Chapter Twelve: My Immortal
There are people who say that everyone handles a tragedy in her own way, but I was still deciding on whether or not I was handling mine at all.
How had this become my life?
This wasn't the way things were supposed to end.
My husband was dead. I wouldn't wish that upon anyone, regardless of the unfaithfulness in our marriage. I was a widow, and it hurt even more than being a divorcèe would have.
Tanya Masen and Jacob Black died in a car accident. The very accident that my lover and I had witnessed the outcome of on our way home from Asheville. What sick and twisted foreshadowing God had placed before us.
Was that our payment for the sins we had committed?
Sometimes I wondered why it wasn't Edward and I who died instead. What was our reason for being allowed to stay alive? We weren't any better than Tanya and Jacob. The funerals for our deceased were held two days apart. Half the town was in attendance to Jacob's. It was excruciating to plan such an event; but luckily, his overbearing mother did most of it. She didn't shed a single tear, which was typical of the fake woman that she had always been.
My own mother came down for one day, but she didn't stay with me. But at least she had stayed sober for most of the time. I thought about attending Tanya's funeral, but what good would it do? It was hard enough dragging myself out of bed to shower and eat, let alone dress for a wake and attend my own spouse's funeral.
I had somehow managed to divert all calls from Emmett until now. I wasn't ready to discuss Jacob's will, but he was coming over today. At least Rosalie would be with me since Jacob's parents had to be here, too. Although, sadly I had begun to push her away, too. I really did feel like a zombie in my own life.
I sat on the couch in the foyer as Rosalie made us coffee. She came into the room with a tray and a few cups while we waited for people to arrive. She poured my coffee and added cream.
"Thanks," I said, taking the cup and drinking the hot liquid. Rose sat down next to me and sighed lightly.
"Bella," Rose began hesitantly.
"I'm all right," I assured her.
"You're lying," she snapped. I looked to her in surprise then sighed.
"I don't know how to feel," I whispered. "I went from complete anger and agony over his betrayal, to mourning his death."
"I know, and I can't imagine how awful that must be, but you can't lose yourself. No more drinking all day. You have to shower, and you have to stop blaming yourself."
I shrugged. "It's easier than facing the truth of it all: that he's dead, and never coming back." Rosalie sipped her coffee quietly for a moment. I studied her appearance. She looked different. Instead of her usual skimpy clothes, she wore black slacks, a nice pink blouse, and her hair was curled.
"You look nice," I commented softly. Rosalie smiled.
"I had a meeting today with a guy from Belk."
"The store?" I asked excitedly. She nodded quickly.
"They're interested in my sketches," she beamed. I smiled for the first time in days
"That's so great, Rosie! I'm proud of you." I groaned. "I can't believe I was too wrapped up in myself to notice or ask."
"It's fine, Bella," she soothed, patting my knee.
"No, it's not. I know how long you've wanted to sell your clothing line there, so I know how important this is for you. I'll get better," I promised.
"I know that," she replied smiling. "Stop drinking," she said again. I nodded. "I mean it, Bella."
"I will." And I would. If not for myself, then for my best friend. She was all I had left in this life.
"Have you heard from Edward?" she asked quietly. I sipped more coffee, then sighed. Hearing his name out loud was almost painful. I felt like that made him real, and if he was real, then so were the memories I had with him.
"It's only been a couple of weeks."
"It's been me," I whispered. "I haven't returned his calls or texts." Rosalie's frown deepened.
"Shame?" I offered with a shrug. "Confusion? I really don't know."
"Do you miss him?" After a moment, I nodded slowly. Edward had been there for me since day one of this horrid journey, and now I had left him in the dark. That hurt more than anything else.
"Soon," I whispered. I needed more time to figure out what to say, and how to apologize for cutting him off so abruptly. If anything, we needed each other now more than ever.
Sitting across from the Blacks, I tried to keep my eyes focused solely on Emmett, instead of on them. I could feel their angry eyes on me, hating me for their son being in the accident instead.
"Did you hear me, Bella?" Emmett asked softly. He was in a nice tan suit, his curly hair kept short, and his bright hazel eyes were soft. My mind cleared.
"He left everything to you."
"Everything?" I whispered.
"All of it."
"That just won't do," Sue snapped. "There are pictures, and some things from his childhood that I want." Mr. Black patted his wife's knee.
"Now Sue, I'm sure Bella would give some of those things to us." Everyone turned to me accordingly.
"Of course," I stuttered. "Anything you want." Sue nodded briskly. Emmett turned back to his paperwork.
"The funeral costs were paid by his life insurance. Anything left, is left to you, Bella. His accounts can be switched to your name."
"They are," I whispered.
"All but one," Emmett said quietly. My head jerked up.
