I'm back, last chap.
Idk how many subtle Pitch Perfect refs there are in here. Like, 3 and a half?
The door dinged and the loud clomp of familiar boots echoed through the shop. I looked up from some blueprints to Garrett's smiling, bearded face.
"Edward! How's it going, buddy?"
"Great, Garrett, it's good to see you." I hugged him and he looked down at the antique-style wardrobe I was designing for a client. He balanced his elbow on the other arm across his body and stroked his beard. He was obviously appraising it with an open mind, not wanting to hurt my feelings.
"Come one, Garrett, just tell me what's wrong with it."
He blew out a breath. "The style on the top header is distracting from the curls around the handle and corners. I don't know who it's for, but if you were going for antique, it's as antique as Marie Antoinette."
"I'm glad you brought it up though; I was in need of a second opinion. It's for an older woman, so that's why it's shorter and wider than classic armoire designs, but I knew I over did it with the top embellishment. Maybe if I just..."
I scrubbed out part of the plan and drew a slightly different, subtler pattern, shaping the top board around the new design.
Garrett nodded appreciatively and clapped me on the back. "Perfect. You've got the magic touch, young Edward."
I laughed. "Shut up, old man. But thanks. A graduated pupil can always learn something new from their old sensei."
Garrett had been my mentor I interned with during college. We'd hit it off quickly, and pretty soon I was working part time there. He liked my ideas and taught me certain ways in handling raw materials for furniture making. I was best with wood, but iron was the most fun to work with. He helped me set up my own business and online store. I'd reached a pretty good stream of buyers for a newbie. It wasn't anything big, but the products were quality work and that kept the buyers coming. And I didn't just make furniture; I did a side job of fixing stuff. Not like a repairman, but to fix broken things and make them better. I'd always been good with my hands. There were still college funds to pay off and college to actually go to and rent for the shop and rent for the apartment above it and living expenses and a bunch of stuff, but I got by. And I did it by doing what I love.
He scoffed. "What the fuck is this, Karate Kid? Wax on, wax off, young grasshopper."
I laughed, because I watched that just last night. Bella and I had gotten into the habit of watching the same movies on our laptops while Skype is going. And sometimes it would get interrupted by Skype sex. Which was fine by me.
"That line isn't even from Karate Kid. Whatcha over here for? You need something, or did you just miss my presence?" I sent him a cheeky smile, and he pretended to smack me in the face.
"Well honestly, I'm bored. The arm chair I'm working on isn't holding my attention and Katey won't play with me."
I typed a work report email to a business man who'd ordered a special rocking chair for Mother's Day. "Fifty-plus year old men shouldn't use the word 'play.'"
"Not the play I was talking about."
I grimaced. "Okay, well bye now."
"No!" he laughed, and then kept whining about his wife.
The chat button pinged onto the screen.
Bella: workin hard or hardly workin?
I laughed. Jeez, what a terrible line.
Edward: I was working, until Garrett came in. Now he's yammering on about his wife's lack of a sex drive.
Bella: dude gross.
Edward: tell me about it.
Bella: Garrett is such a horn dog.
Edward: a Class A one track mind
Bella: a labidosaurus.
Edward: LOL a what?! Hahaha!
Bella: he is just so horny all the time that he has become a large, screeching dinosaur searching for sex.
Edward: I thought a labidosaurus was an actual dinosaur though...?
Bella: yeah but that's obviously what everyone thinks it is at first.
"What are you doing?" Garrett had noticed me not listening to him and stood behind me.
"Chatting with Bella. We're talking about you in front of your back."
"What? Oh, hey! That's not funny!"
Edward: he says that's not funny.
Bella: it totally is.
Garrett sputtered and went red, then laughed. "Okay, it's kinda true. I'm an old pervert, there's no way around it."
I sent Bella a message saying I had to get back to work and I'd talk to her later, then walked over to the rocking chair I was almost done with. It just needed a couple more coats of varnish.
I was so consumed in my work, I hadn't noticed how unusually quiet Garrett was being. I looked over my shoulder to see him watching the floor. His graying brow was furrowed, deep in thought.
