I walk nervously into the meeting room, taking a deep breath. This should give me the closure that I so badly need, no, crave. It is my fault that things turned out the way they did, mine and mine alone. I know that my family certainly don't blame me, but I do. This is what they call guilt. I have looked it up online and found the meaning:
1.having committed an offense, crime, violation, or wrong,especially against moral or penal law; justly subject to acertain accusation or penalty; culpable: Thejuryfoundherguiltyofmurder.
2. characterized by, connected with, or involving guilt: guiltyintent.
3. having or showing a sense of guilt, whether real or imagined: aguiltyconscience.
Oh,that was me, guilty; I failed her, in every way, on every level. I left her, abandoned her and then when she needed me most. I simply walked away. I should never have left her behind, but I had to pursue my dreams, my goals. She told me to go, gave me her blessing telling me that she would wait for me to return, but I never did. Now it is too late to beg for her forgiveness. She cannot give it. I am too late and that will haunt me for the rest of my life. This is the story of how I irrevocably damaged the most precious thing in my life; how I trampled all over it utter disregard, and how I will spend the rest of my life trying to make amends.
The group settles as the person in charge stands to address us. I am not listening to what is being said until I hear my name. I look up, feelingshaken from my introspection back to the present. I hate being in the here and now. She is not here, and I know that I am to blame.
"Sorry, I was a million miles away there. Did you say something?" I ask running my hand through my hair.
She looks at me, compassion filling her face, "Yes, Edward, I was asking if you would like to speak, to tell your story tonight. Share with the group, what brings you here?"
"Erm, well. I don't know,really." I'm not sure that I am ready to share, but I need to be free of my burden, then I can move on with the next stage of my life.
She smiles at me, encouraging me, "Edward, you know that you are amongst friends here. You have been coming to these meetings for a while now; you have heard all the other members share their stories. I think that we would like to hear yours. We are only here to support you; there is no judgement within these walls."
"Okay then, if you are sure. I will warn you,this is no easy ride."
I cast my eyes around the room; all I see is a group of encouraging faces and smiles. They seem to want to listen. Let's see what they really think of me once they know what a monster I truly am. I play with the slim golden band on my finger; this gives me some comfort, for now. I take a deep breath, and start to tell my, I mean our story.
Bella and I were childhood sweethearts, we grew up together, we were each other's first on so many levels. She was my first friend, the person I confided in, first kiss and yes, my first sexual partner. She was the person who captured my heart and held it hostage; she was my one true love. Our parents thought that we were crazy, and that if they left us alone that it would run its natural course and we would become friends and nothing more. Of course,they were wrong, everyone was wrong about us. We loved each other with a passion. It hurt to be away from her for more than a day; I couldn't bear it and neither could she.
We graduated high school together, and move to Seattle from our home town of Forks, Washington. Of course we move in together. I go on to study law, Bella, well, she wants to be out working in the world so takes job working in an office and also at a bar a three nights a week so that we can survive. We don't have much money,but what we have is ours. We are blissfully happy, we are together and I couldn't ask for any more.
Upon graduation, I got a job in a good firm nearby. I work hard and Bella is there beside me. She is my rock, my guiding light. She works as many hours as she can to support us, to keep our dreams alive. One day, I am taken to one side by one of the senior partners in the firm. I find out that a prestigious London law firm has offered me placement for six months. I would be crazy to turn it down, it's one of those 'once in a lifetime' opportunities, and they had chosen me, amongst a handful of others they could have offered it to. Bella,of course tells me that I should go. As I seriously consider it, the thought of being apart from her tears into my soul. If only I had realized that saying yes to that offer would change our lives, forever.
A couple of weeks later we stand in the departures lounge. My family have been respectful and have stepped aside for our goodbyes. We do not break our connection at all. I need to be next to her. The contact is all I'm focused on. I need her and still cannot believe that we will be apart for the next six months.
We hear that fateful call, requesting that the last remaining passengers for my flight make their way to the gate. My heart sinks, I don't want to leave her. It hurts too much. I pull her into a long,deep kiss, breaking it to say,
"I love you so much baby, I always have and always will. Please don't you ever forget that. Please don't give up on us, because I don't plan to. I will be back before you know it. You won't even have time to miss me. Promise."
