TLS Angst Contest Entry
Word Count: 7,155
Pairing: Edward & Bella
Title of Story: Prevarication
Story Summary: I'll never forget the first day I met him. Wrapped in layers to fight the cold, I got wrapped up in him just as quickly. My life, which revolved around work, found another sun to orbit. My sun, however, would burn out much too quickly.
"I'm not upset that you lied to me, I'm upset that from now on I can't believe you."
― Friedrich Nietzsche
The end of a relationship can be described in many ways.
You can compare it to a house with a fragile foundation - one harsh gale of wind and everything collapses on itself. You salvage what you can and start again.
It can be described as a sturdy rope which slowly begins to fray, until the point where it's too weak to support anything.
It can be like an ornament which has fallen from a high shelf and shattered. You can glue together the pieces, but it will never be the same again. One piece has scuttled away so far it's not coming back. The vase won't be whole again. You can put in flowers, but water will always seep out. The cracks won't disappear.
My relationship ended very differently.
After six years it just snapped, broke apart without any warning. Like a thread trying to hold up a brick. The weight of his lies. As far as I knew the foundation wasn't weak, and the rope was still strong. But the ornament was never mine to piece together in the first place.
I lived in Seattle all my life, working for a small branch of a large publishing firm, waiting for my big break, to leave this city behind and go to New York. To have my name inside the cover of the next big bestseller. The book that you finish in one sitting, then run out to buy the sequel while dropping off the first instalment with your best friend.
It nearly happened. I could taste it. It was in my hands. All I had to do was pack my bags and leave. Instead, I threw it away. For what? For love. For a man. For his lies.
I'll never forget the first day I met him. Wrapped in layers to fight the cold, I got wrapped up in him just as quickly. My life, which revolved around work, found another sun to orbit. My sun, however, had a life span of six years until it imploded on itself.
Damaging everything around it.
Burning me and leaving me with a scar that would never heal.
He asked me for directions, and we walked the same way, talking, mindless chatter between two strangers. He left with my phone number, and I left with butterflies and the giggles that you laugh into your pillow. I was giddy. There was something about him - his smile, his deep laugh which warmed me in the biting cold, his hand on my back as we crossed the road. His name. Edward.
The next day he asked me out to dinner. We talked and laughed until closing time. I'm not sure whether it was the wine or his eyes that made me spill everything about myself. I told him my hobbies, my interests and favourite music. I knew his first name but he deliberated on his last. "Edward. Edward… Masen," he said and then pushed the conversation back to me.
Later that night, when the buzz of the alcohol had worn off, I lay in bed staring at the ceiling. His name was Edward Masen; he was in Seattle for some family business. And I couldn't help the smile that broke across my face whenever I thought of him. But that was all I knew, and at the time I didn't care. I should have, but being the naïve girl that I was, I didn't. I should have asked more questions and not been consumed by the fantasy, the illusion, the enigma that was Edward Masen.
The next few nights followed in a similar fashion - I would meet him after work, share a bottle of wine and take out, and he'd listen to my rambles. I told him my hopes and dreams. My desire to take a small author who wrote something incredible and go to New York and make the world read their book.
By Friday, talking turned to kisses up the column of my neck, and before I knew it my back was against the door of my house, one hand fumbling with the key, the other keeping Edward's face firmly attached to mine.
We left my room for food, to catch up on the news and refill our wine. Other than that, the weekend was spent on my bed, talking, laughing, exploring each other. What made me giggle, what made him growl. What made me bite down on his shoulder and moan.
I didn't think I could fall in love with someone so fast. I didn't know his story. I didn't know where he was going, but there was a part of me that didn't care. I fell in love. And I wanted him to stay. My whole life I followed the rules. I coloured within the lines and did what I was told. Edward's presence liberated me from the mundane. I just didn't know how many rules Edward had broken.
