Entry #44 – AH

Truly Anonymous Twilight O/S PP Contest

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Title: La Nuova Vita
Picture Prompt Number:
15
Pairing:
Edward & Bella
Rating:
MA
Word Count (minus A/N and Header): 3310

Summary (250 characters or less, including spaces and punctuation):

It has been twenty years since I've seen your face, touched your skin, and kissed those lips. I have thought about you every day since, and will think about you until the day I die. You were my first love, the first person that stole my heart, and I will never forget you.

Warnings and Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight. I am just playing. Talk of death and drugs. Adult and sensitive subjects may be discussed.

I say in truth that she appeared so gracious and in every way so pleasant that those who looked at her experienced in themselves a sweetness so pure and gentle that they were unable to describe it; and there was no one who could look at her without immediately sighing. These and more marvelous things resulted from her influence." (XXVI: 14-20) Dante Alighieri

~LVN~

It has been twenty years since I've seen your face, touched your skin, and kissed those lips. I have thought about you every day since, and will think about you until the day I die. You were my first love, the first person that stole my heart, and I will never forget you.

Having a wife and partner that was smart, beautiful, and incredibly good to me was all I could have asked for. Our eight-year-old son was the center of our world, and we were completely happy after ten years of marriage.

I love my wife and never regretted a moment we have had together. She may not have been my first love, but she will be my last.

Her blue eyes sparkled every time she looked at me and, it always warmed my heart.

I was a lucky man to have found two great loves in my life. I will never take that love for granted again.

We had the ocean and mountains within driving distance, while the palm trees billowed in the sky all around us. Our ranch-style home was modest in size with just four bedrooms and two bathrooms. We were happy and healthy and all I have ever wanted.

We were a bicoastal family, as we spent so much time visiting Boston where our family still resided. We lived on the West Coast in Los Angeles. I missed my family a lot sometimes, but the person I missed the most was my baby sister.

Alice was sixteen years younger than me, but we were very close. I left home right after she was born, and I loved her as if she were my own daughter. Our mom would send her to visit me during all of her school vacations, and I loved it.

Most people would think having a little girl as your shadow would be annoying, but not me. She never cramped my style, just gave me some company while I found myself in Los Angeles.

Alice recently graduated from the same high school I went to. She wasn't the only one that had a much older sibling. She knew some of the siblings of the kids that I went to school with.

I commended my sister for being so focused on her goals, and not afraid to work. She had two jobs while she attended college. Although she lived at home, she supported herself.

I missed the food more than anything, as I haven't found quality Italian food in L.A. Boston had the best Italian food. I may have been biased but even outside of the North End, you could find the best sub shops on almost every corner. The shops were mostly family owned and served desserts that were baked in-house.

Vesuvius, the sub shop Alice worked at, was where she ran into a girl I went to school with. This particular run in of theirs caused a ripple effect. It brought back the hole in my heart -the one I'd had since I was sixteen-years-old- ten fold.

When my over exuberant sister found out that she had me in common with my old friend, Rosalie, they had me on the phone in a flash.

It was just another day I could add to my list of days that I'd always remember.

"So it is plain that in her greeting resided all my joy, which often exceeded and overflowed my capacity." (XI: 20-22.) Dante Alighieri

I had a love once. She was my first love. She was angelic and innocent. I met her during the summer before our freshman year of high school.

I recalled being hypnotized by her big brown eyes and her flowing brown hair. Her skin was creamy white with a light blush to it, and her lips, her lips were naturally tinted pink.

I never believed in love at first sight until her brown eyes met mine. I was under her spell, stuck where I stood. I felt a burning desire to touch her and talk to her.

At thirteen, our parents thought we were foolish for speaking of love, but we knew better.

We knew that the feeling of anxiety when we were apart, thinking of each other every moment of the day, and the tingly feelings in our chests were proof of the love we felt.

What we didn't know was how to make a relationship work, and what the rules were.

We were inseparable for three years.

I loved to hold her hand, caress her cheek, and hold her close.

When I told her I loved her for the first time, I remember she cried tears of happiness. Then she said it back, and I felt that tightness in my chest - the tightness that let me know she was the one, my one true love, and the one I would love forever regardless of where we were or what we were doing.

I thought about those days often, as they were innocent and carefree. We didn't have to worry about life and things like rent and bills. We didn't have to worry about jobs and babies.

Our biggest worry was school hindering our time together, and how to find more time to kiss.

We went to the beach often; bundled up during the winter and barely dressed in the summer. I held her hand while we let the ocean chase us on the sand, or while we ran back to the wall to beat the high tide coming in.

That same beach wall held us; while we shared ice cream and watched, the waves erase our footprints on the sand.

We went on dates to the movies with our friends and went to dinner often.

During football season, we would gather at one house or another and watch the game. I know the girls weren't particularly interested in sports, but it was an opportunity to be together that we would never pass up.