She is sobbing; tears' staining her beautiful face, my heart breaks even further into a million pieces. I kiss the top of her head, and nod to my brother Emmett who is stood back giving us the space we need. He walks over and puts his arm around her. As he does this, I turn and walk away towards the boarding gate and as we have already agreed, I don't turn back. She made me promise, no matter what happens, or what she says,that I will not turn around and go back to her. I pause when I hear the cry wrench itself from her throat, but I don't dare look, knowing that I won't have the strength to leave her if I do.
Before I left, I gave Emmett a letter to give to her once I was gone. I write how she will be in my thoughts every day and that I promise,despite the time different to talk every single day, or even Skype. I promise that I will always be thinking of her, and that no one else will ever come close to how I feel. She is my soul mate, my reason to live and that I will hurry back to her.
I get on the plane and withdraw into myself. The stewardess stops asking if I would like anything to drink or eat when she gets no response from me. I am catatonic for the whole flight. I cannot sleep. Every time I close my eyes I hear that sob as I left her, and it breaks me. So I spend the nine hour flight staring into space. I must look like some kind of nut-job, as I have Bella's photo firmly in my hand.
I have a couple of free days once I get to London. Wow, that city buzzes, it comes alive even more-so at night. I spend time wandering around as I cannot get used to the time difference. I walk the entire length of Oxford Street more than once. How is it possible for a city this large and with so many people in it to feel like the loneliest place on earth, but deep down I know why, Bella is not here. Once I start work, I throw myself into it, working as many hours as they will allow, but always making sure that I speak to Bella every day. Email is a godsend. I send her one when I arrive one morning,knowing that it is the middle of the night there, and my heart leaps when she replies.
Making friends is easy. There are a couple of other people here from my firm, but from different branches. They are Riley Biers and Victoria Jackson. We end up sharing an apartment together to save costs. They are a couple, so me being around them helps me keep grounded as I can see the love they have for each other, and I talk incessantly about Bella. They never flaunt their couple status in my face. If anything,they try to keep the romantic side of their relationship hidden from everyone. It's really only because I live with them that I know.
Work is good. I have been here three months when I get a phone call from Bella in the early hours of the morning UK time, so I know something serious has happened.
"Edward, its Charlie, he's… he's been shot." she breaks down on the phone,sobbing uncontrollably.
I am now sitting upright in bed, wide awake,despite the fact that it is 3am here. Panic rips through me.
"What! Is he okay? Have you spoken to my folks? What can I do baby,please tell me?" I am frantically trying to work out how I can get to her as quickly as possible, she needs me and I don't know how I'm going to do it.
"He's okay, he's gonna be in hospital for about a week, but they said nothing major, it's… it's just…" and she cries again.
"Please Bella, talk to me. Do you need me there? I will leave; jump on the first plane out of Heathrow in the morning if you tell me you need me."
"No, it's fine. I just needed you and you weren't here. I feel better now. Anyway, Jake is coming over to keep me company. Oh shit! I didn't think of the time there. Oh my god,Edward, I'm so sorry. I'm going to go now. Just call me when you finish work, please?"
I agree, hanging up the phone and then staring at the ceiling all until my alarm goes off. There was no way I was going to get back to sleep after news like that. Charlie is her world; he is her dad and the man that she looks up to most. Her Mom and Dad divorced when she was young, and she chose to stay with Charlie. I wonder at times how much of that decision was based around the fact that I was there. If anything was to happen to Charlie,her life would shatter, and I would have to leave London to be with her. I decide to call Emmett and have him keep an eye on her. I don't trust Jake one little bit. He has always liked her and now with me out of the picture I'm pretty sure he would love to make his move on her.
Through that day at work I am like a zombie, not taking in what anyone is saying to me. I just need to get through the day so I can speak to Bella and hopefully calm my worries. When I get in from work I try to call her but it goes to voicemail. I call her every ten minutes and there is no reply, even into the early hours of the morning. I finally call Emmett, and he reassures me that Charlie is okay. It was a flesh wound. Bullet went clean through and he was in no real danger. When I asked him about Bella he gets a little cagey. When I push it he says that she's working a couple of extra shifts at the bar. I stiffen at the information. She had not told me this and I wonder why. I know that Jake works there and I figure that must be the reason.
