May 6, Year One
I know, I know...it's been a little over 2 months since I've last written. But Edward, I was in a horrible, horrible place. You saw the beginning, and I just...it'll be easier, less damaging for me if you never have to know of the middle. I don't want to relive it, and I didn't want to live it while it was happening to me. When I read over the last letter I wrote, it brings me back to that sorrow and burden that almost didn't lift for me. By the time this whole thing is over, and we're reunited and I feel your lips upon my lips, we can discuss it then—if you really feel you need to know of it.
I'm not ready now, and I don't know I could ever go there without you.
Meanwhile—my head has been all over the place negative the last few months, but I'm over it. We're at the end, I'm getting better, but more than that, my heart is better.
And you won't like this part one bit, not at all, but it's another man who has helped pick me up. Emmett. He's my physical therapist and he's very married. He doesn't understand our arrangement. He's mad at you, and mad at me. He can't understand ever leaving his Rosie for any purpose whatsoever. And I understand that. I so totally do, after having done it and continuing to do so. It's so hard.
But it makes me humble. Grateful. I've realized that I have so, so much for which to be thankful and happy. Emmett has helped me to learn how to be myself again, and even though my figure is drastically and unforgivably altered, I'm more me than I've ever been.
His family has taken a liking to Charlie and me. They love us.
Emmett has a little girl, Alex, and she's 2 years old. She's taken to calling Charlie, "Papa". I've never seen the man grin so big. I often think about how we had plans to make babies of our own. I'm not sure that's possible now—so for Charlie to have Alex, well, it's something to him. Everything to him. I'm so glad we'll have a greater chosen family—I have no doubts you'll love them when you meet them.
Rosie and I were talking the other day at dinner. She's taken to making me some pretty creative soups that help with my dry mouth and sour stomach. She's always searching for new recipes that can be frozen and reheated without losing any nutrients or flavor. Since soup is the easiest thing for me to eat, I don't complain. She's switching things up a lot, which has made eating easier, even if it is still hard for me to keep on weight. Anyway...
We were talking about princesses. Just in general—their mannerisms and entitlement issues. I told her that you and I had this running joke about attitude. I told her that whenever either of us complained or whined we'd call the other one 'princess'. It wasn't a good thing, more like a slap upside the head telling the other person to knock it off already. She looks at princesses different though, I suppose she would since she has a little girl. She shared with me a quote and you know I love those.
"Whatever comes cannot alter one thing. If I am a princess in rags and tatters, I can be a princess inside. It would be easy to be a princess if I were dressed in a cloth of gold, but it is a great deal more of a triumph to be one all the time when no one knows it."
That quote, Edward...I can't adequately describe how it touched my heart. It was a bit like a slap in the face to be honest—and not like how we've meant it in the past.
Part of my depression stemmed from whether or not...just my ability to be a woman. I just worry so much that I'll no longer be physically attractive to you anymore. That I won't function as a woman in the way that you're used to and my body won't respond to you how you might expect. My body is...dry, and I'm missing part of my leg. I know my hair will grow back, but will it be thinner? There is a woman in my support group who is going through a divorce—she's cancer free now—because her appearance is so altered from what it was that her husband deemed it too much. He left her.
Will you feel that...but stay?
Just writing it down makes me feel ridiculous. When I write it down, I can see how stupid a thought it is simply because of how you love me. I think you'll still be attracted to me. No, okay, I'm sure of it. But how different will your lust be?
Once you know and we're reunited, when you close your eyes will you see me as how you remember me to be before...or will you fantasize of me as how I am now? Oh how I wish I just knew for sure.
I miss you every day. Every. Single. Day.
I miss you, my love.
I stop reading and it is late. Bella woke up complaining of being cold and I helped her get into a bath. She says it helps to warm her, even though to me the water felt scalding. She was self-conscious and waved me out so she could soak and bathe alone.
Enough of that though. I'm not going to read a letter like that and not go to her. She needed to know for sure, and I wasn't going to make her wait any longer.
When I get to the door, I pause briefly to listen through the door. Jasper followed me on alert, likely thinking something was wrong by my swift movements and determination.
"It's okay, Jasper. Your mama is just fine." And I stroke his ear a few times.
"Edward?" I hear Bella call because she must have heard me.
It's time to throw uncertainty aside and I open the door.
Startled, she tries to cover up and the water sloshes and is barely contained within the tub. One frail arm is covering her breasts and the other is cupped around her center.
I snort. "What are you doing, woman?"
"Edward, get out, I'll be out in a minute." she looks away as if ashamed and her cheeks are pink. It could be from the water, I hope it's from the water, but I suspect it's from embarrassment.
"I came in here to help you. Will you let me?" I speak softly, and it nearly kills me. I've never had to think of this sort of thing before—her feelings and unsure of where we are, who we are together.
"You'll let me. Please let me." I plead.
After a small moment, enough for her to express a breath, she looks right at me. I see the sadness in her eyes, maybe fear, but she's so brave. I can see it's forced, but she tries to relax and unfurls her arms and extends her hand for me to come closer.
I hate that it's like this, I want to come on strong, because it's how I feel, but I have to be careful—she has to know I mean it. And I do mean it.
AN: If you're still there...thanks for reading. I've read, and appreciate-more than you could ever know-your interest in this story and your kind reviews. Thanks for sticking with me, despite my crazy schedule and sporadic updates.
My only request is that you're kind to someone today.