This is a repost of The Burning Marvelous Life. I changed the name, but it's the exact same (with a few grammar corrections). Thanks to all the folks who sent me a copy of TBML. I really appreciate it so much! Anyway, enjoy. :) I'll try to post a chapter a day, at least. Let's keep our fingers crossed that they don't delete it again!
When I was three years old, Emmett Cullen ran up my driveway with not a stitch of clothing on his four year old self. I loved him from that moment forward. We were neighbors from birth. He chased me with earthworms and I chased him for kisses. We watched scary movies together and camped in our back yards. We were inseparable.
In 6th grade, he asked me to be his girlfriend and we have been together since. I am completely aware that what we have is rare and should not be taken for granted. It has lasted through braces, glasses, retainers, perms, mullets, and acne. It has lasted through jealousy, irrational arguments, and Emmett's revenge kiss with Jessica Stanley at our Jr. Prom. Our relationship remained unblemished through all of college at U-dub, much to the chagrin of one exceptionally vapid cheerleader named Lauren.
After college, Em proposed and I said yes with no hint of hesitation. We moved into a sweet little duplex in Seattle smack dab in the middle of our commutes to work. I work at the Seattle Public Library and Emmett works in an accounting firm as a CPA. Better him than me. Numbers tend to confuse me and generally leave me feeling disappointed in myself. I live for the written word. I adore the way a book can transport me to other worlds and cultures. I fall in love with characters, and I mourn their loss when the story is over. I love that I am surrounded by books every day. I work in the children's section at the library and am in charge of the toddler's and children's story time.
Luckily, Emmett's salary allows me to work part time and I have been diligently working on the "Great American Novel" for the past 2 years. Basically, I sit in my office and stare at my laptop screen for a few hours per day, often just typing random words and praying for a breakthrough from my crippling writer's block.
I had been typing lyrics to all the Beatles songs I could think of when I heard the doorbell. I jumped out of my seat, so relieved to have a distraction that I literally skipped to the door. Jasper, Emmett's cousin and inhabitant of the other half of our home, stood on the stoop bearing sandwiches. My stomach snarled at the smell of sausage, peppers, and cheese. I pulled Jasper in the door and almost certainly elbowed him in the face trying to wrestle the bag from his hands.
"Jesus Christ, B! Hungry?" he moaned as he doubled over, fist pressed into his eye.
"Sorry, Jazz! I haven't eaten all day," I explained as I pulled plates and cups from the cupboard. I motioned for him to sit as I attempted to stuff half of my sandwich into my mouth in one very ladylike move. I chewed as politely as I could manage, having to go so far as to hold a napkin in front of my face as Jasper looked on with what could only be described as horrified fascination. When I was able to swallow and wipe my face clean of delicious marinara, Jasper cleared his throat and finally dug into his own sandwich.
"So, Rose tells me you guys finally set a date?" Rosalie is my best friend and Jasper's sister. She and I have always had a tumultuous and fierce friendship. We argue like sisters, but we also defend one another like sisters. I couldn't ask for a better friend. She puts up with all my crazy and I put up with all her bitchy. Rose is gorgeous. She's tall, willowy, blond, peaches and cream complexion with hair the color of sunshine. Rose could have any man she desired, hands down. Unfortunately for the male population, Rose is madly in love with her girlfriend, Tanya. She broke many, many boy hearts when she came out as a lesbian our junior year of college.
"We have. We've decided on June 12 of this year." I replied, stuffing a stray pepper into my mouth. We had been engaged for over 2 years now, and our family and friends reveled in harassing us to set a date. We weren't avoiding the event, by any stretch of the imagination. We were just so comfortable and satisfied with the way our lives were already mingled that time slipped by without notice. I heard the garage door open, and there he was; the love of my life.
He was slightly rumpled in his blue button down shirt and gray slacks, his shirt already untucked. Emmett was definitely into comfort. He tended to loosen his tie and untuck his shirt a tad earlier than was acceptable. I loved that he loved t-shirts and sweats. He was always ready for cuddling and his t-shirts were super soft from wear. I stood and he wrapped his arms tightly around me, pressing his face into my hair and breathing deeply.
