So, here is their much needed talk. Bella has a lot to say, so I hope you enjoy the longest chapter of TM yet!
Thank you to Darcysmom for betaing. Any mistakes are mine. I added some extra stuff. And thank you to my pre-readers!
Bella soon rejoined us, the smell of freesia and strawberries permeated the air. The smell drove the fact that I was finally home even deeper. I missed that smell almost as much as I missed her.
She sat down in her father's chair, arms still wrapped around her as her eyes looked over all of us, her gaze lingered on me the longest. I wanted her next to me, but I knew it was too soon for that. She was unsure of me- as much as that hurt to know.
I offered her a slight smile. I hoped it comforted her in some way. As the silence descended upon us, no one was sure what to say or where to go from here. I honestly think this could have rivaled the first time I brought her home, and how awkward everyone was then. The only difference was that I had so much I wanted to say and do, none of it was coming out. At all.
I hated the silence, but it was better than nothing. She could have left with Jacob when she saw me. Or screamed and hit me, demanded I leave her alone. But, here I was, sitting in her living room and looking into those deep brown eyes that captivated me.
To be honest, I was still waiting for her to send me away, even though I hoped beyond anything and everything that she wouldn't.
Her gaze left mine, her hair hid her pretty face from me as her small hand went up to wipe at a stray tear.
"You look so much the same, but so different at the same time." She whispered brokenly. "I had so much I have been wanting to say, but I can't find the words. I want to hug you all, and keep you here with me, and never let you go again."
She stood up and began to pace, her arms remained around her torso.
"I know you guys will have to leave soon, because Charlie will be home, and to be honest, he is not at all a big fan of your family right now." She swallowed loudly, nodding to herself. "All I ask is that you guys say goodbye when you do leave. That is all I want, just a simple goodbye this time."
And that was when I could feel the walls break, Jasper's levee could no longer hold the emotions at bay. The waves of hurt hit me, drowning me in her darkness instantly. All of her pain, her fear of losing us made me slide down on the floor and out of my chair as my chest felt like it was caving in.
The waves continued to roll in, never stopping.
"Do you know that the day you left me, I knew you were leaving? That you all were leaving? The minute you opened your car door for me when we pulled up to the house and asked me to take a walk with you, I felt my soul... detach."
"I can't even send her anything to calm her. And I am trying everything! It is as if she is pushing every thing at me on to you guys. So much hurt."Jasper's thoughts hit me, just as another wave of hurt came at me. The rest of my family looked like they all wanted to make it better for her, hug her, love her and take away the sadness they saw in her eyes. The felt it all right along with me.
She stopped pacing, her chest heaving as she looked down at me. "When you told me to take a walk with you, I wanted to beg God, anyone, to stop time and not take you away from me." I watched helplessly as she sank to the floor in front of me, her arms trembled as she pulled them tighter around her. Every broken sob that fell from her lips, every tear that slid down her cheeks placed another crack upon my very soul."In my mind, I was trying to come up with any way to keep you here with me. I wanted to bargain, beg, plead. Anything. But when we reached that spot, I saw your eyes and I gave up."
Esme rushed to Bella's side, and pulled her up into a hug, as Bella wiped at her face with the sleeve of her shirt. Esme rocked Bella back and forth, hoping in some way that it would calm her.
"Hush, sweet one. We don't plan to leave you, and if we ever do, we plan to take you with us. Somehow, someway, okay?" Esme said as she pulled Bella's face up to meet her gaze.
"Don't make promises you can't keep. I've heard that promise before, and he broke it! He promised to never leave me in Phoenix." Bella snarled at Esme while she stayed wrapped in Esme's arms. "It was so easy for him to break that promise and leave. I saw the resolve in his eyes. I knew he meant it, meant every word he said to me that day."
Her words gutted me and pulled apart my insides as a sob of my own broke free. My hands frantically pulled at my hair, while my head and heart raged war with one another. My heart wanting to go to Bella and wrap her in my arms. My head was telling me to stay put. It was tearing me apart to see her fall apart in front of us.
"It wasn't my Edward anymore. His eyes didn't shine the same way they would when he would look at me. He looked like he hated me, and wanted nothing more than to be done with me."