"What account?" Emmett's eyes shifted awkwardly between me and Jacob's parents.
"Just a savings account," he said, waving his hand in the air dismissively. I knew he was lying. I glanced to Rosalie beside me who hadn't taken her eyes off of Emmett since he walked in the door.
"The house is yours to do with what you want-"
"She'll keep it of course," Sue scoffed. I frowned.
"I don't really need all the space," I whispered.
"She may not want to be here with all of the memories-"
"No, Billy," Sue said, cutting her husband off, "if she doesn't want it, we'll take it." My shoulders fell. Billy turned to me, ignoring his wife.
"If you wish to sell, do so." I nodded slowly. Sue huffed, but didn't speak again. I couldn't imagine what they must be going through as parents loosing their only son. I would never tell them of Jacob's affair with Tanya. I didn't care what they thought about me, but I would let them continue to think the world of their son.
Emmett finished reading Jacob's will quickly, obviously feeling the tension in the room. I signed what needed to be signed, and felt empty inside. The Blacks left with Sue's promise to be by next week to collect the things she wanted. Before Emmett could leave, I stopped him.
"What account?" Emmett looked to the ground. "Look, I already know about the divorce papers." His head snapped up.
"I'm sorry, Bella."
"It's fine. I knew it was all coming to an end, even if I didn't want to admit it."
"It's actually a college fund account..." he trailed off. My heart lurched painfully. My husband had opened an account for our child's college fees. A child I would never be able give him.
"Oh," I whispered.
"When I met with him... I just want you to know that he didn't plan on taking everything in the divorce. We had an appointment to meet and change the will before he...passed, but he wasn't going to leave you destitute."
"Thanks, Emmett," I breathed quietly. He nodded, then reached down next to his briefcase, pulling up a box.
"This came to the firm a few days ago. Wanda told me to give it to you." I took the unmarked box, and held it tightly to my chest.
"I'll show you out," Rosalie piped, speaking for the first time in almost an hour. Emmett smiled shyly. Finishing with Jacob's will meant that it was all over. I needed to move on with my life, with what I had, and not look back. I could always remember the good things, and now that Jacob was gone, I didn't have to remember the bad.
I noticed Rosalie giggling with Emmett by the door, and saw her slip him a small card. I smiled, knowing full well that she gave him her phone number. It felt good to smile, and it would feel even better moving on.
I fell fast asleep by eight that night, but something woke me with a start. I scooted up in the guest bed, and breathed heavily. There was a thin sheen of sweat over my skin. I frowned, but couldn't remember any sort of bad dream. It was almost eleven at night. I groaned, feeling wide awake. I decided to take shower, to wash away the contents of the day. I wished I could scrub my emotions away, too.
I dressed in a big t-shirt with nothing else, still feeling too warm. I left my bathroom, and started walking back towards the guest room. I wasn't ready to return to the bed that I once shared with my husband. Thunder boomed loudly as I passed through my room, switching off lights, then I gasped when I saw a dark figure in the corner. I narrowed my eyes, and could swear that I was seeing Jacob standing in front of his closet. I shivered, and jumped in surprise when I heard pounding on my front door. I switched the light back on, and saw a dark suit jacket hanging from the closet door. The panic in my chest eased, but I could still hear my pulse in my ears.
I was still frightened, but I turned the light back off and jogged downstairs. It was late at night, too late for visitors, so I wondered idly if I had hallucinated the knocking sound, too. I peered through the peephole to see Edward. I opened the door immediately. The storm blew rain in on my hot cheeks as a very wet and tired looking Edward stood in front of me on my stoop. I let him in, and ran to get a towel from the hall closet.
"Thank you," he said, taking the towel. He wiped his face and neck, then started to pat down his soaked clothes. His green eyes were dark, and they shifted back and forth.
"You okay?" I tried to even my breathing out.
"Yeah, I just thought I saw-" Edward frowned and I shook my head lightly. "Nothing." He turned back to drying his clothes. "You're sopping wet."
"I walked." My eyes widened.
"In this weather?" He shrugged. I put a hand on my hip.
"What are you doing here?" I blurted.
"I came to talk."
"At this hour?" I asked with raised eyebrows. He shrugged again.
"I couldn't sleep. I figured that maybe you haven't been sleeping much either. I've tried calling you." His face was sad now, and it broke what was left of my heart. He dried his hair, then handed me the towel. I let out a soft laugh.
"I know. I'm sorry, it's just-"
"I know," he replied quickly. "It's been hell." I nodded.
"Come on," I said, starting toward the stairs. "I've got some dry clothes. I'll wash yours." Edward smiled and followed behind me. Edward waited in the hall for me as I dug through my dresser for baggy sweats and another big shirt. My mind couldn't decide how I should feel. Part of me was happy to see Edward; it was like a breath of fresh air into the stale room I had been stuck in. But, the other part of me only ached each time I even thought about him.