"I missed you today," he murmured as he lifted my chin with his finger so he could press his lips to mine in a sweet, chaste kiss.
He turned to Jasper and smiled widely, flashing his dimples. "Hey Jazz. Did Bella tell you we finally have a date?" he asked as I gathered a plate for his sandwich and a beer from the fridge.
"Yeah, we were just talking about that," Jasper replied. "Congratulations, man!"
"Thanks," Emmett hesitated, "Listen, Jasper. I was hoping you'd be my best man?"
Jazz stood and they did that strange half hug, smack on the back thing that all men do. "Of course I will, man! I'd be honored."
"Tell Alice to call me, please. I'd like to ask her to be a bridesmaid," I said, cringing on the inside. I like Alice. Really. In small doses. Alice is extremely excitable and loud. And, squeaky. And bouncy. And LOUD. But, Jasper loves her, so she and I are thrust together a lot. She is still in school getting her degree in art and she is an extremely talented fiber artist. I know she'll be very enthusiastic about helping pick color schemes and dress designs for the wedding, and I try to remind myself that this is a good thing.
Jasper agreed to let her know and I wandered away from the boys to let them have their manly conversation. I decided to take a nice bath and gathered my towel, pj's, and a book before drawing the hottest, bubbliest bath I could manage. I relaxed slowly into the deep tub, letting the hot water soothe my muscles. My back and neck were screaming at me from sitting at my desk all day. I closed my eyes and drifted off without even cracking open my book.
I woke up to kisses all over my face and ears. "Lets get you out of here," Emmett murmured, pressing a very sweet kiss to my mouth. He helped me out of the tub and slowly dried me with a towel. I wrapped my arms around his neck and hugged him tightly, breathing in deeply to catch his spicy boy smell. His arms were wrapped so tightly around my waist, I was unable to draw a deep breath. I loved Em's hugs. They were completely sincere, always face to face- never a side hug, and always borderline too tight. They made me feel safe, loved, and small in the most deliciously feminine way.
We drifted slowly to the bed, Emmett's clothes leaving a trail behind us. As we crawled into bed, I was overwhelmed with the love and contentment I felt in my life. As we kissed, licked, touched, and whispered our love to each other, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I was put on this earth to love and be loved by this man. Later, his breathing was deep and slow as his head lay on my stomach. I rubbed his soft brown curls, and heard his contented sigh. He moved up so our heads were close together on my pillow and pressed his forehead to mine. "I love you," he breathed as he fell asleep.
I studied his face in slumber. He was so lovely. His jaw was strong, and always showed a hint of stubble. His dimples were so deep, you could see the evidence of them even when his face was relaxed. His beautiful blue eyes were surrounded by the most ridiculously thick black lashes, and his brows were thick but not unruly. His lips were perfect; plump pouty things that I loved to kiss. I ran my arms over his broad shoulders and down his long, muscular back. His muscles were thick and smooth, large but not bulky. I gently scratched his back as I snuggled closer into his chest. I fell asleep feeling lucky and excited to start the next phase of our lives together.
When I woke up the next morning, I felt really terrible. My eyes were swollen, my tongue felt hairy and thick, like I was going to vomit, and I felt like I could sleep for a week and not be completely rested. I felt hungover. I looked over at the alarm clock, startled when I saw that it was 12:30. Confused, I glanced at my window, noting the sun was indeed out. I slept past noon. Slowly, I made my way to the bathroom and looked in the mirror. I looked pale, with dark circles under my eyes. My head was pounding and my nose was clogged. I took a hot shower, standing in the steam as long as I could, hoping for some relief from feeling so yuck.
I felt a little better as I dressed and I headed into the kitchen for some breakfast. Emmett was sitting at the table, eating a sandwich. He smiled when I walked in the room. "Good morning, sleepy head!" he teased.
"Morning," I muttered as I walked over to him and kissed him on the cheek. He pulled me into his lap and looked at my face closely.
