Thanks for stopping by and now let's see the last chapter, ok?
Many thanks to my beta Songster for her help and any mistake is mine.
I don't own Twilight.
'Lesson Four: Forever'
It's been a month since I left Bella standing there at the dance studio. A month since she didn't say anything back.
I can't stop the way it hurts, even though I had told myself that I'd let her be if she didn't feel the same way about me.
I often smile thinking about our times together; dancing with her at the studio, dinners all over the city, walks during warm nights, ice creams in the park. But even with that, I can't help the times when I feel the hurt of her not reciprocating my feelings.
Still, I think I understand more about what my Mom told me all those years ago. I love Bella, and she doesn't feel the same, but I'm happy knowing that she's out there, moving on with her life, even if that means she'd be silly and teasing with someone else.
Fuck, that hurts.
The good thing about being back is that I was working a lot lately, so it prevents me from thinking about her that much. It is at night when the memories come back, though. Which makes for very long nights as of late.
I've also realized that studying to be a doctor is my true calling after all. I can't do diagnosis of course, and I'm more of a candy-striper than anything, but the rush of the hospital flow, and the smiles you can see when a person comes out of there healthier has no comparison.
From Monday to Friday I wake up early and I'm home by three. It's fewer hours than usual, but that's the program here in Forks since there are not that many emergencies like a city ER.
I've also been able to enjoy the hot days, swimming and taking runs around town. Still, I can't help but think about how Bella would like sitting by the river while we dip our toes in the water or how she'd like to walk this secret path through the forest I found when I was ten.
This will be a long summer.
I get home from work and I see Mom at the kitchen baking cookies. I've missed these times. Home.
"Hi, honey. How was work?"
"The usual, a bit chaotic but alright. I'm learning a lot though." I take a bottle of water from the refrigerator and sit on a stool.
"That's great. Your Dad is really happy with you there, bragging to everyone." She rolls her eyes, but her smile tells me that she's been probably talking about me around town as well.
We talk for a bit while she bakes, and I tell her about college and work. It feels so comfortable and familiar.
I'm browsing through some magazines when, in between two, an open envelope falls out. When I pick it up, I see that it's actually a wedding invitation.
"Who's getting married?"
"Oh, that. Um ... Alice. Alice Swan is getting married at the end of the summer."
My breath catches. Alice is getting married? We haven't talked that much lately, and in thinking about my conversations with Bella, I remember she mentioned the wedding. I just never thought my parents would be going.
This wedding also says that Bella will be coming back as well. At the end of the summer, Bella will be back in Washington.
"Yes, you know Renee is my friend, and Alice was a sweetheart to invite us over. It's actually for the three of us."
Going to Alice's wedding? Could I do it? I like Alice, but being in the same room as Bella could be too much.
"I'll have to see about my schedule. I'm gonna take a shower, okay?" I don't wait for her answer and leave for my room.
The rest of the week I just can't stop thinking about the wedding. Bella will be back. Will she bring someone? Will she avoid me if I go? Does she even care?
Fuck, love sucks.
I busy myself with work and fun times. I go to parties and joke around with friends, but even when girls flirt with me, I see Bella's jade green eyes everywhere I look. I usually go home early.
I look at the calendar every single day, knowing that the date for the wedding is just around the corner. Mom hasn't mentioned anything about it and never asks me about Bella, something that I'm grateful for.
As the weeks go by, I become more and more restless and even though I said I'd be happy if she's happy without me, I can't stop thoughts of her. I go from smiling to getting angry in seconds.
How did I let myself fall for someone that was never going to feel the same for me? I want to be mad at Bella, but I can't. She's not to blame for what she feels... or doesn't.
During all this thinking and sulking, I came to see that I never really closed that chapter. She never said the words, but she never denied them. I had been so hurt that I never gave her a chance to say them, to say something. I know it sounds hopeful of me to think this way, but the closer the date comes, the more I make up my mind that I need to go there and face her. She needs to tell me what the hell does she feel.
It could very well be the stupidest decision I ever make.
On the day of the wedding, I get ready and I'm nervous as hell. Mom says with a knowing smile that she already RSVP'd for me. I want to roll my eyes at her, but the fact that she knows me so well, scares me. So I don't.
I follow my parents with my own car, so I don't have to wait for them if I want to leave early.
We get to the church and I can't help but look for Bella among the guests. I can't find her, but then I realize that she probably is the maid of honor.
