Title: Melt My Heart to Stone
Pen Name: jacndaniel
Rating: M
Banner by: Jaime Arkin
Beta: Maxipoo1024

Why do you steal my hand

Whenever I'm standing my own ground?

You build me up, then leave me dead

And I hear your words that I made up

You say my name like there could be an us

I best tidy up my head I'm the only one in love

I'm the only one in love

Melt My Heart to Stone - Adele

Things don't always happen the way that you expect them to. Sure, rainbows and flowers and super smiley smiling faces are good, but no one ever plans for the bad stuff. What happens when the smiles and the rainbows fade before forever? You felt like forever, and now you're gone. Sometimes when I think of you or strum your old guitar, the smiley face returns, but most of the time, loneliness is all that I feel.

The night we met was rainy and cold. You were soaked through, just like I was. I ran into the coffee house to get out of the rain, and my life literally collided with yours. You wrapped your arms around me while I tried to catch my balance and my breath, but when I looked up at your face, I lost it again. You were so beautiful with water dripping from the tip of your nose and your dark, curly eyelashes.

"I'm sorry," and "It's totally fine," lead into "I'm Bella," and "I'm Edward." The talking took only minutes, but the staring lasted hours. There was music in the background, but your laughter made me forget it all. You spoke of road trips and falling into this new place while I told you about growing up just down the street. You offered me your dry hoodie from under your wet coat when we decided to leave, and I took it because I wanted to know what you smelled like underneath all the rain.

I grabbed your hand, and we ran the two blocks to my apartment. We laughed at the squishy sound that our shoes made in the hallway, trying our best not to slip and fall. My lips were on yours from the moment we stepped through the door. Your lips tasted better than I imagined they would,and your fingertips felt like fire on my skin. I've never been the kind of girl to bring a stranger home but as I pulled you down onto my bed it was like my soul recognized you. You never felt like a stranger to me. Every part of me welcomed you in, like you were finally home.
You never left after that night and though you never called it love, I felt it. It was in the kisses and caresses; it was in the way you took care of me when I was sick. I never doubted the way that you felt, because you never gave me a reason to. Maybe that was why I was surprised when I came home on the three hundred and forty-second night and found you had gone. I picked my brain and pulled memories from it, looking for your reasons.

"I'm not a forever guy, B..."

"I wish this could be forever..."

Your words fell onto the pillow under my head next to my tears. Of course I heard them when you whispered them into the darkness, but I never really listened to them. Why would I listen to them? And if I did, how could I believe them? You were there without clothes on, filling my body and my heart. Your words were like vapor lingering in the air above us, never really sinking in.

I wanted you so badly to feel everything that I was feeling. You were like electricity through my body and I refused to believe that you didn't feel it, too. How could you not? There were so many smiles and so much happiness in our home that I couldn't even fathom you not being there. So once you weren't there it took a huge effort for me to actually accept that you weren't coming back.

I thought of you less often as time forced me to move on. Five years passed slowly, without any actual moving on. You lingered in the apartment I couldn't bring myself to leave, hoping that you would one day return. Not quite faded from my heart, forgotten possessions lay in the recesses of my closet, memories clinging to each one: flannel shirts, a pair of boots, your old guitar—all things I thought you would come back for. I was sadly mistaken; they were abandoned and forgotten just like me.

Relief came in the form of work, friends, and music. I taught myself to play your guitar, and I even played sometimes in the coffee house where we first met. Part me hoped that you would walk in one day and hear my songs. They were all for you. I remembered you showing me finger placement and trying so hard to teach me. Your laughter was always loud and abundant on those nights. Now, the house was quiet, now save for the sound of my own voice singing, sad but strong.

I never thought that you would be the one to hold my heart

But you came around and you knocked me off the ground from the start

You put your arms around me and I believe that it's easier for you to let me go

You put your arms around me and I'm home

Today, I woke up and realized I couldn't remember the last time I thought of you. Your face, your hands, your voice had become soft, fuzzy memories tickling my heart. Today was the day that everything changed. I found myself in that space between sleep and awake. I felt warm and there was music: sad, soft strums on the guitar that had become my life. I reached my hand out to the spot beside me, where I laid my guitar when I went to bed last night. The spot was cold and empty.

I sat up and blinked away the sleep from my eyes, and I almost swore that you were there, sitting on the floor in front of my bedroom window, with your old guitar in your lap. You looked up at me through your mile-long lashes and smiled sweetly. I knew I had to be dreaming, but I was too scared to even blink. I slowly scooted slowly back against the headboard and listened to you play.

"You didn't change the locks," you whispered. "I used my key. I hope that's okay."

"Are you really here, Edward? I've had this dream before, but this seems different somehow."

"I'm here, B."

"I'm scared. Will you disappear if I blink?" I crawled to the edge of my bed, trying to get closer to you.

"Blink, baby, I'm not going anywhere. Not right now, not unless you ask me to."

