AN: Written for the Truly Anonymous Contest. Pre-read by LovelyBrutal and BadJujube, beta'd by Sparkly Red Pen's Robo Bat. Thank you, ladies, for your input.
Chris Isaak, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, The Black Crows, Alice in Chains, and Temple of the Dog kept me company while I wrote this. I recommend Pandora's 90s Alternative/Grunge station if you don't have have those bands in your own collection.
The world was on fire
And no one could save me but you.
It's strange what desire will make foolish people do.
And I never dreamed that I'd need somebody like you.
And I never dreamed that I'd lose somebody like you.
No, I don't want to fall in love.
(This world is only gonna break your heart.)
No, I don't want to fall in love.
(This world is only gonna break your heart.)
(This world is only gonna break your heart.)
What a wicked game to play,
To make me feel this way.
What a wicked thing to do,
To let me dream of you.
What a wicked thing to say,
You never felt this way.
What a wicked thing to do,
To make me dream of you.
-Wicked Game, Chris Isaak-
I stood in the doorway of my childhood bedroom and looked around at the stacks of stuff. There wasn't a flat surface that didn't have a box or Rubbermaid tote on it. I had no idea that I'd stored so many of my things n the attic, and probably wouldn't have for years if Charlie hadn't decided to sell the house.
I don't think I'd ever been as shocked as I was when Charlie called last month to tell me that he was retiring. I knew that his leg still bothered him from when he was shot back in 2009 , but still, I was sure he'd have to be dragged kicking and screaming out of the sheriff's office. But the deputy he'd hired a couple of years before that had exceeded all of his expectations, and Charlie had willingly surrendered the reins.
When Charlie and Sue Clearwater got married fifteen years ago, she moved in with him since, obviously, he had to stay in Richmond. But as soon as they decided it was time for him to turn in his badge, they started looking at houses in Tappahannock, where Sue grew up. Sue was happy to have her kids and grandkids even closer, and Charlie was happy to have his fishing buddy, Billy, right next door.
I shook my head. Those two were the original bromance.
All that was left to do was for me to go through the things I'd left behind when I moved to Virginia Beach seventeen years ago. Charlie said that he wasn't hauling all of my crap with him, so unless I wanted to pay the new owners' storage fees, I needed to get my butt to Richmond. I sent a silent thank you to Jacob and the rest of the guys for bringing all the boxes down for me and made a mental note to buy them a pizza or twelve for their troubles. With a sigh, I picked up the smallest box and got started.
Four hours, three bottles of water, two pee breaks, and one sandwich later, I was down to the last box. Everything else had been sorted into "keep", "donate", and "trash" piles. I sat down on my bed and pulled the lid off. My old journals! I started pulling them out of the box, flipping through each one in turn. Some of the entries made me laugh until I cried (why in the world did Alice and I think we'd be able to bleach her jet black hair platinum blonde?), others made me cringe at how irresponsible my younger self had been (the pregnancy scare when I was eighteen). There were still others that I didn't remember at all (I did NOT kiss Mike Newton, I don't care what this says!)
When I had looked through all but one of them, I turned to the one remaining on my bed. The one I had deliberately left for last. The one from the summer after I turned twenty-one. I picked it up and stared at the cover. The words I had written so long ago were faded, but the memories they evoked were as strong as ever. The rubber band that held one of the last mix tapes I ever made to the book snapped in my hand as I tried to remove it. I walked over to my old desk and popped the cassette into the tape deck. As the opening bars of Chris Isaak's Wicked Game started, I sat down and began to read.
June 20, 1992
I think I'm in love. His name is Edward and he's wonderful and beautiful and just perfect. He's tall with this gorgeous bronze hair that I can't wait to get my hands on-and it's shaved underneath, so sexy! And his eyes. Oh, my word, his eyes. Such a beautiful shade of green. I could just get lost in them.
I met him at Mulligan's last night when the gang stopped for a few drinks after work. I spotted the long hair and black leather jacket right away, but was too scared to talk to him. Thank goodness for Alice! I still can't believe that she asked him to join us for me. He said he'd noticed me when we walked in and was just coming to find me when Alice showed up.
Talking to him was so easy-no awkwardness or uncomfortable silences. I feel like I've known him forever. The only problem is he's leaving in two weeks. He's moving to Oregon. Not somewhere nearby, like Maryland or North Carolina, but OREGON! All the way across the country! Damn, that sucks!