When we're all settled, the doors to the back open, and I don't give a damn that we're here to witness Alice's wedding; right now, all my attention is on Bella.
She floats down the aisle in a knee length burgundy dress. The contrast of her skin color and the dress makes her look even more ethereal. Gliding up to the altar, holding her flowers, I can't stop the images of her doing the same in a white dress, walking towards me.
God, I'm such a masochist.
She turns to look back, and her eyes stay focused on the back door, where Alice makes her appearance. Unlike the rest of the guests, I only focus on Bella.
Just as Alice reaches the minister, Bella turns in my direction and our eyes lock for a few moments. It might've been a second though, but it feels just like one of those moments when you feel time slowing down just for you.
She flushes a bit, but other than that, she doesn't look like anything happened. Throughout the entire ceremony everything seems normal, except for times when it appears as if she's turning her body my way, trying to get a better look perhaps.
Everything is a blur and before I know it, it ends. Alice leaves and Bella wraps her arm around the best man's. I want to go to her, but when I make my way outside, the entire wedding party is posing for more pictures, and I just can't talk to her with so many people around.
We all head for the reception, and when we look for our seats, I see that we're actually really close to the main table. From where I'm sitting, I'll be able to see Bella all night.
I look toward Alice. Maybe not only Mom and Renee are the ones meddling in our love lives.
When Bella arrives, once again I can't stop looking at her. God, she looks even more gorgeous than ever. I haven't seen her in nearly two months, yet I can see changes in her. She looks skinnier and her hair is a little shorter. She looks tired too; maybe Alice had her working hard with the wedding arrangements.
Food arrives and I have no idea what I eat. Mom talks to me, and I don't know what she says. I only see Bella. I want to go to her, but she's always talking to someone, looking so happy and free, laughing and hugging. It reminds me of the Bella I got to know, and the longing for her is so strong.
She catches my eye and smiles softly, almost tentatively. I wave a little, but before anything else happens, she's dragged away by a woman to talk to someone else.
I know some of the guests and talk for a few moments with them. I even talk to Jasper, Alice's new husband. He's great and perfect for her, and I notice how his eyes drift in her direction while we talk.
Alice joins us and linking her hand with Jasper's, she tells me all about her plans and what has she been doing. I've heard a little from Bella, but Alice's stories are much more colorful.
It's both beautiful and painful to see just how much Alice and Jasper love each other. Especially not knowing if I'll ever have that with Bella.
Mom asks if she can dance with me and I want to tell her no, but I have no real reason not to, except that it reminds me too much of Bella.
Bella also dances with her family, and I even see her Dad. He looks so much better and happy at his daughter's wedding. I hope that now Bella can go to college. She always talked wistfully about that possibility. She never admitted it, but I can tell she really wants to go.
I'm dancing with Mom, passing couples around us. She's happy that those classes paid off.
"How are you, honey? You know, with Bella around?" She looks worried, even when she's having fun.
"Honestly?" She nods. "I don't know, Mom. It's so hard seeing her today. It's easier and tougher at the same time, you know? All I want to do is touch her, but I can't. At the same time just being in the same room is calming. I just don't know."
"My sweet boy. So complicated." She pats my cheek.
"I think there is more to this situation than you think. I've talked to Renee and Bella hasn't said anything to her, but she said that she sounds more tired and sad than ever, and seeing at her today proves she's right. This affected her too. Look, you have her here in the same room, take the chance and see what happens."
So it wasn't just me that thought she looked skinnier and more tired. I worry; I don't like seeing her like that.
"May I cut in?" A soft voice asks from behind me. I don't have to turn to know who it is.
However, I do look back, and there she is, looking hopeful and a little scared.
"Of course, dear." Mom smiles at Bella. "I'm going to go find your father now. He can't have too much cake." She leaves and winks at me.
Bella and I are left standing there. I hate that it's so awkward.
"Shall we?" I open my arms showing her that I want to dance. She comes without pausing.
Having her in my arms again is so overwhelming, I feel like taking a step back from all the sensations and at the same time, I want to bring her closer.
We start to sway slowly, getting used to our connection.
"So, how have you been? How's the hospital going?" she asks timidly.
"Oh, great. A lot of work and all, but I'm learning a lot. I made the right choice with medicine. I can't wait to start treating people." I smile, I am happy about that.
"That's good. I'm happy for you; I know you'll be a great doctor." Her smile is sincere.