"What's on your mind?" I asked, facing my work again and noticing the light had faded when the rain clouds rolled in. I walked over to the light switch.
"You really love that girl, right?"
My head snapped back to look at him, hand frozen on the light switch. I stood surprised for a second, blinking at him. "Uh, yes."
"So... What are you doing here, kid?"
I just stared at him.
"What do you mean?" I asked slowly.
He sighed, like I was a petulant child who just couldn't get it. "What I mean is, if you love her, why aren't you there with her? You're always talking about wanting to go see her, and when you're not saying it, it's on your face. Stop wanting and just do."
"You know as well as I do that it's not that easy. I have the shop and school, and not near enough money for a plane ticket." I finally flipped the light switch and returned to the rocking chair, but stared at it like it wasn't even there. "It's just not that easy."
He sighed again and pulled up a metal chair, sitting on it backwards. He rested his head on his folded arms and gave me a pity look that I hated. "How's Jane? I know you two... You know."
"Jesus, I don't wanna talk about her."
"Hey, I wouldn't be bringing it up if she weren't my second cousin or third niece or something. I could honestly care less about that annoying brat. She has walked in on me and Katey far too many times, the little cock blocker." His mustache screwed up in disgust.
"Hey, what's the girl version of a cock block?"
"I don't know... Fold hold?"
"You're trying to distract me; it's not gonna work. I'm not that old yet. I know Jane likes you, and you took her home drunk. It's nice to know you're not living like a monk, but how would it make you feel if Bella did the same thing?"
"You mean if Bella took Jane home drunk? I don't think she rolls that way."
"Shut up, you know what I mean."
I looked at the floor and thought about it. And it's not like I've never thought about it before, I just don't think about it a lot. Me and her are what we are, and if she chooses to date guys or sleep with them or whatever, that's fine. I know she'll tell me, and I'll tell her about any girls I'm with. That's just how we are, we're open about everything, because we're each other's best friend. Yes I love her, but I'm not going to wait around for her like a lovesick teenager. But if there's ever a chance that comes where we can be more than that, I'll gladly grasp on to it, because even though she's miles away and can be with whoever she wants, there's still no one I want more than her.
"She can be with whoever she wants." I realized I had been staring at the floor for a long time and looked up into his drooping blue eyes. "If I go just to visit, I'm going to want to stay. And as much as I want to see her, leaving her at the end of the week wouldn't be worth it. Because I know, I just know, that if I go see her, it'll start something for us. And then the distance between us will become too much and something will happen and our friendship will get fucked up. Even if I have some super self-control since I haven't already gone running to her like I want to every damn day, I know I won't be able to stand being apart from her after I finally have her. It's just not that easy. God, how I wish it was. But I want to be with her completely, not in some shitty, long distance, through-a-video-camera relationship. You know what I'm getting at right?" He nodded. "I want to... I want to move there. But I can't do that until I establish myself. I'm a poor as shit college student, and I only have this place because you helped me out. I won't burden her that way." I shook my head. "I guess I want to finish school first. And I like where we are now."
Garrett looked at me for a moment longer, then clapped me on the back. He had a real serious face, like he was about to say something incredibly important and wise that I would carry with me for the rest of my life. Instead, he spoke per his usual jackass self. "Well why didn't you say that in the first place?"
I tipped his chair over.
Garrett left an hour later and I closed the shop after finishing the rocking chair. The shop and the Laundromat next to it were under a set of apartments. When I was still living in the college dorms, Garrett's cousin and his new wife were getting ready to move out to a new house in the suburbs. His cousin, Max, was good friends with the man who owned the relocating retail shop they lived above, and helped Garrett and I set up my own shop. I was just starting out, and really had only sold a few measly things online, but they encouraged me to. I wasn't sold at first, because it all seemed very fucking expensive, but two years later I was so glad I took the chance.
I had to lock the shop doors and walk around to the back of the building to get to the apartment entrance. The stairs were cracked and I wondered when the last time the single stairway light bulb was changed. I was concerned that I'd come home one day and it would just burn out.