I finally took notice of my family's voices that began to fill my head. Every member of my family was shouting at me, but I ignored them, focusing on Bella instead.
Her eyes searched out mine, a determined look crossed her features.
"I don't even know why you are here when you said you didn't want me, that I was no good for you that day in the forest." Her tears cascaded down her face as she continued to speak. "I know you love me, or you think that you love me, and god knows that I love you more than my own life, but I don't think that is even enough now. I couldn't keep you then, how could I possibly keep you now?"
I slowly get up to move closer to her, I wanted nothing more than to be able to wrap her up in my arms and hold her and make her hurt go away. Hurt that I caused.
"No, just stay there. I can't take your touch right now."
"Son, I think we should leave you guys. It seems you have a lot to work out. I don't think you need us here right now. But don't think for one minute that we won't be talking about this later. I want to know EXACTLY what happened on the day you left her." Carlisle said, and I nodded my affirmation.
The fact that she didn't want my touch tore me apart even further. I never knew this level of hurt existed.
Carlisle stood up and made his way towards Bella. He crouched down to her level and pulled her into his arms, moving the hair out of her face.
"We will not leave you, Bella. I know you don't want a promise. So, all I ask is for you to let us prove to you that you can trust our word." Carlisle spoke, before he handed her a piece of paper. "This paper has every way to contact us. Whether it be by email or phone. You have all of our information. I will leave a token with you, okay?" He took off his ring that held the family crest and handed it off to Bella, along with his phone. "You, my dear one, are family. I leave you this ring because you know it goes everywhere with me, that I don't leave without it. So, that is my way of showing you that I will never leave you. And my phone, just so you can contact us anytime you want. And, I do mean anytime. We will never sever ways of communication with you again. How we handled us leaving wasn't the best, and I am sorry for that. Now, we are going to let you and Edward have a much needed talk."
Bella nodded her head before hugging Carlisle tightly. She watched the rest of my family stand up, each of them coming over to her and reaffirming that they wouldn't leave her and offering their apologies. They say their goodbyes, and Alice makes Bella promise that she will come to the house soon.
Once the front door closed, I was finally alone with her. She hadn't made a move to come towards me, or say anything more to me, we just stared at each other, completely unsure of where to go from here.
But my decision about what to do was made for me the minute I heard a familiar car coming up the road, and the Chief's thoughts made their way into my head. I sighed and looked over at Bella. "Your dad is almost here. I should go. Will you leave your window open for me later?"
She shook her head no.
I pinched the bridge of my nose in agony before I quickly stood up and started to make my way to the back door so that Charlie wouldn't see me. I let out a meek 'okay' as my hand grasped the doorknob.
"You can wait up in my room, for now."
I made my way up the stairs to her room as fast as I could. As I opened the door, the scent of Bella hit me full force, so I breathed in as deeply as I could and held it in my lungs before I exhaled. Unlike the time I was here in my hallucination, everything was in its place, but as I looked around I noticed books missing, her stereo wasn't on the shelf like it was before I left. But everything else was there.
The sound of her father opening the front door, and hanging up his belt and gun as he talked to Bella met my ears as he asked her about her day. Her responses, even to my ears, seemed robotic, as if she was trying to make it seem like she was okay, and didn't have an eventful day. She didn't even mention that we were back.
A short while later, she said goodnight to Charlie and made her way up stairs. I could hear her outside her room, standing outside the door, her breaths came quick, her hand kept touching the doorknob and pulling away.
I hated that she was unsure of entering her own room, I briefly contemplated If I should just leave and let her call me on her own terms, but the selfish side of me wanted her with me now.
Her eyes stayed glued to the floor as she came in, the softest of whispers broke through her lips. "I never thought you would be back in this room."
The need to wrap my arms around her and hold her tightly grew, but the look she gave me kept me rooted in my spot.
"I...I am so sorry, Bella."
Her eyes turned to slits as she looked at me, her chest began to heave, as her fist tightened into tiny little balls of fury. "I don't want your apologies, Edward! All I ever wanted was for you to stay and love me, want me, be with me. Your apologies right now, mean nothing.