My fairy-tale reached an unexpected halt on Sunday evening. He was in his boxers; I was in his shirt. We had finished dinner, and Edward returned with dessert. He placed it on the table and kneeled down in front of me. It was my chance to choose what happened in the next chapter.
"Bella, I… I don't want to, but I have to go. I have had the most incredible week with you. Believe me when I say I have never felt this way about a woman before." He took my hand and placed it on his bare chest, covering it with his own. "I'll be back soon, and we can have our happy ending. I see our future in this house. I'll fix the broken shutter on the back porch. I'll mow the lawn every weekend and we'll have some kids running around on it. It will be perfect."
I was speechless. It was too soon to be making such declarations, yet it felt so right. But he mentioned kids. Kids. Children. He imagined a girl and boy running around with his green eyes and unruly hair. He saw a future with children he would play baseball with and spoil.
"Bella, I'm sorry if it's too much too soon but-" I put my fingers on his lips and shook my head. I placed my hands on either of his face and leaned down to kiss him.
"We just need to talk, Edward. I need to tell you something before this gets too far." Before I fall too deep. Edward stood up and walked us to the couch. He sat down and pulled me across his lap. I rested my head on his chest. His hands ran up and down my bare legs.
"I used to get these crippling pains and…" I didn't say anything for a while, and he didn't push. My voice became monotone as I remembered the doctor's words when I woke up in that hospital room. Alone. "They said it was endometriosis. My chances of naturally conceiving are pretty much non-existent. I just want you to know that before anything gets too serious." I stared down at my hands, waiting for him to leave and tell me this was the end. My mother's words echoed in my head:
"Accept that you might be alone for the rest of your life, Bella. I certainly don't know any man who wants to raise a child that isn't his own," she slurred.
"Bella," he whispered my name gently. "Look at me please." I sniffled and wiped the corners of my eyes and slowly raised my gaze. I saw nothing but remorse shining back. "I'm so sorry you had to go through that, Bella." I wrung my hands together when he placed a kiss on my temple. "It doesn't change how I feel about you. About us. I want to give this a try Bella. I feel something that I can't run from." I rested my head into his chest and cried.
I told him about everything. My mother. My diagnosis. Waking up after my surgery and learning that they had removed the tissue, but after years of unbearable pain and months of recovery from the surgery, I couldn't have any children. How my dreams of having a little girl were crushed. A little girl I'd name Amelle. It meant hope.
The pain of not having a child of my own to hold in my arms. To shower with all the love my mother never gave. That hurt more than anything.
He left that night. He gave me a lingering kiss, full of promise and an inkling of what was to come. And he was gone. I prayed that he would come back.
Five days later, on a quiet Friday evening there was a knock on my door. I opened it, and before I could say anything, the door was kicked shut behind us, and he was carrying me through the house. He sat me down on the edge of the dining table and pulled back, breaking the kiss. Breathlessly he said, "I missed you so fucking much." He pulled my shirt over my head, throwing it on to the floor; he kissed my shoulder, working his way up to my jaw until he reclaimed my lips again. My hands moved to the front of his shirt, fumbling with the buttons.
It was rushed, hurried; there was a primal need to have him inside of me.
He unsnapped my bra with one hand while the other weaved its way into my hair as he pulled me impossibly closer. My hands scratched down his back until they reached the waistband of his boxers.
"Off. Get these the hell off," I murmured into our kiss. He chuckled and pulled off his boxers and trousers the rest of the way.
"You're fucking beautiful. I imagined you like this every day I was gone, ready, spread out for me," he groaned in my ear "Wet." His gravelly voice sent a shiver down my spine. I pulled him back to me, crushing my lips to his; his hands trailed down my side until they reached where I wanted him the most. His mouth was on my nipple, licking and sucking while his hands teased where I desperately needed him.
"Edward, please…" My voice was a whisper. With his eyes locked onto mine he entered me. I felt whole again, like a part of me had been missing all week, and I'd found it. I'd found it with him. He thrust and groaned, and I tipped my head back from the sensation as he kissed up my neck.