I unlocked my door and stepped inside, feeling along the wall for the light switch. My apartment was small and adequate, half of it built over my shop and the other over the Laundromat. There was always at least one random washing machine going at all parts of the night, but I didn't mind. The sound was like home, and it made my apartment smell like soap.
I grabbed a snack from the kitchen and my laptop from the coffee table (which was the first thing I ever crafted, thank you very much, and it showed).
Really I should've been working on my paper for school, but it could wait a couple hours. She was already waiting for me when I opened Skype.
I smiled at her in her night clothes. Messy side bun, still damp from a shower, and those tiny blue shorts and low cut tee with a graphic of her favorite band. Jeez, this woman. I suddenly remembered my and Garrett's conversation that afternoon. Those ideals felt foreign to me now. She always did have that ability to make my control wane.
"Don't fucking mock me."
"Ah, and we start the night out strong. This will be fun."
"I only sent you that song because I thought you'd enjoy it. It doesn't give you open season rights to make fun of me. I can't help it if it's my jam." She crossed her arms indignantly.
"It came out literally two days ago."
"There is no time frame for what is or is not my jam! Fuck, I still jam to Good Vibrations."
I laughed, because I've been witness to her Good Vibrations Jam Dance too many times to count. I waved my arms in the air the way she does during the song. "On the rhythm and rhyme that's designed to make your behind move to what I'm inclined to, pure Hip Hop, no sell out, if you ain't in it to win it then get the hell out!"
She sat on her bed and stared blankly at me while I tried to control my laughter. "I am going to kill you. I am going to push my arms through the Internet and your screen to strangle you with my bare hands."
"I can think of better things to do to me with your bare hands."
She gave me her blank look again, then tapped animatedly on her keyboard. A link popped up. It was a picture of a whale saying "I came out of the ocean because you need to stop."
"I saw this today and immediately thought of you."
I literally couldn't breathe. It was just a dumb picture, but my sides were hurting from laughter. "Okay! Just... Ha! I picked last night's, so just pick a movie to watch, already!"
She tried to hold back her smile, but it escaped with her giggle. "Alright, ummm... I'm feeling musically tonight. Did you download Across the Universe like I told you to?"
"I hate you."
"Do not. But I have that other Beatles movie. The one about the guys in a cooking club with broken hearts."
She palmed her face. "I think you mean Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Edward, you have failed me." She looked towards the ceiling as if she didn't know what to do with me. "I love that one, but I wanted some sexy Jim Sturgess crooning in my ear. I guess Zac Efron will have to do. We're watching Hairspray."
"Uuuuggh, Bellaaa. We watched that last weeeek."
"Nuh uh! It was like a month ago. Your perception of time is massively impaired. This is your punishment."
"I swear to God, Edward, I am one step away from forcing you to watch High School Musical. Take the Golden Globe nominated Hairspray and like it."
"If you wanna watch a musical, why can't we watch that one with the half-naked prison women?"
"If that's the only thing you took away from Chicago, then you really do deserve to be punished. Like, incarcerated. You are not fully grasping the point of our movications!"
I laughed at her stupid term for our sharing of each other's favorite movies twice a week.
"Fine fine fine. Just know that you are the only woman I will endure John Travolta in drag for." She looked pleased with this.
I begrudgingly plugged in the USB stick filled with Bella's favorite musicals and pulled up motherfucking Hairspray.
"Oh! Edward! I have something to tell you first!" She was waving her hands excitedly in the air.
"What?" I smirked at her enthusiastic squirming.
"I got a publish date for my book!"
My eyes widened. "Wow! Bella, that's incredible!" Bella worked as a small column journalist, but had been working towards getting a book published for the last year. She wouldn't tell me much about it, saying that she wanted me to get the full impact of the story when it finally got published, but that it was about a man with a severe facial disability who lived in the streets of New York and had a knack for listening to conversations he'd be better off not hearing. One day, he makes the mistake of overhearing one and taking matters into his own hands to try to save a young woman he'd met only once before. She said it was basically like The Hunchback of Notre Dame meets A Clockwork Orange, which didn't make any sense to me at all.
