8/24/2012: Word Prompt: Glass
"This is your building," I said, dumbfounded. "Why are we at your building?"
"Because the unit upstairs from mine just went on the market. And I was hoping you might want to make it your building, too."
The thing about addicts is, underneath everything, we're selfish people. We want what we want when we want it, and that's just the way it works. At the heart of any addiction is a person who doesn't care about others. A person who doesn't care about ramifications, consequences, or even themselves. A person who lies and hurts and sometimes even steals. Everything and everyone else be damned.
All so we can get what we need.
And when you come back from that; when you really, truly come back from it…you've learned ways to not be selfish. You've learned ways to atone for the bad things you've done. You've done what you could to right all the wrongs you may have committed.
Then you live in constant fear of committing new ones.
Two years before, that was me. I was selfish. Self-absorbed. I lied. I hurt. I poisoned. Myself, and everyone around me.
And I never wanted to do it again.
Which was why—as Bella's words finally registered—instead of feeling excited or grateful for what she'd said…I felt sick.
Blinking, I looked away, not wanting to see the look my silence put on her face. I stared out the window, trying to come up with some kind of response that wouldn't show her how unsettled I felt. God knew I couldn't have begun to explain why I felt the way I did; except to say that her offer was like a slap of reality right to the face.
She'd said it all before…but at that moment, I knew.
She really, truly wanted me in Seattle.
She wanted me upstairs.
Holy shit. She wanted me up-fucking-stairs.
My heart wanted me to forget all the reservations I had and tell her yes. But my mind had a different idea. I could almost hear Leah's voice screaming the word 'no' over and over again. She'd definitely think it was a bad idea. She'd say it wasn't smart. She'd tell me I had worked too hard to screw up everything now with a decision I hadn't fully thought through.
And I knew she was right.
But… she wanted me upstairs.
Still in the drivers' seat, Bella's hands knitted together, twisting and turning. A nervous, uncomfortable gesture. "I understand if you don't want to," she rushed out, words clipped. "I won't be angry with you. I just thought—"
And I couldn't let her think I didn't want it. Want her. "No," I interrupted, finally turning away from the window. "It's not that I don't want to. It's that…" I paused, considering. "This just got a whole lot more real." My words fell on a heavy breath, filling the space between us.
Suddenly, Bella's lips turned quickly from a frown, shifting upwards into a smile. And then she giggled, not even trying to hide the fact that she was laughing at me. "Really? What did you expect looking for a place to live in Seattle to entail, Edward?"
Her tone was playful, teasing. But still I huffed, covering my face with my hands, feeling embarrassed by my own reaction. By my own still lingering inability to handle certain things. "You're right," I breathed. "I'm being ridiculous, aren't I?"
"No," she said, peeling my fingers away and staring into my eyes. "Be honest with me right now. Do you not want to come back here? Is that it? Are you not ready?"
Of course I'm ready, I thought. I've spent long enough without you.
But I couldn't just think it. I had to say it. Leaning toward her, I lifted the hand she wasn't holding to her cheek. "Of course I want to come back here." The sun shining through the window made all of the reds and golds stand out in her hair. What I wouldn't have given to be able to forget everything in my head and just kiss her again. Kiss her for the rest of my life. "I want to be with you," I vowed. "However you'll have me. It's just..."
Her brown eyes moved between mine, patient as I tried to gather my thoughts. My eyes closed and I blew out a breath, all the thoughts in my head coming with it.
"I want to do this right. I want to date you. I want you to be my girlfriend and all that it entails, and I'm afraid that if we move too quick, one, I won't be able to handle it. And two, we'll erase everything the two of us have done over the last three years to become individuals and fall back into something that was once comfortable and safe. And I can't do comfortable and safe anymore. I have to be…diligent. My life is…different now." My eyes closed as my free hand curled into a fist and rested against my chest. "I'm different now. I have to stick to a schedule, and the first couple of months are going to be really difficult, and I don't know how any of this is supposed to work." I tugged at my hair, eyes still screwed shut as I admitted everything. "And I'm afraid it won't work because I'll fuck it up again. I hurt you once without meaning to, and I never, ever want to do it again. Ever."
My chest rose and fell with each labored breath I managed. I waited as the silence gathered, building until I thought I might have done exactly what I didn't want. That I'd hurt her somehow.
"Open your eyes," Bella whispered, and I did. Slowly. To my surprise, she was smiling softly, her eyes sparkling with emotion. "I'm different too, you know. My life is different. My friends…my job. Everything about us is different except for the fact that we're us. I understand that." She reached for my hand, still holding tightly to my hair. When she spoke again, her voice was full of heart. "I want to date you, too, you know? And I want more than anything to get to know you again—not over the phone." She giggled. "And…I want to be your girlfriend. But we have time. I'm not pushing for anything to happen overnight, and I don't think you should push yourself for my sake either. I get it."
All I could do was smile, my hand on her cheek flexing with the need to pull her closer. Before I could, she spoke again. "And Edward?"
I leaned in closer. "Yeah?"
She leaned in, too. Eyes falling to my lips. "No matter how long it takes, I'm not going anywhere."
"Yeah?" I said again, licking my bottom lip.
"Yeah," she whispered, breath warm across my lips. "And you know what else?"
I snapped my gaze away from her mouth, focusing my eyes on hers. "What?" My own voice was soft, gritty. Needing. I needed her. Like always.
She pressed her lips, barely there, against mine, speaking her words right into my mouth. "The closest liquor store is four blocks away." She sucked my bottom lip. "There's a church on the next street over that does meetings six days a week." She kissed my chin. My hand slid higher, into her hair. My heart fucking pounded. "And I haven't had a drink since the day Emmett told me what happened to you."
And I didn't have the words to respond. The words to convey exactly how she made me feel with just those words. They said she understood. That she really was in this. That she got how different my life was now, even if she hadn't been part of it for a long time.
So I told her, in the only way I could—with my lips—that I was in this, too.
Yeah remember that promise I made? Who knew life was going to spiral out of control? Not me that's for sure. Updates won't be as frequent as they have been in the past, and I'm sorry for that, but I haven't forgotten this story and I will continue to post as often as I can. Thank you for reading and sticking with me. I appreciate it.