"God, I've missed you," he pulled out and thrust into me, hitting that spot, making me feel everything. It wasn't long before I was screaming his name, and we both collapsed onto the dining table.
I placed a gentle kiss on his shoulder. "I'm glad you're back," I whispered.
We stayed in our secluded fortress of sheets and duvets for the whole weekend. Shielding us from the outside world and stopping the real life questions I wanted to ask him. I didn't want to put a damper on this fantasy.
I asked him after dinner the next night. My head was leaning on his shoulder, our feet kicked up on the coffee table in front. I asked where he lived, what he did, about his family. I learned that he used to live in California but was in the middle of moving permanently to Anchorage, Alaska, working for the United States Coast Guard. Like me, he was an only child, and his parents had passed away.
"So, what happens when you move to Alaska?" I whispered. I was scared of the answer, not wanting to know whether this would be the last page of our story. But equally frightened over the fact that I had known this man for less than two weeks, and the reality that this could be the end really hurt.
"I'll cram all my days off together and drive down here and spend as long as I can. Is that okay? I want to make this work, Bella." I was picking at the buttons of his shirt when he tilted up my chin. He placed a feather-light kiss at the end of my nose and looked deep into my eyes, waiting for an answer.
"I –" I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. "I want to, Edward. I've never felt like this before, and I would be a fool to let this go." I got up and put my legs either side of his thighs and leaned down to kiss him.
"I know it's only been a few weeks, Bella, but I love you. I love you more than anything. The few days I was gone all I could think about was you." I looked down at him with watery eyes, leaning in to kiss him. A kiss of hope, love and future. What I thought was a glimmer of playfulness, I now recall as guilt or even remorse.
The next few weeks passed the same way. I would be in a work bubble Monday through Friday, and the weekends would be just Edward and me. We fell into a routine. A routine I got used to.
I shouldn't have.
I had just placed dinner on the table and walked back out of the kitchen after dumping my oven gloves to see Edward on the floor on one knee.
"In a few weeks I'll start working, but I want to leave knowing that I'll always have you. In these last few weeks I've fallen so in love with you, and I want to spend as much time as I can with you. I don't have much to offer, Bella, but I'll start with my heart. Bella Swan, will you marry me?" I stood speechless. My heart and brain were both running in different directions. But my heart won then. And I foolishly gave it to him.
Now my heart is irreparable. It's in no condition to give to anyone. But back then it won. My stupid fucking trusting heart.
Our wedding was small, just us two and my small circle of friends that had slowly become his. Edward found someone to conduct the ceremony in Golden Gardens at sunset with the backdrop of the Olympic Mountains. We had our wedding dinner at the same restaurant we went to for our first date.
And that was us. Edward and Bella Masen.
We stayed like that for six years. Six blissful years where I didn't know the truth. And he kept on coming back and feeding me more lies. I ate them all up because I was blinded by the fucking fantasy. Little did I know that the rose-tinted glasses wouldn't be removed but ripped off my face and crushed under a boot.
Edward would always make it home for my birthday, surprising me with something I thought he'd spent months saving up for. He was there for anniversaries. Never Christmas or Thanksgiving though.
It makes sense now. It's easier to lie and deceive one woman who blindly loves you than to mumble an excuse to many.
Oscar Wilde once wrote, 'The one charm about marriage is that it makes a life of deception absolutely necessary for both parties.' And he was right. Except Edward had lied enough for the both of us. Why did I not see the holes in the story? Was I too scared to prod and end up ripping the fabric that kept us together? Why did I let myself become sucked into the rabbit hole of lies?
For six years I would see him for a week or two every few months. He would tell me in advance, and I would bust my ass at work so it was just us for the short time we had together. I cherished the two weeks I got. I'd cook him his favourite meals, we would spend lazy days watching his favourite films and make love whenever we could.