"Yeah, it'll be out next January. I'm so excited! I'll send you an early copy in December, though. Maybe that'll top last year's gift." She giggled, and I glanced over at the silly present on my bedside table. It was a plush turtle with a hard shell that projected stars on the ceiling. I secretly loved it. She named it Shelly.
"My publisher asked me today if I'd be into writing a sequel. I said I'd have to think about it, but I already have a pretty good idea for one. I'd like to add in some new characters, and maybe change the ending of the first to a cliff hanger. It'd be cool to be known as the author that ends every book with a cliff hanger, but then I'd probably hate myself. Ha! Gosh, Edward, it's all such a rush." Her cheeks glowed pink as she ruffled her hands through her hair.
I smiled fondly at her. "You can do it. You're an amazing writer and you know it. But... I have a question about the sequel."
"Well I haven't decided anything yet, but what?" She blinked curiously.
I smirked. "Will I be in it?"
I paced in the waiting room of the hospital. I was too restless to sit down, too nervous to keep my phone steady in my hand as I texted Angela thank you. I called her on the way to the hospital to tell her what's happening, and then to mutter profanities in her ear as I realized that the moving truck would be coming within the hour. She offered for her, Ben, and Emmett to take care of it. In any other situation, I would have declined the offer, but I was grateful. I'd rather have all my shit stolen than be away from Bella right now.
The door pushed open, and I turned around anxiously. It wasn't a doctor though, it was Angela. She hugged me tightly. When she pulled back, she gave me a look that made me tired.
"How is she, do you know?"
I shook my head. "They're running tests I guess I don't know."
"When do you think they'll let us see her? I hope she's okay. No bleeding, right? No broken bones? I need to call her parents." Angela seemed to be the type to worry out loud. She asked the same questions and voiced the same worries repeatedly, and I didn't stop her because maybe she coped this way, until I gave her my keys and she left.
I sat down and dropped my head in my hands. Even though her speaking the same worries I have unnerved me, after I was alone for a full minute, I wished she hadn't left. Being alone to my thoughts, I freaked myself out more than necessary. I couldn't imagine what they might come out to tell me was wrong with her because it hurt too much to think that far ahead, to make it real in my mind. But I had this depressing feeling like I knew exactly what they were going to come out and say, even if I couldn't think it. Scenarios flitted through my mind rapidly, never making tangible thoughts, racing to the tempo of my bouncing legs.
I guess I was just really, really worried.
In these situations, you always wanted someone to blame. I could blame the bus driver for not seeing her, or me for having an apartment across from one of the busiest intersections in Chinatown, or her for running into oncoming traffic to catch a fly away letter. That's what happened, actually. The woman who was at the front of the bus, the one who saw Bella before the impact, told me she was chasing after a loose letter that had escaped the large, messy stack she held. But of course I didn't blame her, or myself. Or even the bus driver. He was probably afraid we'd sue him or something, but I wasn't out for revenge against him for hitting the woman I love with his giant metal occupation. It was only a terrible accident. Just a really terrible accident.
The door opened.
Bella's face screwed up as she watched me eat. "How can you even eat that? It's disgusting."
"I like it. It's simple and delicious." I held up my ketchup sandwich, then took a huge bite of it.
"I might puke."
"Says the girl who dips her pizza crust in Coke."
"You said you tried it and it tasted good!" Her shoulders slumped with utter disbelief.
"I said I tried it, I never said if I liked it."
"You're the worst. Did you get my present yet?"
"No." I frowned. "I can't wait to read it though. I've been amping myself up for it the whole year. It's literally all I've thought about. I can't concentrate, I'm so excited."
She laughed. "You should be! You will be so amazed out of your pants."
"Oh! Speaking of pants and being out of them, you'll never guess what happened. So today – you know how I was visiting my parents? – so today I got there kinda late and I was looking around for Alice and mom said she went upstairs, and so I go to her room and, oh my God, the vision is seared into my mind." I dropped my head and shook it.
"What! What is it!"
I peeked at her, playing it up a little, and shook my head one more time. "I went in and little Ali is making out with some guy's hand down her pants."