I waited downstairs in the kitchen for Edward. I stared down at a bottle of vodka, remembering Rosalie's plea from earlier today. I pushed the bottle aside and went to the fridge, grabbing a pitcher of apple juice instead. Edward emerged into the kitchen in my clothes. I took his wet clothes and went to the laundry room quietly. I started a load in the washer, and came back to see him sipping apple juice from a small glass.
"No alcohol?" he asked in surprise. His eyes were dark. I kept the overhead kitchen light off, leaving on only the small lamp on the counter.
"I'm not drinking," I mumbled. I poured myself some juice. "Clothes work?" He picked at the old white t-shirt and nodded.
"Good," I said. "They fit."
"His? No. They're mine. Jacob wouldn't have been caught dead wearing sweats," I replied, cutting myself off. I covered my mouth, and instantly started to cry. I wasn't sure where my tears were coming from all of a sudden. I thought I had used them up already. I hovered over the counter and put my head in my hands.
When I felt Edward's hand on my back. It burned like fire, so I moved away. I quickly swiped at my tears.
"God," I whined.
"Are you all right?"
"I am. I really am. This isn't out of sadness, I'm just overwhelmed," I admitted quietly.
"I understand," he replied softly. I stepped back over to my cup, and looked into Edward's eyes. They weren't as green as I remembered them being, but maybe that bright color would return in time. Like so many other times before, standing so close to him, I could feel his sadness wash over me. It was then that I realized that I was happy to see him. If I could take his pain away, and experience it all on my own, I would, and that told me everything I needed to know.
I carefully closed the distance between us, wrapping my arms around his waist. I could hear him breathe a sigh of relief as he held me tightly to his chest. He smelt of fresh rain and tobacco, but something was missing.
"You're not painting," I stated sadly without turning my head to look up at him.
"No," he whispered. "How did you know?"
"I can't smell any paint," I said.
He chuckled softly then kissed the top of my head. It sounded deep with my ear pressed against his torso. His electrifying touch had slowly turned into a low humming feeling. It spread throughout my empty body and ignited something familiar. I recognized it immediately as desire, and I wasn't afraid of it. It was the only good thing I had felt in countless days. For fear of never feeling it again, I decided to act on it.
I twisted my head to look at Edward, and before I could second guess myself, I kissed him. The touch of his lips shocked mine slightly, but not enough to make me pull away. I suddenly smiled, breaking our kiss slightly and felt Edward's breath come over my face. I didn't feel like a sinner now. I waited for shame or sadness to overwhelm me, but there was nothing but my smile.
Edward crashed his mouth back to mine in fever, pushing my body against the counter. I gripped his hair for support, and let everything else fall away from me. There was nothing in my mind but Edward. I took his hand, and led it towards my uncovered center beneath my big shirt. Edward's moan was filled with a painful longing as he cupped my heat. His hand was like magic, moving only in a way that filled me with pleasure. I broke our kiss and threw my head back as his fingers slowly moved in and around my entrance. I looked back to him, his eyes dark and wanton.
I couldn't remember how we ended up in the guest bedroom sometime later. Edward hovered over me protectively, adoringly, and softly as we moved together as one. I felt every curve his body had, and found that my favorite place was his chest. It was as smooth as velvet against my pale skin. He moved in and out of me carefully, never picking up a quick rhythm. It felt like time had disappeared around us, allowing us to go slowly.
He kissed my breast, then sucked my neck as my nails started to dig into his lower back. I had never felt adored by someone before. He was eager to please, and after kissing my body from head to toe, a few tears escaped my eyes. The passion between us was too much for one broken person to handle. After taking our time, it finally grew to a climax, both of us crying out softly as we were released into ecstasy.
I stared down at Edward's back as he laid across my bare stomach. My back was propped up by the head board and I was tracing mindless patterns between his shoulder blades with my index finger as he hummed in approval.
"That feels good," he said. I smiled and continued my tracing. I glanced down to his bare ass. It was tight and small, and my cheeks heated back up.
"Can I ask you something?"
"Of course," I said mindlessly, too entranced by his beautiful body.
"How do you know that you can't get pregnant?"
"After my miscarriages, the doctor said it had caused too much damage on my uterus," I said lightly.
"Oh," Edward said quietly.
"You know," I started, thinking back to Jacob's will, "he had a bank account that I didn't know about." Edward twisted his head to look at me. The only light I had was from the night outside, so his eyes looked like diamonds.
"A college fund account." Edward's face fell. "After my miscarriages, we spoke about adoption or surrogate, so I assume he had the account set up in hopes for something like that." Edward groaned slightly and rested his chin on my thigh.
"What is it?" I asked softly.