He would text and email me; we would occasionally Skype, and he would claim that the coast of Anchorage was a 'fucking nightmare for signal'. And I was content with that. I would pray every night that he was safe, that God would protect him while out there risking his life to save others.
I waited for him to come home the next weekend, but it all ended very brusquely.
It was like driving along the same route day after day, passing the same shops and trees, stopping at the same traffic lights, and then one day looking out the window to see all the shops were shut, derelict and run down. The trees were gone, and the light wouldn't change from red to green. Overnight, everything I knew had changed.
It was Sunday morning when my phone ringing woke me up.
"Ma'am, I'm sorry to tell you, there has been a car accident on the I-5, State Route 14 intersection near Santa Clarita. A black BMW. The last call made by the driver was last night to this number. We're taking him and the female passenger to Northridge Hospital. I was wondering if you could help us ID the driver."
The night before, the only person who called me was Edward.
I gave him his name, and he said the hospital would be in touch with the next of kin soon.
I didn't have two days to drive there, and there was a flight leaving to L.A. in two hours. I called my boss and hurriedly threw some clothes in a small bag, not knowing what the hell was going on.
Why was he in California? He was supposed to be home next week. Since when did the trip from Anchorage to Seattle go via L.A.?
Dear God, I don't know what my husband is hiding from me, but please keep him safe.
I landed at LAX, rented a car and plugged in the address of Northridge Hospital.
"I'm looking for Edward Masen; he was brought in this morning. He was in a car accident."
"Sorry, ma'am. There is no one by that name here. If he was brought in late then go through to the emergency room, follow the signs along the right-hand side corridor."
When I got the same response at the emergency room, I stood there resigned. I didn't think. I bought a plane ticket and rented a car to get here. Now what?
"Look, could you please check again? I'm looking for an Edward Masen - 33 year old male. He was in a Black BMW with a female passenger; the officer on the line said Northridge Hospital."
She replied with the same blank faced no; the people behind me in the line were getting impatient. I called Edward's phone again hoping someone would answer, giving me some sort of indication as to what was going on.
"Hello, I need to talk to Edward. Is he okay? I was told he was in a car accident, I…" I broke down sobbing. I hadn't had anything to eat or drink all day, and coupled with the heat and the fact that I had no idea where my husband was, it all hit me and I broke. I cleared my throat and wiped my tears. "Sorry, I'm just really confused and scared. I just need to know if he's alright."
"Bella? I'm Emmett. I think I might be able to help and give you some answers. I feel I need some from you as well. I'll send you an address. Get here when you can." And with that the line went dead.
I blindly plugged in the address and drove, pulling up outside a Sherman Oaks mansion.
A beautiful woman in her mid-fifties opened the door. I recognized her face - just couldn't place it.
"Hi, I was told by Emmett to come here for information about Edward?" I pleaded.
"Oh honey, come in. I'm Esme Cullen." She pulled me inside and hugged me, seating me in the living room and heading off to get us some drinks. I was confused as to why I was here. Edward was in a hospital somewhere. Too wound up to sit down, I walked over to the bookshelf, wringing my hands together.
There were so many books, ornaments and pictures.
There were pictures of Edward. My Edward. My husband, Edward.
There was a candid shot of a large group of people sitting around a Christmas tree; Edward was sitting with a stunning blonde in his lap, kissing her cheek while she laughed.
With her again in a gondola in Venice.
A group of them playing in the snow outside the cabin. The cabin Edward took me to after we got married.
The one in the middle made me stop dead. I could hear the blood pumping in my ears.
He was standing with his arms wrapped around a beautiful bride on the steps of a lavishly decorated hotel.
Mr. and Mrs. Edward Cullen ~ July 16th 2004.
The date, four years yesterday. Just under two years after we married.
Edward was married. The man I knew as Edward Masen was actually Edward Cullen, someone who wasn't mine. He had a whole life, a family I had no idea about.