"Oh God! That must have been embarrassing for you! And her!" She laughed, rocking back on her pillows. The pixelly screen tried to hide her smile to no avail. "Well, she's not a little kid anymore, so I guess you can't do anything about it."
"Except that it was Jasper."
She gasped. "No!"
"How scandalous! The scandal of scandals!"
"We totally saw it coming."
"We did." She nodded seriously.
"They didn't, I guess. Jasper pulled his hand back so fast I thought maybe her vagina was on fire."
"Edward, what the fuck."
"No, I'm for real! She was so mad, she threw her old cord phone at me. The Hello Kitty one. That bitch hurt." I rubbed the welt at my hairline and Bella peered at it with concern and slight amusement.
"Did you tell your mom? She must have suspected too. Hell, I don't live there and it was obvious."
"I don't know if she knows, but it won't be long." I shuddered. "I am forever scarred, Bella. I may need trauma therapy."
She laughed. "Angela is gonna be a psychologist, she can give you a free session," she joked.
I looked at her closely. "Maybe she can."
She noticed my change in demeanor and got quiet. She would always be shifting around her bed when we talked, and now she lay on her stomach with her face towards the screen. I could see down her shirt, but that's not important.
"Bella, I gotta' tell you something. Um, I didn't get you a Christmas present."
Relief flooded her face, and I knew what she was thinking. Is that all? That's not so bad. She could always tell the difference between my various serious faces. This must have been my Important News serious face, as she called it.
"Edward, that's totally okay. I didn't really get you a present either; I'm forced to send those books out for an audience preview." She waved her hand as if to dismiss me from my anxious mood.
"Hey, no downgrading my present." I smirked at her, then returned back to Seriousward. "But I more gotta' tell you why I didn't buy you anything, or anybody else for that matter."
She lowered her head, signifying I should go on.
I took a deep breath. "I... am coming to New York."
Her jaw dropped, then she smiled that smile that, given the chance, could be the brightest thing you've ever seen. "You're coming to New York? To visit me? You're coming to New York to visit me?" Her excited voice rose a few octaves.
"No, not visit..."
She blinked and her chest expanded with air. Her hand snaked up to cover her heart, as if trying to keep it caged in. "Edward," she whispered.
"I'm moving there."
I waited for her reaction, wary. When tears spilled over her eyes and her other hand covered her mouth, I didn't really know what to do. The smile that slowly grew on her face assured me, but the tears wouldn't stop flowing. They halted my tongue from forming words.
She reached her hand forward to touch the screen, so I did it back. I love her eyes when she cries. Then she suddenly snapped her head up, a look of alarm on her face.
"Wait, what about your shop? You're not leaving it, right? You can't, Edward, it's your whole life."
Over the last year, my business had picked up significantly well, especially after a couple furniture expos and trade shows in the summer attracted a tight knit cult of wannabe hipsters. They just loved my recreations of antique style furniture, the posers. Whatever. They were paying customers.
I smiled softly at her. "I'm getting a new place to set up there. I'll still be selling mostly online, so it doesn't really matter where I have the shop set up. All that matters is who I'm with." She had that look in her eye I've always loved. "I'm tired of trying to stay away from you, Bella."
This wasn't the ideal way I'd imagined meeting Bella's parents for the first time. I probably would have been nervous if it weren't for the circumstance we were in. I didn't really have any room in my body for any other emotions besides worry and anguish.
They came barreling through the doors demanding to see her. Charlie still had that mustache he'd begun sporting a few years ago and Renee was just as beautiful as always, even with lines of distress crowding her usually cheerful face. The nurse led them into another room and I solemnly watched the door swing closed. They wouldn't let me see her because of some bullshit rule about only immediate family or whatever. Assholes.
They were in there a long time. After a couple hours – I didn't know how many really; keeping time didn't seem important to me anymore – Charlie came out. He looked worn out. He sighed, like he was both relieved to be out of that room and like he wanted to go back in. After rubbing his eyes roughly, he finally caught sight of me. He starred at me for a second in unrecognition, then familiarity flashed across his face.
He sat next to me, and like an old friend, patted me on the back. I knew Charlie wasn't sentimental, and I hated myself for letting the sobs break through with his simple gesture.