We are stretched financially, with paying rent and bills here and also in Seattle. I am the main money earner. Although,that is not a great amount as I have just started with the firm and need to work my way up. The money that Bella helps us survive. I will not ask my parents for help, and I know that Charlie can't afford to. I did suggest to Bella that she move back with Charlie while I was gone and take a job locally, but Miss Independent would not hear a word of it and that was the end of that discussion.
Over the next couple of days, I try and try to get hold of Bella. I email, call, text and am just about at my wits end when she emails to say she is sorry she hasn't been in touch, but will call me tomorrow and that everything is okay. I am relieved to have finally heard from her as I was a day away from jumping on a plane back home. We talk over the next couple of weeks, but there is a change in her. I can't put my finger on it, maybe it's the stress of worrying about Charlie. Thankfully,he is going to be okay and with a few weeks of rest will be back at work. I put it down us being apart, but we were now in the home stretch. Eight more weeks and I will be home with her where I belong.
One morning, arriving in the office, I am asked to go straight to Mr. Gerandy's office. He is the head of the project that we are working on. I make my way there to find Victoria sitting outside,too.
I joke with her. "Kinda feels like being called to the headmasters office,doesn't it?"
"Thank god it's not just me then! He scares the crap outta me." She laughs in response.
I am about to reply when the door opens and we are shown inside. We sit down and I wonder what I could have done to require calling here, and then my world slowly falls apart.
"Victoria, Edward. You are no doubt wondering why you are here. You are both doing such a sterling job here we would like to extend your contracts for additional three months. You will, of course be compensated for this and a remuneration package will reflect this additional commitment from yourselves. I need to know your answer by the close of business tomorrow."
I stare at him,open mouthed, then look to Victoria and see she is as surprised as me. She asks,
"What about Riley, is it just us?"
Mr. Gerandy looks sharply at her and in his perfect clipped English tones says,
"Mr Biers is not your concern. I expect that you put aside any loyalty that you might feel and put your own career first. That goes for you too,Edward, I have been hearing great things about the pair of you, hence the extension. Now let's move on, I have conference call in five minutes."
We are both ushered out by his secretary. The first thing I do when I get to my desk is call Bella to find out what she thinks. Her reaction is not what I expect,
"Look Edward, do what you want, you will anyway."
"Whoa, hang on there a minute Bella, everything I am doing here is for us, so don't make out like I made the decision to come here alone. You agreed to it. I won't stay if you want me to come home."
"Whatever, you do what you want,Edward. I'm tired at the moment and really haven't got the energy to deal with this right now. Make a decision and let me know. Okay?"
I cannot believe what I'm hearing, I expected her to be upset, to beg me to come home and yet here she was telling me to do what the hell I wanted. I hang up,frustrated and upset. Victoria comes over to my desk and asks if everything is okay, I tell her it's not and we agree to go for a drink after work to talk about it some more.
After work we head to our local pub near the apartment. We settle down at our usual table and order a couple of pints of lager. This turns into an all-night session, we discuss everything from the current economic downturn to who is screwing who in the office, the only topics we have not discussed are Riley or Bella. I get the feeling that all is not right with those two. I have been hearing arguments and haven't seen Riley in the last couple of days but now is not the time to be talking to her about that. She leans across and asks,
"So, how did Bella take the news? I am assuming that you are staying? You'd be crazy not to." She touches my hand lightly and I feel something pass between us but dismiss it.
"Not good, she told me to do what I wanted,as I will anyway." I shrug my shoulders.
"Yeah, well,Riley and me are over, finished." She whispers.
"I did wonder, but didn't want to ask. Is he staying on?
"No, wasn't asked to. He's heading back early,too, but will cover his share of rent as agreed."
I nod at her. I hadn't noticed how beautiful Victoria is. She has flame red hair, a mass of corkscrew curls, alabaster skin and the most piercing grey eyes I have ever seen. I feel myself being drawn to her. I know that it's dangerous but I cannot help myself. We spent that night exploring each others bodies in intimate detail. Despite being drunk,I realize that this is what I have missed, being with someone, holding them and being held in return.