I thought of Christmases I spent alone, the vacations he didn't have time for and refused to let me pay for. The wedding I had in a park officiated by God knows who.
Was I so wrapped up in the fairy tale that I didn't see him?
I had built a house on the muddy banks of a river. I built this stupid house out of twigs and leaves. I was sheltered for a while, and then one day without warning, a strong gale blew. And while I tried to salvage the damage, the bank flooded, and everything I had built was gone.
Esme was his mother. And I was the dirty little secret no one knew about. He called me his wife, but I was really the mistress. The one on the side he would secretly visit.
I stood in the beautiful house, and I was frozen. Shocked. Broken.
Edward was driving and got hit by a speeding car. That car hit me too; it came out of nowhere and crashed into the life I built, reversed over my fairy tale and drove off before I could do anything about it.
Esme walked backed in. She pulled out a large photo album and called me next to her. Her son was in a hospital somewhere; she didn't need another shock.
"Emmett should be back soon. He's bringing Edward home. He passed out from the impact but only needed a few stitches and cleaning up. They said Kate should be out in a few days; her leg will be in a cast. Honestly, she's angrier at Edward about not being able to work for a while than she is at the pain. What a way to spend your anniversary weekend, huh?"
She handed me a cup of tea and asked me how I knew Edward.
I searched for an answer that would make it seem reasonable for me to rush down here. I did the best I could. "Edward gave our firm in Seattle some legal advice. He um, he really helped us so I came to see if everything was okay in person. It was the least I could do." I stumbled through the lie. I didn't think, 'I'm his other wife' would cut it somehow.
While we waited she went through the pictures, regaling me with stories about her son. A son she loved so much, who'd killed her off to make it easier to keep a fake wife on the side.
Pictures of him and his dad at his law firm, him and his wife at their engagement party, their wedding and honeymoon, pictures of the whole family at birthdays, on vacation and Christmases.
My big day was a quick affair with eight people and someone I'm guessing Edward fucking paid to conduct our 'wedding'. Edward and his wife, Kate, went to Bora Bora for two weeks. We went to a cabin he 'rented'. Edward said the cabin was all that was in his budget and apologized the whole way there, laying on the guilt. The beautiful cabin, hidden away, just like me. The cabin that his family owned. The family he'd killed off.
He was always there for my birthday, but his passport would give away his whole fucking charade, so we never went on vacation. Trips I could afford, but my husband wouldn't let me pay for. We always returned to the cabin. The cabin where he would likely spend future Christmases with his real family, where his kids would play in the lake. The kids we would never have.
The beautiful memories we created there had now turned to ash.
Edward Masen lived in Anchorage and spent two weeks in Seattle every now and then. He worked for the Coast Guard, risking his life for others taken victim by the cold Alaskan Seas. He married a small town publisher in Seattle.
Edward Cullen lived in Sherman fucking Oaks. He wore designer suits to work and earned more than my house cost, and he was married to a model.
The Edward I knew liked to take walks in the park and spend his evenings watching re-runs of Seinfeld. His biggest splurge was renting a cabin for a few days.
This Edward went speed racing in his Ferrari and ate in the fanciest restaurants. He and his parents owned property all over the US, and his weekend breaks were spent in Aspen.
My Edward was caring, loving, charming. He was also a fucking liar.
When life throws you a curve ball, you try to smash it out of the park, far away from you. Sometimes you miss. Sometimes it hits you straight in the chest.
This time it hit me and left a mark that wasn't going anywhere anytime soon.
I heard the house door open. "Mom, I'm alive," a joking voice called out.
His voice, which was once full-toned, a loving caress, a voice which made me feel at home in my own house, was now a barren, dull baritone to my ears.
He walked in; his beautiful face had a set of stitches on his forehead and a few cuts. It also held an expression of pure shock.