Those were the days. I often longed for that simplicity.

I loved comics and would draw pictures for her all the time. She was always impressed with my talent. She told me I should do something professional with it, but I drew for pleasure.

I made up a cartoon character for her. It was sort of like a green Tasmanian devil with little angel wings. I was the devil, and she was my angel. That was something that was ours alone.

I loved her with every part of my being, but I was young and stupid. I didn't know what I had until it was gone.

I wish she could have forgiven me, allow me to atone for my mistakes. I will forever regret hurting her and not being able to make up for it.

You know the feeling when you have everything you ever wanted in the palm of your hand, then there's one misstep, and it all slips right through your fingers. Gone forever.

If only we could turn back time and undo the most idiotic thing we had ever done. What I would have done for a second chance.

If I had that second chance; how would it have changed my life, as I know it now? There are too many unknowns and too many regrets.

The day you weren't just a small ache in my chest, the day when you became the burning pain in my heart again, was inexplicable.

My cell phone rang while I was at work catching up on some bookkeeping.

One look at the caller I.D. made me smile.

"Hello," I said in a playful voice. I loved my baby sister.

"Hey, big brother. I have someone here that wants to speak with you." Then I heard shuffling and someone else greeted me.

"Hello, Edward?" The voice asked as if questioning if it was really me.

Of course, I replied, but I was still confused as to who it was. "Yes, this is Edward."

"Oh, thank goodness," the voice said with a sigh of relief.

"This is Rosalie. You remember me, don't you?" I chuckled. I was getting really excited. This is a piece of my past that I put behind me so many years ago. The past I couldn't change, but only remembered with such regret.

"Of course, I do, Rosalie. How are you? What have you been up to?"

"Oh, not much. I just got married recently, no kids yet, and working hard. You know?" She laughed. She sounded good. Happy.

"Oh yeah. I know the rat race. We're all in it," I laughed.

"But seriously… I'm married as well, for ten years now, and I have a son. Other than that just working and doing the family thing," I said.

She laughed some more, and we small talked for a few minutes.

Then there was an awkward silence, and it made me nervous. That part of my life was a touchy subject for me. It held too many painful memories.

"So, really Edward. The true reason I wanted to speak with you was… I wanted to tell you about Bella," she said rather nervously. I placed my hand on my chest as I released a deep breath.

The pain that seared through me just from hearing her name burned me from the inside out.

I stood up and looked out the window while I waited for her to tell me about my first love.

I didn't know if I wanted to hear this. What if she told me that Bella was also happily married? I guess that was all I could have ever hoped for her -for her to be healthy and happy. I was not able to give her that happiness, so the least I could do was hope she was able to find it with someone else.

I guess she was waiting for me to say something.

Nervously I replied, "Yes."

Then she spoke words I never hoped to hear.

"Well, Edward. There is no easy way to say this, but she passed away eight years ago." And that was when the floor fell out from under me. Literally.

I stopped breathing. My heart was pounding, and I felt tightness in my chest that would rival a heart attack. I felt so much pain all at once; I wanted to pass out.

The cold sweats and blinding dizziness began, and I was out.

Unconscious, but with the thought of Bella, I was able to sit up slowly. I found the phone on the floor and picked it up.

I couldn't speak yet, so I just held the phone. I could hear Rosalie's voice, but was not ready to respond quite yet.

I habitually grabbed my shirt right over my heart to try to soothe myself.

I conjured enough strength to speak again, so I could ask some questions.

"How? When exactly?" I spoke very softly, as I had no air to breathe out the words.

"Well, it was November two-thousand-three. She overdosed. It was an accident. I don't have all the details, as I only speak with her mother every once and a while. Her sister isn't doing so well, and we haven't kept in touch since that happened. Bella's mother told me that the overdose was an accident," she said much too calmly.

Then she took a big breath and continued.

"I guess it's important for everyone to know that she wasn't trying to commit suicide or anything. She struggled greatly with drugs for her whole adult life. She was in and out of rehab, but never really stuck with it…" She just faded out. I don't know how she could speak about this so blatantly. I guess she has had more time to deal with it.

I was just devastated. I couldn't imagine ever being okay with this subject. I didn't know what to say except for the one thing that popped into my head.

I lifted myself off the floor to sit in my chair while I wiped the wetness from under my eyes.

"Where is she buried? I want to go see her," I said solemnly.

"When I recall that nevermore, alas!,

That lady shall I see

On whose account I mourn with such dismay,

My grieving thoughts about my heart amass

Such sorrow that I say:

'My soul, why dost thou not depart from me?'" Dante Alighieri

~LNV~

After long explanations and kisses that held so many promises, I made my way to the airport.

I did not want to waste one more minute. I needed to finally say goodbye to my first love, and hopefully, get the closure I needed as well.