It probably wasn't my brightest move, but I went home with him when the bar closed. Alice-tiny, brave Alice-looked up at him and informed him that if I wasn't back on her doorstep in the morning, she was calling the cops. He smiled and promised to have me back, unharmed.
Once we got to his house, after introducing me to his dog, Barney, he walked over to me, took my face in his hands, and said, "I hate to say this, but nothing's gonna happen tonight. I've had to much to drink." To say I was disappointed would be an understatement-I REALLY wanted to get him naked-but what was I supposed to do? Tell him to take me home? I don't think so. I plan to spend as much time with him as I can before he leaves. I know that'll make it harder, but I just can't walk away.
We ended up in his bedroom and get this: he read poetry to me! Jim Morrison's poetry. AND he played his guitar and sang to me. I couldn't tell you what songs he played because I was so busy staring at his hands, wishing they were on me, playing my body as skillfully as they played that instrument.
He fell asleep at some point. I tried. I was really tired and it was so nice being snuggled up to him. But I just couldn't. I just laid there all night, staring at him, wishing he'd wake up and ravish me.
As the sky lightened, I was considering taking things into my own hands (and mouth). He woke up before I could make my move, though, and OH. MY. was it worth the wait. Like seriously, the best ever. I haven't had a guy go down on me in forever, and when his tongue made contact, I thought I was going to go through the roof. I was afraid it was going to hurt since it's been so long since I've been with anyone-and my boy's PACKING-but it didn't. There was just this wonderful feeling of fullness. And can I just say that I'm pretty sure I saw stars?
He drove me to Alice's, just like he said he would, and left me with a kiss and a promise of a phone call. Alice, of course, had to hear all the details (she cracked up when I told her that right before Edward woke up, I'd looked out the window right over the bed, only to find myself nose to nose with Barney).
I hope he calls. I mean, I'm not gonna throw myself off a cliff if he doesn't, but I REALLY want to hear from him again.
June 21, 1992
HE CALLED! HE CALLED, HE CALLED, HE CALLED! He asked if I'd like to come over tonight. Um, YEAH! Crap! What am I gonna wear? We're just hanging out at his house, so I can't do my normal "going out" clothes, but I also don't want to wear just any old thing. I'm so excited and I can't stop smiling!
June 22, 1992
Last night was...magical. We sat outside, drinking and smoking, and he played his guitar and sang for me again. When it got too cold out (what the hell is up with this weather? it's not supposed to be cold in June), we went in-right to his bedroom. Let's just say that the first night pales in comparison to last night. I've never come so much in my life, and I'm sore in places I didn't know I had (definitely NOT complaining).
He can't leave. He just can't.
June 24, 1992
It's over. Edward called yesterday and said he didn't think we should see each other anymore. He said he was getting too attached. He kept apologizing, but he didn't do anything wrong. I went into this with my eyes wide open. I knew I was going to get hurt, I just didn't know it was going to happen this soon.
I've barely stopped crying since I got off the phone with him, and it shows. My face is red and blotchy, and my eyes are all swollen. I wish I could cry pretty like Rosalie does...then again, the way I look now is a good reflection of how I feel. Poor Charlie is at a loss. He came up here once, but he just doesn't get how I can feel so strongly about a guy I just met. I know it doesn't make a lot of sense, I just know that my heart is broken.
June 25, 1992
Just got off the phone with Edward! He said he couldn't stand to leave things this way, and asked if I'd come over. I look like shit-glasses on, no make-up-but I'm heading over now. Charlie thinks I'm nuts ("He's leaving in a few days anyway, Bells. Do you really want to go through this all over again?"). He sort of has a point, but I can't not go. I want as much time with him as I can get.
June 26, 1992
We sat outside on the swing talking for ages. He apologized again, said he never meant to hurt me. He said he never expected 'us' to last more than that one night (all I was expecting, too, honestly-even if I was hoping for more), and that he was just trying to make things easier on both of us when he said that we shouldn't see each other again. He couldn't stop thinking about me the next day, though, and realized that it was too late for that.
When he made love to me-yes, MADE LOVE-it was the most beautiful thing I've ever experienced. Physically, it was as amazing as always, but emotionally? I don't even have the words. I felt worshipped and cherished and...loved. I know he's not going to say it, but I think he feels it, just as I do. We were drifting off to sleep when he told me, "I wish we'd met sooner. YOU might've convinced me to stay." He pulled me closer and kissed the top of my head when he felt my tears hit his chest. Did he mean what I think he did? That he feels more for me than for his ex-girlfriend? Why-WHY-couldn't we have met sooner?