Every time he had walked through the door in the last six years I would drop everything and run to him. I'd wrap my arms and legs around him and cling to him like a raft. I'd hug him and breathe him in. I would send up a silent prayer to thank God for returning my husband safe and sound. I'd then pull back and kiss him; I'd kiss him as if it was our first and last kiss.
"Bella, I-"He was lost for words. For once in his damn life he didn't have a lie with which he could blacken our relationship. Words to sweet talk his way out of my questions. But this was it. This was the end, and I needed answers.
I've made a lot of mistakes in my life. I also have had a lot of regrets.
There are things I shouldn't have done or said. Lies I shouldn't have told. Truths I shouldn't have omitted.
I should have spent more time with my grandparents before they passed away. I should have scared off that boy before he broke my sister's heart.
I should have never married Bella. She was an innocent, beautiful woman who got caught up in my bullshit.
Kate fit into my life. She didn't shy away from the limelight. Her father was putting up half of the money to get our law firm back on its feet after my dad got screwed over. Kate made sense. Her parents were happy, and so were mine. We always knew that we would get married someday. There was a plan. Everything was going to be perfect. And everything was - until I met Bella.
Corporate law wasn't the glamour, money and power you saw on the outside. It was a cut throat world; clients would leave at the batting of an eyelid, taking their millions and your other business with them. One small mistake, one oversight could cost you more than you bargained for.
Sometimes you needed a break, a breather. For me it was Bella.
Kate fit the façade on the outside, but Bella, she fit me. She fit perfectly into my side at night, into my life. I stumbled across her on that biting winter evening in Seattle, and I left the city - leaving a piece of me behind. The few days I was with her, my heart rate would spike. For once it wasn't because it was three in the morning, and I still didn't have answers for a client. It wasn't because I was burning myself to the ground working. It was because I was happy. In love. Content with just being there wrapped up in her. I wasn't fighting to win a case or trying to be a better lawyer than my dad and earn my place at the firm. It was just me. Edward, a man desperately in love. And to keep that love, to keep this safe haven in Seattle, I built a lie.
I was wrong. Bella shouldn't have been kept as a dirty secret while I dined with Kate at the Waterfront. She shouldn't have spent countless nights alone while I was here in my penthouse ordering in dinner with Kate, spending Christmases with my family, flying out to Bora Bora on vacation.
Kate and I were never a true couple. We were more like friends, but it worked. She did her thing; I did mine. It all made sense, and I couldn't complain. And then a stupid kid who had just gotten his licence and a new Cadillac crashed into me and ruined everything.
I should have arrived home to my mother being delighted to see me in one piece. My brother mocking my driving and my father having a go at me for being irresponsible.
I didn't expect to see Bella.
I had seen her cry once before on our wedding day. She looked breathtakingly beautiful in her simple white dress. A stark contrast from Kate's layers of tulle and lace. It wasn't the make-up that made her stunning. It was her smile, the sparkle in her eye, the excitement that was radiating off her. Whenever I left, I made her promise to not cry. "Look at me, my love," I would whisper. I'd tilt her head up and place a kiss on her nose "Your eyes are too beautiful to cry over me. I'll be back before you know it." She was too beautiful to cry, and today, standing in my parents' living room, she was crying. Because of me.
She stood and wiped her tears on her sleeve. Her face was blank, but her eyes were sad. The deep brown alluring eyes I lost myself in for countless nights were hardened and dull. My vibrant Bella was staring at me, stoic.
"Edward, I'm going to make this easy for you. I don't see any reason for you to ruin your real marriage for your fake one. It's funny. I married you first, yet I'm the mistress." Her voice was bordering on hysterical. She let out a shaky breath as I just stood there, motionless.
Her voice dropped to a whisper. "I'll have your stuff shipped here - I mean, I don't think you'll need it looking at this place. I just- I just need some answers, and we're done."
"What? I-" I didn't have words. The reality of the situation hit me, and I sunk down on to the chair with my head in my hands.