"Are you feeling ok, Baby? Your eyes are a little glassy." He felt my forehead with the back of his hand. "You're nice and cool."
"I'm fine," I assured him. "I felt like shit when I woke up, but I feel better now. Maybe I just got too much sleep."
"Alright, Bells," he nodded, seeming convinced. "I have to run a few errands today. Do you want me to pick something up for supper or did you want to cook something here?"
"Will you grab some onions and ground beef? I really feel like having chili tonight," I answered, digging in the refrigerator for turkey and mayonnaise. I began to put my sandwich together while Emmett stood to wash his plate. He wrapped me up in a tight hug and kissed my neck.
"Sure thing," he whispered. He turned me in his arms and kissed me lightly on the mouth. "I'll be home in a few hours. I love you."
"I love you, too," I smiled. I quickly ate my sandwich and washed my plate. I stood for a minute, thinking of what I could accomplish for the day. It was Saturday, and I felt truly lazy. I decided to walk over and see what Jasper was doing. I lifted my fist to the door and it flew open before I could knock.
"Bella!" Alice squealed. "I was just coming to see you! Jazzy said you wanted to talk to me?"
Wow. Already, I regretted the decision to come here. She's a nice girl. She's a nice girl. She's a nice girl. Her voice was just way too perky... and squeaky... and loud for me today. She seemed to be vibrating and she was definitely bouncing on her toes a bit.
"Reign it in a little, Alice," I chuckled. "I just wanted to ask if you'd like to be a brides-" I couldn't even finish my sentence. She squealed so shrilly and loudly I put my hands to my ears to check for blood. She was talking a hundred miles an hour, but I couldn't make out anything due to the ringing in my ears. She was a frenzy of bouncing and hugging and giggling and babbling and I was suddenly very, very dizzy. I was so dizzy, in fact, that I just sat right down on the stoop and bent forward at the waist trying to calm the spinning and the blood that seemed to be pounding in my ears.
I was nauseous from the spinning and I had to take small little gasps of air from my mouth to stop myself from vomiting right there. I heard Alice scream for Jasper and I felt a large, very warm hand between my shoulder blades.
"Bella, are you ok? Do you need a doctor?" Jasper asked, worry evident in his strained voice.
"No, I'm ok. I've been feeling a little sick today. I feel a little better, really. I'm just gonna go home and lie down for a while, I think."
Jasper nodded, but insisted on walking me the three feet to my door. He helped me inside and got me settled on the couch. He gathered the tv remote, a pillow and blanket from my bedroom, and brought me a big glass of water. He kissed me on the forehead and reminded me unnecessarily and repeatedly that he was right next door if I needed him. I was about 5 minutes into an episode of The Golden Girls when my eyelids drooped and I was soon fast asleep.
I woke with a start. My breath came in huge gasps and my heart was pounding out of my chest as I tried to figure out what had snatched me from my slumber. It was dark in my house, and I felt very disjointed and just... strange. "Jesus Christ, I've slept the day away!" I muttered to myself. I jumped and squeaked when my phone rang and I realized that was probably what woke me in the first place.
"Emmett?" I called, wondering if he was home yet. I got no reply and I fumbled with my phone trying to answer it. I didn't recognize the number on the caller i.d. and I was very tempted to ignore it.
"Hello?" I sighed.
"Miss Swan? This is Grace at Northwest Hospital. There's been an accident."
I ran to Jasper's and he drove to the hospital, clutching my hand in his and whispering soothing words... Promising that everything would be ok. When we got to the hospital, we ran inside and were lead to a quiet room with 2 chairs and a desk. A very lovely woman walked in and smiled sympathetically at us.
"Miss Swan?" I nodded, dumbly. "I am so sorry. The doctors did everything they could, but-" I stared at her face and watched her mouth move. All I could feel was cold, heavy numbness along my nose and jaw and and heavy, heavy dread in my stomach.. in my very bones.. in my joints. I couldn't comprehend much, but I gathered that Emmett had been in a car accident and had died in the emergency room.