"Tanya was pregnant," Edward choked. My eyes went wide, my tracing his shoulders stopped, and my empty heart began to constrict painfully.
"What?" I breathed. Edward groaned again and sat up.
"She was five weeks along."
"It wasn't mine, Bella," he said sadly. I wasn't sure if I was happy or sad about that. Everything suddenly became even more confusing. I frowned, and leaped off of the bed, and out of the room.
When I returned to Edward, I turned on a small lamp by the bed, sat down, and stared at the box Emmett had given me earlier.
"What's that?" Edward asked. I started opening the box, my heartbeat sounding loudly in my ear. I removed the stuffing contents, and found a plush rabbit.
"What the fuck?" Edward said. I dropped the rabbit on the bed, and found a receipt, and a small card at the bottom of the box. Edward took the receipt.
"Expensive rabbit," he said. "From Barney's." I almost didn't hear his words as I read over the card contents again and again. My hand covered my mouth and I dropped the card.
"That bastard," I choked. Edward frowned, picked up the card, and read aloud.
"You and this baby mean the world to me. Lets start our life fresh. I love you. -Jake"
I felt nauseous. The room was spinning. Edward hopped off the bed and yelled obscenities at everyone and no one. It hurt my ears, but I didn't complain.
"Why?" he cried. "How can this just keep getting worse?"
"How long have you known she was pregnant," I asked in a whisper.
"How long?" I yelled.
"The day I spoke with the coroner."
"Weeks ago?" I asked bewildered. I stood up and turned to face him. He was nodding slowly.
"And you wait until now to tell me? Fuck, you might just as well have kept it to yourself forever! Let me go on thinking that maybe my husband did something kind or sweet, and that maybe he had some form of hope for us!" Edward flinched and backed away from me.
"You should have answered my calls."
"Oh, but you can fuck me first, right?" His eyes darted to the floor in shame. "This explains everything."
"The ring he had for her, the account, the rabbit...all of it! They planned to leave us in the dust," I spat angrily. "I'm not sad anymore. I'm furious. I never got the chance to divorce him. I feel like this is the easy way out."
"By them dying?!" He scoffed. "This is what life dealt us, Bella. We can't wallow in pity and anger." I frowned.
"You're no better than I am," I said.
"No, but at least I'm trying." I clutched my heart and sat back down on the bed, defeated. There really was no where else to go but up, so I should be able to just let it all go, right?
"Over ten years of my life I spent loving someone who didn't deserve it. How do I get that back, Edward?"
"You don't." I sighed in defeat.
"I guess pain doesn't go away. You just make room for it." Edward sighed and came to kneel before me. He placed his long hands on my bare thighs, his touch burning me again.
"Fuck them, remember?" I rolled my eyes. "I don't know where we go from here, but it has to be more than sex, Bella."
"Does it? Maybe that's all we were ever meant to be, Edward." He groaned. "You can't disagree with me."
"I don't, I was just hoping for something different."
"How can we ever have a future together with all of this haunting us?" I whispered. "You're not over her."
"You're not over him," he argued. "But I can say this: one day, she'll be nothing to me. I don't think I can say the same for you." My heart twisted painfully. I didn't feel weak anymore, I felt cold and alone. I stood up, and walked away from Edward. I put my shirt back on.
"We've made a mess of things," I said. Edward walked to the door but paused. "I will get over him one day," I said angrily. "But I'll never get over you."
"See you, Bella," he whispered. He walked away, with everything I had left to give.
"No, you won't," I whispered sadly to myself. Everything hurt, but there was nothing left in me to break. Realizing that I had no future with Edward was unbearable, but really, where could we go? How would we ever recover from the betrayal of our spouses, and the hurt we caused one another in sadness? I wasn't sure if I should apologize or just let him go. It would always be four people instead of two. There was nowhere to begin, because nothing should have been started.
I'm so tired of being here
Suppressed by all my childish fears
And if you have to leave
I wish that you would just leave
Your presence still lingers here
And it won't leave me alone
These wounds won't seem to heal
This pain is just too real
There's just too much that time cannot erase
Yes, another chapter! And it is a LONG one! It is 70 degrees here in East Tennessee, and it feels fabulous. I just had to post! Thank my awesome Beta, Jules, for working overtime, too. ;) And sweet Beffers for posting last night's chapter!
I bet Billy's attitude surprised some of you! And that damn plush rabbit! Those lyrics are perfect!
I know some of you wished for the death of the cheaters...so there you go! But I am glad that it surprised a lot of you, too! Your reviews were cracking me up! Karma really is the ultimate bitch. Don't worry about our lovers...there is still plenty of story left to tell. Thank you for your love.
Join our group on FB! We plan to post a Chapter 13 teaser on Tuesday... :) xoxo