"I got a call from a police officer. I was the last person you called from your cell. Which makes sense since you wouldn't need to call your actual wife since she was right beside you. I caught the next flight out. No one from the hospital called, as 'fake wife' doesn't go down on any records as 'next of kin'."
"Edward, what the hell is going on?!" my Mom shouted as she looked between Bella and me.
"Mom, not now, please," I pleaded. I could deal with the fallout person by person, but Bella was my priority. I had to accept the facts; I lied to a woman for six years. I loved her and kept her a secret. She stayed in Seattle while I lived my crazy life in L.A. She could call me every name in the book. I deserved it.
"I'm sorry you had to find out like this, Bella. I was going to tell you. I just didn't know how. Tell me what I can do to make it better. Anything, name anything, Bella." Even as I said the words, I knew there was nothing I could do to make this better. I had hurt this woman beyond repair, beyond pardon, and I was going to try to leave her with as few scars as possible.
"I think you've done enough, Edward. Let's not cheapen what we had by offering me money. Even if I was your wife and we separated, I wouldn't want a single penny from you. And I doubt there's much to Edward Masen's name since he doesn't fucking exist. He's no Edward Cullen - lawyer by day, compulsive liar by night. It's funny you're throwing money at me now. What happened when I asked for one week of your life to go on vacation? You played the guilt card and said you couldn't afford it. I gave up since my HUSBAND worked hard saving people's fucking lives for the COAST GUARD! I didn't want to hurt his pride by paying for us. Vacations, I don't really care about. The Christmases I spent alone, I can deal with, but I gave up my dream to be with you!" She closed her eyes, and two tears made their way down her face. I had lost the right to pull her into my arms and dry them. I now had nothing to offer but my words and apologies.
"Bella, I'm sorry. If there's anything I can do-"
"It's funny we spent so many nights talking about my ambitions and how you would always support me. It was my blind fucking love for you that meant I missed my one shot. Those three books on your mother's bookshelf, have you heard of them?" I knew them. Mom had been blathering on about them for months.
"They're amazing. The first one was on the bestseller list for months. The whole trilogy was genius," Mom said to me, her voice devoid of any emotion. I wasn't surprised. She was expecting to welcome her son home, not be faced with his bullshit.
"I found this book. My publishing house knew it was going to be something big, so we sent it off to the big guys in New York. I was supposed to follow the author and enjoy my big break. And what did I do? I said no to the biggest opportunity I'll ever get, and I stayed in Seattle. Why? Why, because I barely saw my husband; I didn't want him to travel any more than he already did to see me! My fucking husband. The man I thought was risking his life every damn day for others was actually living this fucking lush life." She was broken. I did that to her. I ripped her of her dream. She believed the lie and gave up on the one good thing in her life, because that good thing sure as shit wasn't me. Would I have done that? Would I have given up my job to come and live with her? The prestige of our firm, the pay check that came with it? Inside I was crumbling. The more she spoke, the more I felt like a hollow shell.
I was wrong, and I was sorry. But it was too late for that now.
I just stared at the man who had been my everything for six years. He looked remorseful. He looked guilty, but it was all six years too fucking late.
"Goodbye, Edward. I hate what you've done to me. I hate that you lied to me for six years. I really fucking hate you. I don't understand why you would go through so much effort for just two weeks of sex every now and then, put up this charade of love, remembering to text me to keep me interested. Hell, I'm sure there are plenty of willing women. Why not just go to Vegas? Its closer; the women are prettier and easier. A good no-strings-attached fuck. Why all the effort to break this average looking girl's heart?"
"Bella, it wasn't just about the sex!" His voice was raised, and he stood up and began pacing." I fucking loved you! I couldn't just let go of what we had. It just got out of hand."
I scoffed at his words "Edward, we're finished. Keep your lies to yourself. Even if you did love me, you lied. You fucking broke me. I just- I just want to know why. Why the hell did you think it was okay to ruin six years of my life?!" I shouted.