Guilt is something that comes later for me. Victoria was a means to an end, a friend with benefits if you will. Neither of us wanted anything more than what we have, and that is perfect. I love Bella, but she has become increasingly distant on the phone and this is pushing me further and further into Victoria's arms. She understands me, and it isn't too long before we end up sharing a bed full-time.
Bella and I drift continue to drift farther apart over the next month, during this time we argue constantly on the phone. Then,one night it all came to head when she asks me,
"Who is she,Edward? Who is the whore that you are fucking in London? I can't think of any other reason that you would chose to stay there and not come home to me."
"Have you been drinking,Bella? You sound kinda out of it."
"Oh, avoid the question,why don't you. Little Edward doesn't like being called out on what's perfectly obvious so he spins it around. Who is she?"
"Bella, you are a fine one to talk. All of those cozy nights with Jake and have I ever once accused you of sleeping with him? No. You know why? Because I trust you. Yet,you cannot offer me the same respect. Thank you very much."
"Don't start this shit with me,Bella, I am doing this for us. Call me when you decide to calm down and we can talk like adults."
With that,I hung up the phone, not waiting for a response.
I know that I am being defensive. I am definitely in the wrong to push it back onto her. This is not her fault, it's mine. I took the job in London, I decided to stay the extra time, I even fucked Victoria and continue to do so. If Bella was to end up in Jake's arms would that be such a bad thing? She would have someone there would loves her and wants to be with her. He has always liked her in that way, I just got there first. Throwing myself on the bed, my brain races with those thoughts. Victoria comes to join me as usual, but I can't be with her tonight. I need to be alone,so I leave and sleep on the couch.
The phone ringing wakes me, I look at the number and see it's my dad calling. It's the middle of the night back home so something must be wrong.
"Hey Dad, what's up? Is everything okay with you and Mom?
"Son, you need to sit down. I have some bad news for you."
I hear my Mom sobbing in the background, and panic begins to rise in waves through me.
"Just tell me, what is wrong?"
I must've raised my voice as the next thing I know Victoria is beside me, her hand on my shoulder and a questioning look on her face.
"Edward, there is no easy way to tell you this. It's Bella. She… She's... Edward, Bella took an overdose of anti-depressants. I'm sorry son, it's Bella, she's dead."
The words hit me like a mac truck, the phone falls from my hand as I am frozen in shock. Victoria must have picked it up as I hear her talking to my dad before the call ends and she turns to me.
I don't reply so she slaps me hard across the face. I respond and not in the way she expects. I grab her wrists and pin her against the wall, kissing her fiercely as the tears fall down my face. She wriggles and fights against me, managing to shout my name which brings me back to the present and I release her. Shit! What did I nearly do? I fall to my knees, head in my hands and the floodgates open. My cry suddenly erupts, sounding more like a roar, sobs wracking my chest until I cannot cry any more. I am shocked and speechless. Victoria kneels and stays with me the whole time, her arm around me, pulling me to her, holding me until I am absolutely exhausted with emotion.
"Edward, I am so sorry."
I cannot look at her. Thinking that Bella is dead hurts me to my core. I am utterly stunned. I didn't even know that she was taking anti-depressants. What kind of boyfriend does that make me? Knowing deep down that the answer to that is a bad one.
"I need to call the airlines, I have to go to her." I mumble while searching for my phone on the floor.
"Your Dad said he will arrange a flight. He's going to call back with the information. I'll get you a drink, you look like you could use one."
I nod, not really taking in what she is saying. All I hear in my head are those four words that tore my world apart since I heard them. Bella can't be dead, she can't be. I feel like this is a dream. No, sorry a nightmare and I have to wake up soon. Victoria hands me a glass and I knock back the contents,feeling the burn at the back of my throat. She looks at me with concern written all over her face. She opens her mouth to speak, but I get there first.
"Vic, please don't. Why? Why would she do this? I just don't understand. Why didn't she talk to me? I…I… Why?"
I begin pacing the room,tugging at my hair. I knew that Victoria wouldn't know the answers, hell I didn't. I just needed to get there to try and find out exactly what happened. My inner turmoil is interrupted by the phone ringing again. I almost don't want to answer, because once my Dad tells me my flight is booked it will be a reality. I answer and don't speak, the words just won't come.