I don't know how I got back to the car and I don't remember getting back to Jasper's. I do know when I opened my eyes again, it was very, very bright. I was wrapped in strong arms and for a minute, just for a lovely, bliss filled minute, I felt absolute relief knowing it was all a nightmare. I took a deep breath through my nose and quickly, like a punch in my stomach, the dread and complete anguish surrounded me again. It wasn't my Emmett's spicy boy smell hugging me. It was Jasper's smokey, peppermint smell, and I sobbed. I felt his arms tighten and felt his chest heave with his own heavy sobs.
I shut down.
The next few days were shrouded in a grief-induced fog. I vaguely registered my parents' quiet words and comforting hugs. I knew Emmett's family was in our house, moving like ghosts and speaking very softly, as if afraid to disturb the perfect sorrow. His mother and I spent a lot of time sitting on the small sofa in the living room, holding hands and staring blankly as people moved around us.
There were people everywhere- murmuring, buzzing; their faces were all the same. The funeral was horrible. I kissed Emmett's cold cheek and I wanted with all my heart to crawl into his casket and die beside him. I sobbed and heaved and trembled and truly felt my heart harden and plummet as they lowered my love and best friend into the ground.
I felt numb again, and that was a relief. People spoke to me and hugged me and patted me and I felt nothing. Our families left the following day. My mother sobbed and begged me to come home with her. I needed her to leave. I needed time alone. I needed silence. I actually comforted her- made her believe I would be alright when they left. She promised to call me when they got home and walked out the door.
I was not alright.
I walked into the bedroom and sat on the floor. I picked up Emmett's blue button-down from the clothes basket behind the closet door and wrapped it around my shoulders. I breathed in deeply and curled in a ball on the floor. His smell brought my pain and emptiness back into sharp focus. My chest hurt so much from crying and at the very same time it hurt with the strain of trying not to cry. I could feel his warm hugs and soft kisses. I could still feel his soft hair in my fingers and his stubble on my neck. There was nothing left for me. I was put on this earth to love and be loved by one man and that man was gone.
I was finished.
When Rose found me, I was still lying on the floor. I had no hope, no appetite, no desire for anything other than my own death. Rose lifted me from the floor and helped me into the bathroom. She quickly and silently undressed me and helped me into the shower. When she realized I wasn't actually washing myself, she plugged the tub and sat me down to help me bathe. I was cleaned, dried, dressed, and tucked into bed before she spoke a word to me.
"Bella," she began, tears in her voice, "I love you like my sister. I know you're hurting, but you can't shut down." I stared at her lovely face as she spoke, knowing she meant well, but that she would never say those words to me if she could feel how my heart ached. "I'm going to get something for you to eat and drink. I'll be right back." She kissed my forehead and disappeared out the door.
My days passed in much the same way. Rose and Jasper traded days to stay with me. They kept me clean and fed. They kept me company, even if we just lay on my bed and watched t.v.. Jasper wrapped my pillow with Emmett's shirt, and I hugged it to my chest. I was grateful for my friends. They didn't leave me alone for over a week. On the 9th day, Rosalie and Jasper came into my room together. They sat on either side of me and each grabbed a hand. Rose was the one who spoke- the one who changed my life almost immediately.
"Bella, I've noticed that you're still sick. Your sinuses seem clogged, you're nauseous nearly every day, and you're extremely moody. I know that you've been through a very hard couple of weeks, but I would feel better if you would take a pregnancy test. I bought a pack and they're in your bathroom. I'm almost certain that it's just stress, but this will at least let us know if you need a trip to the doctor."
I nodded, knowing that it was likely just stress. I fumbled with the test, finally peeing on the damn thing, and left it on my counter. I climbed back into bed, and Jasper pulled me onto his chest. He was making me drowsy, rubbing my back lightly, when Rose walked into the bathroom to check the test. She came back in a minute later with wide, tear-filled eyes and the test clutched in her hand.
"Bella," she whispered, "You're pregnant."