"I loved you, Bella. I really did. I still do. You were a break from the hectic life I had here." He waved his hands, gesturing to the room around us. I was a break, a reprieve until he had to return to reality.
"I can't even- Can you hear yourself?! You were the man I wanted to raise kids with and grow old with. You were everything. And what was I?! A weekend R&R for when your rich little life got too tough?!"
"I'm sorry, Bella. I really am." He looked me in the eyes for the first time today. I saw a broken man looking back. He looked older, his shoulders caved in.
"Goodbye, Edward. I had a wonderful six years with you; it hurts to end it like this. I hope you have a great life."
And that was it. In less than twelve hours my happy marriage crumbled to what it really was. Nothing. We ended six years with a conversation that didn't even last twenty minutes. It's funny how things unravel so quickly when they are woven together by a thread of lies.
I turned to leave when I saw small head of blonde curls run past me into Edward's arms. He picked her up and flung her in the air, catching her and hugging her securely to his chest. Her childish giggles filled the room. He placed loud kisses on both of her cheeks.
"Daddy you're back! I missed you and Mama! Next time can I come wiv you? And when's Mama coming home? I made her a picture, and I need her to help me wif your birthday present." She had her tiny hands on either of side his face as she babbled on.
"Of course you can, sweetheart. How about you go and find your Uncle Emmett, and I'll come and join you two in a bit, okay?" He kissed her cheek again and placed her on the floor.
As she walked past me, she looked up and smiled a toothy grin, all chubby cheeks and Edward's green eyes. "Hello, Daddy's friend." She waved at me and walked off. She was beautiful. A little angel. The perfect couple's perfect child.
Just when you think you couldn't hurt any more. When you thought you were finally numb and couldn't feel anything. Your wounds reopen; you don't just feel hurt or bruised. You feel crushed.
It didn't matter that my broken fucking body couldn't have children. It was an added bonus for him. I wrapped my arms around myself, no longer able to control the sobs that ripped out from within me.
"When you found out that I couldn't have kids you hit the jackpot didn't you? A stupid, oblivious woman on the side who you couldn't get pregnant." I cried. Edward walked towards me and placed a hand on my arm. I jerked back. "Don't touch me. Do not fucking touch me." I stepped back from him. I could feel the bile rising in my throat.
"It all worked out so well for you. You must be the envy of every fucking man out there, Edward Cullen. Money, a stunning wife, a beautiful child, and a stupid whore on the side that couldn't get pregnant." Any restraint I had was long was gone.
"Don't call yourself that, Bella, please. I'm begging you."
"Well you've made damn sure that I feel that way!"
I saw Esme stand up from where she had been silently watching. "I'm going to go and check on Amelle. I'm sorry, Bella. I didn't raise my son to be like this. I-" her voice died in the her throat, with tears in her eyes she left.
Amelle. He'd named his daughter Amelle.
"I'm sorry, Bella." he reached out to comfort me.
"Stop. Just stop. I wonder if your wife will ever know that your mistress picked out your child's name. " I had to get out of there. The contents of my empty stomach were about to resurface. "You're a fucking bastard, you know that? I didn't think it was possible for me to hate someone so much. I just hope and pray that mine is the last heart you break so carelessly."
We used to have long goodbyes, kisses inside the house, by the door, against his car. I would stand and watch until the car became a fleck of dust in the distance.
Today, I didn't look back. I jumped on a plane and went back home. To my empty life before a stranger in a suit waltzed in and ruined it.
My house suddenly felt less familiar; I didn't feel comfortable standing outside my own home. A house that I had put so much work into. The butter yellow of the walls didn't seem so bright; the tulips I planted last week had lost their vibrancy. Their saffron yellow and crimson red looked muted, dull, lifeless.
Being alone was a painful nightmare; especially when you're shaken awake from a dream. A stranger asked me for directions; I fell in love with him in a week. He claimed to love me for years, and I would spend the rest of my life trying to forget him.