"I'm not asking you to, not right this second." You opened your arms, and I moved into the spot that used to be mine, the spot that I had missed so much. I breathed you in, and I didn't fight the tears that started to fall. I grabbed your shirt and I twisted it in my fist, trying to get closer to you.

"Shh, Bella, it's okay. I'm so sorry, baby."

"Why, Edward? Why did you leave me? "

"I don't know. I was scared...maybe... I didn't know how to be what you wanted me to be. I told you I'm not the forever kind of guy, but I think I was wrong."

"What does that even mean?" I sniffled and wiped my eyes on the material in my hand.

"It means that I love you, and I want the chance to make it up to you."

I sat up and I looked into his eyes. They looked sad and I instinctively wanted to make it better. Someone as beautiful as Edward should never look that sad.

"You don't even know me anymore. There isn't much left of the girl you walked away from five years ago. I haven't seen her in a while." You kissed me softly, comforting me. "I only ever wanted you, Edward. Now I think it's too late."

"You don't mean that, love. It can't be too late. I meant it when I said that I'm sorry and that I love you. How can you say that it's too late?" The look on your face was frantic and full of turmoil. I wanted to make it better, but I knew

I slid out of your lap and on to the floor in front of you. Watching your fingers reach for me nearly ripped my heart right out of my chest, but I knew what I had to do. I had to let you go. This time it would be my choice, on my terms. It was going to hurt like hell.

"Baby, I think you should go. You can't be here anymore. It took me so long to finally start living again after you left, but I did it. My life doesn't include you anymore, and my broken heart is too damaged to hold my love for you anymore."

"So what are you saying, Isabella?" Your tears made their way down your cheeks and fell from the edge of your chin.

"I'm saying that I can't go back there again. I won't go back there again. It's too much, Edward. The love that I have inside of me for you almost killed me, and it's not fair for you to just show up here after all this time and ask me to allow the pain back in."

"I'm not going to hurt you again. I missed you so much, baby. I can't stay away any longer. And I have nowhere to go if you send me away. Please don't send me away." You began to panic, and I could hear the hysterics taking over.

"Edward, what we had was so good. You owned every part of my heart and soul, and when you left, it destroyed me. It's taken me a long time but I have put myself back together again, and I have changed my life for the better. You leaving changed me, irrevocably. Thank you for that."

"Bella, it doesn't have to be like this. I want to make it up to you, to show you how sorry I am and what a big mistake I made. I want to come home, baby. Please let me come home." The begging was killing me, and I could feel my resolve begin to slip.

"This isn't your home any more, Edward. Don't you see? I'm different, everything is just... different." I sigh, having no other words to express my hopelessness.

"But that's just it, you are my home. This..." he places his hand over my fast beating heart "...is my home. All this time I was out searching for my destiny, but it was here all along. It's you Bella. It's always been you." Your tears were falling steadily down your face now, and my resolve is crumbling.

"Please don't make this harder than it already is. Do you think this doesn't hurt me? It kills me.
It kills me to turn you away. I love you, Edward, but I'm not the same girl anymore." I said, moving your hand from my chest and holding it in my lap instead.

"Wow. This is definitely not what I expected to happen tonight." Your laugh was a sharp contrast to the tears still falling from your eyes.

"Yeah, it's kind of like how I didn't expect to come home to an empty apartment five years ago. Life happens, though, and we need to move on from it." I playfully swat his chest and stand up from where I have been sitting.

I started to make my way to the front door but stopped before I passed my closet. I turned on the light and walked to the back where I had left all of your stuff. "Hey, Edward? Do you want any of these things? I mean I know it's been a long time but your boots are back here and your gray flannel."

I gather his things in my arms and when he takes them from me, I couldn't bring myself to part with the flannel shirt. "Keep it, Bella. It probably smells like you and that would just make me sad."

We both laughed at that, and I hugged the shirt tightly to my body. "Thank you. I always loved this shirt."

The walk from the closet to the front door was the longest walk of my life. I knew you were going to walk out the door and out of my life forever. It was almost too much. The silent tears began to fall so when I felt your arm wind around my waist, I couldn't help but to curl up into your side.

"I really do love you, Edward."

"I know, Bella. I love you too. Always have and always will. I'm just sorry that it's not enough."

"I am, too." I dried my eyes and squeezed you tight one last time before I opened the door.

"Good bye, Edward."

"See you around, B." It didn't surprise me that you didn't say good bye; you never said it the first time you left either. I tried not to read too much into it, but I couldn't help but wonder if I would in fact see you around.

That night, I sat in the place he had sat, on the floor in front of my bedroom window, and played the songs that he used to play for me on those lazy, long ago nights. It felt like the sun would never come up, but when the dawn finally broke, I felt something that I never thought I could feel without you. I felt whole.

A/N: Thank you for donating to this very worthy cause. About 76,000 children worldwide are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes every year. I'm happy to be able to help in even this small way.
Thanks also to Maxipoo1024 for her amazing beta skills and to Jaime Arkin for the beautiful banner. I appreciate you ladies more than you'll ever know.