He sat with me for a while, not saying anything. I was grateful. Words had never escaped me as severely as they did in that moment, and I was as close to content as I could be to not have to say anything to fill the silence. Words have always been Bella's thing, not mine.
Eventually he left to get cheap hospital coffee. I covered my ears to block out the sound of absence.
She said we were on an adventure. I loved how she could play pretend like a little kid and still be gorgeously sexy to me.
"I can't breathe under here," I whispered and pushed the comforter up to let some cool air in. I didn't know why we were whispering, but I guess the darkness does that to you.
"Too bad," she giggled. The phone glowed brightly on my pillow and burned my face. She called because she said she wanted to share secrets, but I think she was just trying to be cute.
"I got your book today. It's incredible, Bella."
"Oh! What part are you on?" she chirped.
"Um, he just met Mary Anne and the blind guy accidentally threw bird seed on him."
She giggled. "I like that part."
"I really like Mac. He's a funny guy."
"Yeah, he's a rye little fucker."
"Is that how you'll describe him in book interviews? Because you are so gonna be a famous author."
"Pssh, shush silly boy." The sound of her shifting around uncomfortably came through the phone. "Okay fine, take the blanket off. It's too damn hot."
I laughed and did so. She huffed. "That sucks, I was so cozy at first. And then suddenly, heat stroke. Boo."
The sound of music filtered through the speaker without her blanket as a buffer. I recognized the song and rolled my eyes. "You're listening to it again?"
"Hey! Don't judge! I know you like it too." She sang along and yeah I kinda did. But I didn't tell her so because I love teasing her.
"Why do you like that song so much anyway?" I was honestly curious. She had it on all the time. "What is it that appeals to you?"
Her voice grew soft. "Because it sounds like magic."
They finally let me in to see her the next day. I hadn't slept at all. I hadn't seen my apartment in the flesh yet. I sat in the waiting room and used it up with all my waiting and ran a rut through the linoleum. I almost broke the coffee machine in the cafeteria and spilled creamer everywhere. I had no money so I had to take another fucking bus to motherfucking Chinatown. I sat at the front this time on the very edge. It wasn't the same driver of course, but I still watched the road. The driver kept looking at me shiftily in his rear view mirror. He probably thought I was on meth or something.
I had an idea.
I grabbed what I needed from her apartment. Rose let me in. I felt rude ignoring her consoling murmurs, but I had tunnel vision. I knew where she kept them. I was in and out.
It took another fifteen and a half minutes to get back to her.
The halls were empty, and I thought bitterly of how it made the scene I imagined in my head more dramatic. This felt like a terrible Lifetime movie, except it was real life and that sucked.
Her assigned nurse was in her room checking her vitals when I walked in. She was the one who told me Bella's condition. I think she pitied me. She kept giving me these looks like she was afraid that at any moment I might snap. For once, I didn't care. She'd be right.
She eyed my contraband and stole out of the door.
I pulled the plastic chair from the corner of the room to her bedside. It screeched across the floor, adding more scuff marks to the ones already there like a tired race track. I wondered how many other people had been in this room in my position.
I set Bella's boom box on the floor and gripped the CD in my case. The cover was lightly scratched from repeated use and I was surprised that it made me smile. I looked up at her comatose form. Her hair was pulled away from her face, still unwashed from her fall to the ground. I picked out a miniscule piece of rubble knotted in the strands.
The scariest part about comas is that there's no way to control it. It is completely up to the person in the coma on whether they come out of it or not. It's so frustrating being on the outside of everything, watching the lifeless life form lie still in her bed, that you want nothing more than to just get in her head and make sure the real her is still rattling around in there. Loving someone is the best and worst thing imaginable, because shit happens in life and you can't get around it sometimes. I wish I could just shake her or yell at her or hug her or kiss her into submission, and tell her to stop being so damn stubborn. Because everything is shit right now without her.
I plugged in the boom box and popped in the CD. It started at number eleven where she left off listening to it last. The soft notes and a lilting voice burned its way around the room as I took her cold hand in mine.