June 27, 1992
I don't think I'm going to get to see Edward today. He's leaving in three days and has a lot to do yet to get ready. Probably just as well-I'm quite sore today. *wink, wink* I'm thinking that trying to make up for the day we were apart wasn't such a good idea. Oh, who am I kidding? It was SO worth it! I have to admit though, I've thought more than once about icing my girlie bits.
Edward called! He got all of his running around done and wants to see me tonight. We're going to meet at the Aunt Sarah'sPancake House that's about halfway between his house and mine for dinner before going back to his place. (Alice made a comment about the fact that we never go anywhere the other night. It's true, we don't, but we're not dating, you know? I'm not exactly sure what this is, but my eyes are wide open. He's never promised me anything, and I'm OK with that. His plans were made before we met and it would be unfair of me to expect him to change them.)
June 28, 1992
After dinner last night (Edward ate an obscene amount of food-he said, with a wicked gleam in his eyes, that he was fueling up for later), we got back to his house to find his roommates, Jasper and Emmett, had invited a bunch of people over. They had a campfire going in the backyard (one of the benefits of living in the middle of nowhere), there was a cooler full of beer, and several of them had guitars out. Edward asked me if I wanted to join them or go chill in his room. I said I'd like to hang out with them if it was OK. He gave me a quick kiss-right in front of everyone-and ran to get his guitar.
I had so much fun. They all treated me like I was part of the gang. I even heard one of the guys-I think his name was Tyler-tell Edward that I was a big improvement over Lauren (I'm guessing she's the ex). Edward's quiet, "I know" had me grinning like an idiot.
Somewhere around midnight, Edward put down his guitar and asked me if I was ready to go in. He'd been getting more and more affectionate as the evening wore on, and I was pretty sure we weren't just going to bed. We barely made it to his room before he just attacked me! He pinned me against the door and kissed me until I couldn't see straight. Clothes were flying every which way, and by the time we made it to the bed, I'd already come once.
We haven't experimented with positions too much because he prefers me on top (easy access to all the fun parts, he says), and I like missionary because his weight on top of me feels sooooo good. (And I can bite him, which drives him INSANE.) Anyway, I was kind of surprised when he flipped me onto my stomach and told me to get on my knees. I grabbed the headboard and held on for dear life as he thrust into me. I tried to be quiet at first because the party was still going on, and his window faced that part of the yard. Yeah, that didn't last long. By the time he made me scream his name, I didn't care who heard. And as he got closer and started pounding into me, I'm sure they could hear the bed knocking into the wall.
We didn't sleep at all. Knowing that our time's almost up made us both a little desperate.
In the morning, I had a hard time looking at him. I was afraid that if I did, I was going to burst into tears. I wouldn't be seeing him again because he wanted to spend his last night in Richmond with his family. He asked if he could have something to remember me by, so I gave him one of my rings. It just fit on his pinky and seeing it there made me smile. He gave me one of the necklaces he always wore and said to think of him once in a while. I gave him my address and told him to call or write if he wanted once he was settled. He pulled me into his arms and I heard him whisper something that sounded an awful lot like "I love you" into my hair. I kissed him one last time and left. I only made it to the end of his street before I had to pull over.
June 29, 1992
He's gone. He's gone. He's gone. He's gone. He's gone. He's gone. He's gone. He's gone. He's gone. He's gone. He's gone. He's gone.
He's gone. He's gone. He's gone. He's gone. He's gone. He's gone.
He's gone, and I'll probably never see him again.
How is it possible to be in this much pain and still be alive? All I've done since I woke up is cry. Thankfully, Charlie is off fishing with Billy. I hope that by the time he gets back I'll be able to hold myself together, at least in front of him. I knew it was going to hurt when he left, but not like this. Not like someone punched a hole in my chest. It hurts to breathe. How am I going to live without him?
I love you, Edward.
I closed the journal and wiped away the tears streaming down my face. There was more, but this was all I could handle right now. Even though it happened almost twenty years ago, I could still remember how I felt during that time with absolute clarity.
I looked up to see my husband standing in the doorway.
"What's the matter, baby? Why are you crying?" he asked as he walked over and sat down next to me.
I held up the journal for him to see. "Just reading about when we met."
"I'm so sorry I hurt you like that. Leaving you was the dumbest thing I ever did," he said, looking down at his lap.
"Hey." I lifted his chin so that he had to look at me. "All that matters is that you came back."