I did not intend to erase her memory nor the time we had, I just needed the peace of forgiveness. Since she could no longer forgive me, I would have to find forgiveness for myself.

I couldn't live with this torture any longer. I needed the regret and burning that I carried with me to be set free.

No one knew I was here. I rented a car, and drove straight to the cemetery.

Suddenly, I couldn't wait to feel closer to her again.

The beautifully groomed grass held hundreds of head stones. The weather was overcast, but not cold. It was actually very peaceful.

I walked around to the area Rosalie gave me directions to.

It took me twenty minutes to find you, and I did not spare another moment to sit by your head stone.

I looked at the headstone and it was beautiful, and so fitting for you. It was dark, charcoal gray, and marble with a gorgeous swan carved on the surface. Your name, "Isabella Marie Swan" sat in prominent, big letters at the top. And underneath, were the loving words from your family.

I scrubbed my face as feelings of jealousy pass through me. I wasn't a part of your life anymore, yet I wished my words of love were there as your husband.

I pulled from my pants pocket a piece of notebook paper that held the words I needed to tell you.

The things I never had a chance to say…

Before I started reading, I pulled out a rock about the size of my palm. It was a smooth rock that I picked especially for you, and I painted our cartoon character on it. I set it right in front of the head stone.

Scooting forward with my legs crossed, I looked down at my paper. My forehead rested against your name, and made me feel a bit closer to you.

I searched deep in my soul for a feeling of your presence. I wasn't sure what it would feel like, but I tried to find that connection. It was then that I began to speak.

"Bella, I have missed you everyday since, I have seen you last. All these years I have wanted the chance to see you in person and apologize for what I did.

I have dreamt and imagined I would run into you and you would have been happy to see me.

I would have hugged you and begged for a chance to explain and to earn your forgiveness.

Now, I know I will never have that chance. I feel cheated. At least before I found out you died I had the hope to one-day run into you, and now those dreams are gone. All I have is the belief that you can hear me from wherever you are."

I nervously ran my fingers on the string of ivy that went along the bottom of your head stone.

"There is no excuse for what I did, so I wont try to explain. I did what I did and that was that.

You had every reason to walk away and not ever want to see me again.

I'll never forget that day you drove right up to the front of my house. My bedroom window faced the street and when you yelled my name, I looked out the window only to see you throw a bottle on my walkway and tell me that, you never wanted to see or speak to me again. True to your word, you were. You would not take my calls or speak to me. When you saw me, you acted as if I didn't exist. "

I took a moment to take in my surroundings. I noticed her space was lacking flowers. I would have to bring some before I flew back home.

"I have believed all these years that in your eyes I didn't exist, but for me you always existed. For years, I went through the many stages of grief. At first, I didn't believe it was over, and then I was angry with you for not wanting to listen to me. Then it was denial all over again. I never mourned you, as I never believed that you were forever lost. I always had hoped you would come back to me again."

My fingers traced her name as I thought about the power the next words have had over for me for so long. The words I had always wanted to say and never had the chance.

Knowing that my dream of seeing you one day will never come true, it kills me, and I'm stuck saying these words to a marble stone.

With as much conviction and determination I can gather, I say, "I'm sorry!"

"I have wanted to tell you that for twenty years. But above all that, I wanted you to believe it. I have been carrying this with me ever since."

I had so many questions and I was so angry that I would never get an answer.

"Did you just forget about me? Were you happy?

Why did you do drugs? We never did. You were always such a loving and funny person. What changed?

Was it me? My fault."

It was so hard to believe that I would never ever see her again. Even though she died eight years ago, it is new to me. I can't reconcile the thought of my dreams being crushed.

I tilted my head to wipe my eyes on my shoulder, on my t-shirt.

The paper crumbled in my hand while I held my head up with the other, elbows rested on my knees.

"I have always wondered, Bella, if you were thinking about me like I have always thought about you.

I hope you can forgive me, and I will never forget you.

I will try to forgive myself. I loved you and will always.

Please, rest in peace and look over those you love."

When I finished speaking to her, I stayed in that position for a bit longer while the tears flowed steadily.

It was so hard to let go, and I wasn't sure if I'd ever receive her forgiveness.

Just as I was about to give up hope for any sort of sign, I felt a warm breeze on my back. I felt it right through my t-shirt.

Warmth began in the middle of my back and then almost encircled me in a hug. It was a feeling of security and comfort.

At that moment, it was as if I just knew she was there and she forgave me. The burning in my chest and heart was slowly dissipating.

I was left with was so much more. The burning was replaced with peace and happy memories of the one I loved so long ago.

I sat there afraid to move from my spot for fear the feeling would disappear, that she would disappear.

A few minutes or hours later, as I honestly did not know, I kissed her name, rubbed the rock and stood to leave.

"Bye, Bella. Thank you for the time we had. I will always have a place for you in my heart."

With my hand rubbing over my heart, I walked away.