"Hello?... Edward?... Are you there?"
"Sorry Dad, yes."
"Your flight is booked. Just go to the AA ticket desk and it'll be there. I will meet you at the airport. Edward. Take care, see you soon,son."
I cannot speak to form a sentence. I just hang up, leaving to pack a bag. I ask Victoria if she will call the office and explain. She promises and twenty minutes later I am in a cab on my way to Heathrow Airport.
The flight home is long, and seems never ending. Dad bought me a first class ticket. Well, if I am going to be miserable, I might as well do it in style. The stewardesses eventually stop asking if I require anything and I stare out of the window into nothing, just wishing that I could turn back time, change things, be there for her.
Once the plane lands, I disembark and see my Dad standing at the gate waiting for me. He looks drained, and leads me outside to the car. I need to know what happened, and he has not volunteered any information yet. Taking a deep breath,I ask.
"Dad, what happened? How did she…what can you tell me?"
"Edward, I think that this is best left until you have had some sleep, you look exhausted. Nothing will change in the next few hours."
"For fuck's sake,Dad! I have just flown nearly half way across the world. I need answers, now. If you will not give me them, then I will find someone who will."
He sighs heavily, knowing that I need to know.
"Well, from what I know Bella had been taking the tablets for a few months, she'd not been herself since you left, but we put that down to her missing you. Then, when you got the extension offer she… well,she started to become more and more withdrawn from us. She hung out with Jake, a lot. She worked all the hours she could and it was almost like she didn't want to be at home. Your Mom tried so hard with her but she wouldn't return calls and was impossible to get hold of her at the apartment.
Then I got a phone call from Jake saying that he couldn't reach her, so I went over with your keys and… well… you know the rest."
I struggled to take all of this in. Bella, my Bella was in trouble and no one told me? Hell,even she didn't tell me. I am her boyfriend and she should be able to tell me anything. Then I remember, I haven't been here for her. No, I was miles away concentrating on my career and screwing another woman. I had failed her, right when she needed me. Then I remember that last phone call that I had with her. We had argued - something that we never did. Replaying that call over and over in my head, she hadn't sounded right but I thought that maybe she had been out drinking. I hated the fact that I didn't get chance to tell her that I loved her, that I missed her. I know that sounds hypocritical as I had been screwing Victoria but that would never come to light, it was what it was. We were close, but that was only because she was there and we were both lonely.
When we arrived at my parent's house, my Mom came rushing out to meet me. She looks like she has been crying nonstop for days. I melt into her hug and the sobs start to flow all over again, she leads me inside and we sit on the couch. I cannot stop now that I have started. We don't talk; there are no words that will make this any better. Eventually, I make my way upstairs to my childhood room. Not much has changed as I open the door and I am assaulted with memories of Bella. I close the door and go to one of the guest rooms, lying down on the bed I manage to get some sleep.
When I wake it is dark outside, the house is silent, and I know where I have to be, and it is not here. I grab my Dad's car keys. Driving through the quiet streets, I pull up outside the apartment building where I live with Bella. Approaching the door, I pause, unsure of what I will find inside. Taking a deep breath, I put the key in the door and open it. What I see inside shocks me, it looks like the place has been ransacked. There are fast food cartons, and empty liquor bottles on the kitchen surfaces, clothes strewn everywhere. What happened here? This was not how Bella lived, she was a neat freak. I walk around not sure of what to do. Entering the bedroom, I climb onto the bed and curl into a ball, grabbing a pillow and inhaling her scent which is thankfully still there. I miss her terribly and realize that I will never, ever see her again. More tears come and I cry myself to sleep.
I am woken by my Blackberry alerting me to a new email, my heart stops when I see who it is from,
Date: 15th October 2011 04.42am
To: Edward Cullen
From: Bella Swan
My darling Edward.
If you are reading this then I am my plan has worked and I am dead. I don't know where you are, I hope you are back home where you belong. It's just a shame that you couldn't be here for me when I was alive and it has taken my death to bring you home.
Please know that I love you, I always have. There never was anyone else, it was only ever you.
I'm sorry, I just cannot live without you. I know that you will not be returning from London, I can see the signs even if you can't. Your life is not with me, I am only going to hold you back, at least this way you will have no ties, no reason to be held back.