"I've been reading a lot about comas," I told her. "I know people say Wikipedia is unreliable but I think it's the shit. It said talking to people in comas can regulate brain nerves or something and make them come out sooner. I didn't talk that much the first time I came in here, I know, but that's because… Yeah, I don't really have a reason. I guess I was just… Yeah." I sighed and squeezed her hand. In my head, I imagined her squeezing back. She didn't. "Yeah, but then I saw another article about how hearing loved ones while in a coma causes pain, so I'm not sure which to believe. I'm kind of going off movies I've seen where this kinda stuff happens, ya know? 'Cause they're not sure when you're gonna come outta' this, and that's really scary, and I just really want you here with me because you're the only one who can make it go away. And there are so many things we haven't gotten to do yet, like go to the Statue of Liberty like you promised, or go to the ocean, or watch your dumb musicals together, or visit this book store that I think you'd really like, or visit Niagara Falls. And I just love you so fucking much. I… I brought your favorite CD to listen to. I hope you can hear it. I rushed to your apartment to get it. I had this crazy idea… I thought maybe, with it being so familiar and stuff, you'd hear it and come back to me. I guess now I'm thinking that's kind of stupid, because I know you're not just gonna pop right out of it, but at the time it made sense. And I – Ugh, I can't stand this song."
The song playing was really slow and depressing. Bella said she liked it because of its sadness, but I couldn't deal with that right now. I slammed the next key a couple times like it would get me away from that song faster.
The sound of a tambourine and guitar tried it's best to cheer up the atmosphere, and I smiled shortly at the memory of Bella dancing to it at Emmett's bar. And nodding along to it in the taxi. And whispering the lyrics through a phone line. I traced each finger of her left hand with my own, then began tapping the beat on the back of her hand. This might have been the first time I ever actually listened to the words. Paying attention to every shout and swoon of a melody felt of dire importance in that moment. I realized then why Bella really loved that song.
I didn't notice when I started singing along, but I saw my tears mingling with the freckle on her wrist. The tear trailed down her hand and dropped between her fingers onto the bed, creating a dark blemish on the otherwise perfect hospital sheet.
I was thinking how this song might forever be ruined for me when her finger twitched.
I jumped back like I'd been slapped. The plastic chair tumbled to the floor and I flinched with the sound, somehow staring at her face and hand at the same time.
I fell back to her side and gripped her hand. "Bella? Can you hear me, sweetheart? If you can hear me, squeeze my hand. Come on, Bella!"
Hope lost its hold on me as fast as it had come.
The song ended and I pressed the backwards button. Maybe if I… Maybe…
I looked at her face and pulled on everything I had as I tried to unsuccessfully sing along again. I messed up the words and stuttered, but I got through the whole song again. Still nothing.
I picked the chair back up and slumped into it, pressing pause angrily. Why didn't it work this time? I watched her face for a long while, trying to figure out how to get back that moment. I knew I should probably tell a nurse or something, but I was selfish and uneasy. I just needed reassurance that it wasn't my imagination. I needed to feel her.
I pressed play. One more time.
This time I didn't get close to her face. I stayed a respective distance away, the only sign of our involvement with each other shown in our clasped hands. I sang low and deep, not even caring what I sounded like because I knew I sang like shit, looking only at her. And it was the weirdest thing. Sharing this intimate moment with her that she may or may not be aware of, it was like she was the only person in the room. I was disconnected from my body, only serving as a transport. I was the middle man, pulling any and all love that anybody had ever felt for this woman and pouring it into her, filling her up. I was weightless, meaningless, and substantial.
Her pressure on my hand brought me back to earth.
This is the longest thing I've ever written in my fic life so far, and it was originally supposed to be Humor/Romance. I don't really know what happened.
I'm listening to "Fake Plastic Tree" by Radiohead and now "In Your Arms" by Kina Grannis. UNGGGH. SO GOOD.
I REALLY HOPED YOU LIKED IT! I worked my butt off for this fic, for reals.
Thanks to The Lumineers for making me poop this out. Y'all a'ight wit me.
Reviews are better than ketchup sandwiches (seriously).