. I saw who he would be and thought maybe I'd like to be there when he was finished. He didn't have notes and chords and lyrics swirling in his mind, and it wasn't that mad, crazy, passionate love I knew, but I was enough for him, and that's what I needed. I needed to be enough for someone. I wanted to move on from Edward, and I wanted to love this boy who was not quite a man. I gave him much of myself, enough to keep him there, but never everything. I could never give him everything, no matter how much I wanted to, no matter how much I tried.
There were others. They were already men, and I thought they would be better, but they weren't.
I could not move beyond Edward.
I heard another song. He wrote about the beautiful women he wanted to love, wished he could love, and I knew he tried to move on too.
I saw him again when I went home after graduating from law school. There he was, sitting in the diner, drinking coffee. The mad, crazy, passionate love was still there, and I spent the week in his bed. God, he was so much more than enough.
"Come with me, he said.
"Come with me," I said.
He had the road and a different hotel room every night.
I was on my way to the big city to help the people who had no voice.
We promised to hang on to each other and swore we would make it work. We did, for a while. Maybe we could have made us work longer, but the big record label came knocking then and swallowed Edward up.
They said he was the one they had been waiting for.
I understood when he left me behind. Maybe I didn't, though; maybe I just expected it.
I bought his CD the minute it was released. I wanted to hear his notes and chords and words and know that being left behind was worth it.
It wasn't music from his heart; it was music for his bank account.
They bought millions of them.
He was definitely the one they had been waiting for.
I went to one of his highly successful, sold-out, mega concerts when it came to my city. I thought if I heard the passion I knew he had for every word, every note, every chord, the music would be enough. He was slick and beautiful and wearing just the right clothes, but something was missing. He was missing. Everything was missing.
He had sold out all that beautiful music inside of him for money and fame. I was angry, sad, disappointed and I was bitter; I was so bitter. He threw me away, he threw us away, for something that wasn't even close to being enough.
Fuck you, Edward, I thought.
I left the people who had no voice behind and ran to the people who could buy their voice, the people with money. I was tired of being broke, of struggling and fighting for the people who could not fight for themselves. It's about time I did something for myself, I thought. I ruthlessly defended the people who had money and found them justice even when justice wasn't deserved. I made money, lots of money, and tried to make my designer clothes and shoes, the expensive meals and the luxury vacations enough. I had lovely men in my life, rich men, exciting men. I broke it off when they had expectations, when things got messy and complicated, and moved to the next one. It was just easier that way. None of them could ever have been enough.
One night, I walked into my perfectly decorated, ridiculously expensive apartment and realized it was empty. I was empty. There was no passion left in my life. I never thought about the people who had no voice anymore; I just thought about myself. And money. I thought about money a lot.
I had sold out too.
He put out another CD. It was empty, as empty as I was.
They bought millions of them.
He was still the one they had been waiting for.
There were rumors. They said he was too moody, too demanding, and too difficult. They wondered if he was really the one they had been waiting for. He walked away one day, and everyone wanted to know why. The media had a field day and wondered how the fame and fortune couldn't possibly be enough.
I also walked away, but no one cared except me. I moved back to our little town, bought a beautiful, old house and opened a law practice on the first floor. It was a good compromise. The paying clients allowed me to fight for the people who could not fight for themselves, the people who had no voice. I finally caught up to my dream and it was enough, more than enough. I had passion again, and I had a full life, a satisfying life.
Edward disappeared for a long time until he showed up at my front door.
He thought it would be different. They threw money at him, lots and lots of money, to make taking the heart and soul out of his music worth it. Those words and notes and chords turned into dollar signs and it was addicting, all that money and fame. He thought he had finally caught up with his dream until he realized it was the wrong dream.
"Something was missing," he said.
"You were, Bella, you were missing. Come back to me," he asked.
I thought about it. God, it would have been easy, so easy.
"Not this time," I told him. "I'm happy. I'm dating a really wonderful man who I think might be enough. I know I'm enough for him, and I know I'll never be enough for you. You need to be with the music, and the music isn't here."
He smiled and told me I was wrong about that.
"The music is unquestionably here," he said.
I saw him around town sometimes and just waved. I wouldn't allow myself to get any closer. I knew he would break my heart, break me, when he remembered I wasn't enough.
I heard he bought an old farm outside of town. He was doing a lot of remodeling and construction out there, they said. I paid no attention.
He sent me the first song three months later. I tried to listen to it without much interest, but his music surrounded me, caressed me, and filled that empty space I had convinced myself did not exist. It was full of regret for mistakes and choices that should not have been made and sadness about what had been lost.
I saw him a couple of times and said hello. I did not speak of his song.
The second song came a month later. It was not sad. He sang of the lessons life taught, of dreams that take over and are chased at any cost, of discovering who you really are and the peace that knowledge brings. It was a beautiful song, and I heard it over and over in my head as I looked at the man in my life and wondered if he was enough.
The third song came two months later. It was a love song...a love song he wrote for me. It touched my heart, and I didn't want it to touch my heart.
I banged on his door, crying.
"Don't send me any more songs. Leave me alone. I have a life. I'm happy. I can't do this again. That music, Edward, that music you need more than me is not here; it never will be."
He took my hand and led me to the barn, except it wasn't a barn anymore; it was a recording studio.
"I told you…the music is unquestionably here."
He was starting a small, independent label to share all those notes and chords and lyrics that swirled in his mind and the music of others who had notes and chords and lyrics swirling in theirs. It would be about the music, not the money. He said they wiped him out when they sued him for walking away from his contract, for not being the one, but he was left with enough to do this, just enough.
"This, Bella, this is my dream, the dream I should have been chasing all those years. This dream includes you. The music isn't enough anymore, Bella, not without you."
We were finally standing in the same place at the same time, there in that barn where the music was.
My life was filled with his music, with him, with her. We had a daughter two years after we were married. Edward wanted to name her Harmony and I wanted to name her Melody and we argued for months until we found the perfect name. Bethany. Bethany Marie Cullen. House of song…that's what her name meant and that is definitely where she lived.
I lived my dream, and he lived his. The label was a success, not a huge success, but enough of a success. He put out a CD he was proud of. They didn't buy millions, but they bought enough.
He wasn't the one they had been waiting for anymore.
He was the one I had been waiting for, and he was so much more than enough.
He was everything.