I have been miserable without you baby, but I have felt you slip further and further away from me and I cannot bear that, I absolutely cannot live without you in my life.
Please don't hate me. This is for the best. I want you to be happy, find someone who will make you happy. Live your life, Edward. Please, for me.
Just remember I love you, always.
P.S I time delayed this to arrive after my death just in case I changed my mind, or you called me back and helped me to change it. Whatever you hear after I have gone, please don't blame yourself. The choices I made were mine and mine alone,.
I am shocked. This was no accident, she planned it and she thought that I didn't want her. Bella was the love of my life. I did this to her, I drove her to end her life. My legs give way from underneath me and I am found in a heap on the floor some hours later by my very concerned parents. I refuse to speak to anyone for days, withdrawing into myself completely, shutting down.
The funeral passes. I attend but still refusing to speak or acknowledge anyone. My parents are so concerned that they arrange for me to see a counselor. This doesn't help as I still won't speak to anyone. I don't need anyone to tell me where I have gone wrong, what I could have done differently. This is my cross to bear, and I deserve every ounce of misery that engulfs me.
My parents eventually have run out of ideas for how to break through to me, and so they check me into a private clinic. New Dawns is exclusive and expensive as only the best will do for their son, even if he needs psychiatric help. They don't see it that way, though. They visit me most days but get no response. I am treated to the best of everything, but no-one gets through to me. Until, one day I get a surprise visitor. Jacob Black. He walks over to me as I am in the garden and takes a seat opposite me. He has obviously been warned that I won't speak or even acknowledge his existence.
"Hey, Cullen. I know that you are probably not that pleased to see me. Hell, I'm the last person you will want to see, but I'm here for a reason. I'm here for Bella."
He pauses, and I look him in the eyes. Why has he mentioned Bella? She is…she is not here anymore, she has left me. I let him continue, curious as to what he can possibly say that I would want to hear.
"I know that you two had some issues while you were gone and she missed you terribly. Every day she talked about how much she loved you and couldn't wait for you to come home to her. I don't know how to tell you this, but I feel that I have to tell you. One night after work, Bella and I went out clubbing. She was really upset over you not coming back. She got pretty wasted. I was expecting her to use me as her usual shoulder to cry on; she would come crying to me. I never once attempted to make a move on her. I was always just there for her, listening to her and being a friend, That night was different, she was different. She was flirty and if I hadn't known her better I could've sworn that she had, well, taken a little pick me up."
He pauses, looking at me for some kind of reaction, I don't give one. It's almost as if my subconscious knows what he is going to say next.
"She made her intentions quite clear. I brushed her off but she was pretty full-on, and you know it was kinda hard to say no to her, but I knew that she wasn't thinking straight so I made it quite clear that nothing would happen between us. I was horrible to her and she ran out of the club. I tried to find her,but I couldn't. She avoided my calls the following day, so I went to the apartment. That's when…when we found her."
I sit there in silence, letting his words absorb; they do not make me feel any better. In fact, they make me feel worse if,that is possible. Anger and jealousy start to flow through me. Standing to leave before I do something I will regret in the future he moves and grabs my wrist.
"You really are a piece of work, Cullen. You are hiding away in here, wasting your life. Bella doesn't have that luxury. She was heartbroken and took a way out that she shouldn't have. I wish that I could take back what I did, but I can't. You are the one that is living, and yet, you hide yourself away. I really did think more of you; wasting something as precious as life. I wish that I had fought harder for her, taken her away from you when I had the chance, because maybe, just maybe, she would still be alive. I would neverhave treated her like you did. I would never have left her alone. You didn't deserve her."
I spin around to face him, my fists clenched,ready to take a swing. He laughs at me, throwing his head back like it is the funniest idea he has ever seen. I snap and punch him square in the jaw, and he falls to the ground. I rain blow after blow on him. He makes no move to return any of them but he simply protects himself while I am pulled off by two of the staff. I am like a man possessed, and I finally speak for the first time, in, I don't know how long.
"What did you say? Why do you think that you would've been better for her than me? I love her and would do anything for her. You really are a piece of shit, Black. I swear, if you say anything else I will..."
"What, Edward? You'll do what, exactly? Sulk at me? Refuse to speak? Grow up and start living your life. She is dead, not you."