We keep dancing and slowly it starts to feel like us again, except that it's not. We're dancing like we've always danced, but the main issue is still hanging in the air, and it's becoming more and more difficult to ignore.
"You first." I say.
She looks up at me, tears starting to fall.
"I'm sorry, Edward, I'm so sorry. God, it feels like I'm always doing something to hurt you. I've been thinking about that day so much for these past two months. I just-" She's crying now, and the fact that she's apologizing for not feeling the same way I do makes me feel like an asshole.
"Bella, please don't cry. I was the moron here; I should've stayed so we could talk. Instead, I ran." Like a fucking coward; hurt and embarrassed.
She cries into my shirt, hiding her face from everyone. To the other guests, it might look like we're holding each other closely.
I move us softly from left to right, begging her to stop crying. I hate seeing her cry.
"Bella, look at me, please." I can that feel she has stopped, and now I need to tell her what I should've months ago.
When she does, those eyes that I see everywhere gaze up at me. Shiny with her tears and big with curiosity. Her cheeks are flushed and tears are drying on them.
I move my hands to her neck, the pad of my thumbs rubbing gently on her cheeks.
"I'm sorry. I should've talked to you sooner, but I didn't out of fear and now all I did was make us miserable. I was scared for what you'd say, and then I just blurted it without even giving you time to think."
Shaking her head, she buries her face in my shirt again. I can feel her breathing in a steady rhythm while the beating of her heart under my fingertips on her neck, makes me feel grounded. We are calming each other, just by being here, close.
A familiar tune envelops the room and when I look around us, only a few couples are dancing, including Alice who winks at me and turns to her husband. I smile at all the meddling our families do.
"Alice," Bella grunts into my shirt.
I lean back and take our usual position to dance this. Bella smiles and does the same, and we happily start moving our bodies: hips and legs and arms. We move almost without thinking, but easily remember the movements that the melody brings. It's like the music is guiding our bodies, not us following the music.
Every time the three words that sealed our fate resound in the room, Bella turns around and dances around me. I can't see her face but I always hold her hand.
When the last verse comes and I know that it will end with her saying the same words she always does, Bella surprises me and stands on her toes, and kisses me. Sweet and slow and sexy with something that feels so foreign and familiar, all at the same time.
When I open my eyes, she's grinning at me, all sadness forgotten.
"This is what I should've done that day, Edward. I should've let you know that it will never be perhaps. Never. It can't be that perhaps I love you' when it is already a certainty. It always has been." She smiles. "I love you, Edward Cullen."
I can feel and see that she's being truthful and in her eyes I see the same look Mom had all those years ago in her talk about love.
"Then why didn't you say anything before? Why didn't you call me this summer?"
"Because I was scared, Edward. Love is not enough sometimes. It didn't work for my parents, and I didn't want us to end up like them. You have no idea how many times I've wanted to say the words, but it scared me, just how much I feel for you. It's like too much love." She laughs, tears again falling down her cheeks.
"Too much love? There's not such a thing, Bella." I kiss her cheeks, her salty tears on my lips. "And we're not your parents. We'll be okay." And I really do believe that.
"I wanted to call you so many times during the summer, but I was afraid you might be angry at me."
I sigh, we've both been so stupid, making assumptions about each other and how we feel.
Well, no more. I'm making it clear.
"I love you, Bella Swan," I say it because she needs to hear it and I need to say it.
"And I love you, Edward Cullen." She smiles up at me and fuck if her eyes aren't the brightest shade of green I've ever seen.
Home. She is home.
I barely let her finish when I'm spinning her around and nuzzling her neck. Her sweet laughter is all I can hear, the fabric of her dress all I can feel against my hands and her fast heart beating against my chest all that grounds me.
It beats for me, only me.
We don't need Doris anymore, but we thank her two years later at our own wedding reception.
We'll make our own songs and dances from now on.
And that's it. Hope you liked this little journey with ups and downs. Moral of the story? Communicate, you guys. We leave too many things unsaid and assume too damn much.
As I mentioned in chapter one, this was a story I submitted for SU4K last year. The story was written for the lovely Katalina, a pretty soul who was fighting cancer at the time and all she asked for were donations for cancer research. Sadly, Katalina lost her battle to cancer last month. She survived much longer than what was expected, showing how much she loved life and did not give up.
This is dedicated to her and everyone who keeps on fighting.
Thank you and take care of yourselves, ladies.