His words sting as if I have been slapped across the face. I know that he is right. I am not living, but merely existing. Bella would want me to live, wouldn't she? I certainly wouldn't want to think about her moping over me. I struggle out of the restraining hold and Jake nods to show he is okay with it, and they release me. Jake simply smiles at me.
"I just wish that I had kissed her, taken her home, made love to her and showed her how special she truly was. As then, well, she might still be here, not dead and cold in the ground. You were the love of her life, Edward. Me? I was just someone who was just there. I'm sorry that I had to say that to you, but I knew that it just might break you outta this comatose state. Glad I stopped by. Please, Edward, live for Bella?"
I nod at him, he smiles and walks away. That was what I needed; a kick up the ass to make me realize Bella would not want this for me. She would want me to at least attempt to rebuild my life without her no matter how much it hurt.
I stay at the clinic for the next week, trying to work through Jake's revelation in my head. Bella nearly slept with Jake, but I had slept with Victoria. We were both in the wrong, although me more than her. I cannot hate or blame her, I had abandoned her. Once I have worked through these thoughts, I finally decide that I need to visit her at the cemetery. I spend a lot of time sitting next to her grave, talking to her, telling her what is happening and that I miss her so much and that there is a hole where my heart used to be. I apologize for everything I did wrong. I just hope that where ever Bella is, she can forgive me.
Nine months later
I feel relieved to have finally told my story, our story, to begin to rid myself of some of what I feel. I know that I did wrong by Bella and would give anything to be able to put it right, but there is nothing that I can do. The past cannot be rewritten. Walking out into the cold Seattle air, I hear my name being called, and then I see her. She looks beautiful, radiant as she walks towards me, her face lights up with a smile just for me. My arm makes it way around her waist as I pull her into a kiss. I realize now for the first time that I have been given a second chance at happiness. Victoria and I have been together since just after I left the clinic. She came to see me once I was home and it felt right.
We started as just friends, but it quickly turned into more. I was hesitant, but she was there for me when I needed someone. She held me during my night terrors, reinforced to me that there was nothing that I could have done differently. I feel for Victoria at times. I know that she is constantly living in the shadow of my love for Bella. Nothing will ever come close to how I felt for her, she was everything to me for so long. I was the one who threw what we had away what we had together. I will have to live with that for the rest of my life. Victoria has become my rock, she supported and stopped me falling backwards into my grief over losing Bella. We have talked long and hard about my past with Bella. There are no skeletons in the closet and she knows, deep down that my heart is not truly hers. She accepts that Bella will always hold a very special place in my heart, and no-one will ever replace her. I never thought that I would find love again, and Victoria accepts me for who I am and I love her for that.
My family like Victoria, but she is not Bella and never will be. She has had to work long and hard to prove to them that she wasn't trying to replace her in my or their affections. For a while it was like an epic uphill battle, but she finally won them over and they have took her into their hearts. They could see how good she is for me and how she helped to heal my broken heart. I asked her to marry me when we went to Vegas for her birthday weekend. We got married in The Little White Chapel, and it was perfect. She has a smile on her face as she pulls back from our kiss and whispers three little words that make me fall to my knees in the street.
"Edward, I'm pregnant."
I suddenly feel a familiar warmth spread through me. I know, then and there that Bella is with me, watching over me and she is giving me her blessing to live my life. I decide, in that moment, that if we have a girl, I will insist on calling her Isabella so that she will live on despite not being here with me anymore.
I hope that this was not too dark for you, as I mentioned up top this was my entry for the Season of Our Discontent Angst competition and they wanted dark and angsty, I think that I managed that.
A world of thanks of thanks go out to my beta Cosmom and my pre-readers & friends Mamasutra & FFaddward you were there when I needed you most on this – thanks ladies ;-) You will probably never know how much that meant to me.
Originally I had this pairing as Bella & Edward but a lot of people didn't think it was and I took quite a few hits on this in reviews plus a lovely flame review which nearly meant that I withdrew altogether from the competition. I was unsure about posting this but have decided to share it. This story has caused me heartache and a lot of tears and it has taken me a long time to decide to post it, even now I am unsure. If you want to leave a review and let me know what you think then please do.