"What I went through these last few months without you, Edward, has been hell! I had nightmares, I screamed in my sleep for you and your family every night." Bella pounded her chest as she said that, tears streamed down her face, her heart shattered before me once again.
"All I wanted and all I needed, Edward, was you. Only you. I prayed every night, and questioned myself why wasn't I good enough to keep you here with me. I wondered what it was that I did that made you go, besides not being like you. I scrutinized over every second of my birthday party, and still I wonder what I could have done to make you stay."
I watched her try to reign in her sobs, control her emotions, but it was a battle she was losing. She stood up and as confidently as she could, walked up to me and poked me in the chest as fire blazed in her eyes. "You knew exactly what you were doing when you threw back every insecurity I had when it came to you. You broke me, Edward, and you watched me crumble as you played your part. You can sit here and say you're sorry, but nothing, and I mean nothing, can take away what it felt like for you to throw all that back at me. To make me feel less than, to break my heart."
She then threw herself at me, pummeling her tiny fists at my chest as I stood there and took it. I deserved every punch she gave me, and then some. "When you walked away, you took my heart with you and my reason for living. Did you know that I followed you? Called out for you? Did you know that when I finally exhausted myself that I just crumbled to the ground, laid there, and sadly hoped that you would come back for me? That it was all a dream?"
Her arms were around me then, tightly holding onto me as her tears soaked my shirt.
"When nightfall came, I still refused to move. I needed you to come back and tell me that you didn't mean it, that you still loved me, wanted me, needed me. But when the wolves came, and I saw Sam, I knew my world was over, you had truly left me."
Her sobs escaped once again as a new torrent of tears fell, allowing new patches to soak into my shirt. I slowly brought my arms around her, cautiously at first, just in case she didn't want me touching her, then tighter.
Slowly, her sobs began to quiet down as she clung to me.
"I barely slept, or ate. Every day I did what I had to, just to get through and make Charlie believe that I was okay, that I wasn't some heartbroken teen girl that apparently couldn't get over her first love. I must have done a good job, well, unless you ignore the screaming I did from the nightmares I had."
I finally got a glimpse of her beautiful brown eyes when she looked up at me with her tear stained face.
"I often wondered if maybe I hadn't pushed for you to change me, if you would have stayed. But I think the more I thought about it, eventually you would have left me. Maybe not as soon as you had, but eventually, years from now. I doubt you'd stick around until I died." She whispered the last part, angrily wiping away a tear.
"The last kiss we shared, I knew it was a goodbye kiss. I could feel it creep up my spine. I knew the inevitable was coming."
I shook my head no. I didn't want it to be a goodbye, but it had to be. And I regretted that, and hated it at the same time.
As I listened to her, all the words and apologies went through my head, but nothing met my lips. I felt lost on how to fix this. Fix her. Fix us. Because everything she went through seemed like it was so much more than what I went through.
She lived through her pain. I just got lost in mine.
And that revelation hit me square in the chest. It was the truth in its purest form. Her pain took her over, and even now I am only getting glimpses of it. Mine just led me on a ride, masking over the harshest of the pain.
I led her back over to her bed, I had her sit down while I sat down on my knees in front of her, my eyes sought out her's, hoping, seeking forgiveness, knowing it's too soon.
"Before I say anything, I need to give you back something that was yours." I said, trying so hard not to give in and pull her to me, smothering her in kisses.
I got up, went to the foot of her bed and lifted up the loose floorboard. It was odd to be opening it up again, but this time no note greeted me that would shatter me as it had in my hallucination. I picked up what I had put away there, the picture, CD, airplane tickets and looked up at her and found her eyes wide, tears close to falling again.
"These were never mine to take away and hide." I said, handing off the items.
She let out a long sigh as she looked them over. "You truly wanted it to be like you never existed, didn't you?"
It broke another piece of of me to hear the pain in her voice as she said that. I had so much to make up for.
"Look, can I just say what I need to say?" I said, imploring her to just let me get it out. "I have so much buried in this dead chest of mine that I just need to get out. You can send me away after, if you want. Before I begin though, I need you to know I have no plans to go anywhere unless you send me away. From this moment on, I am your prisoner. Yours, Bella. All I ask, and I know this is selfish of me, but please just listen, okay?"
She nodded as she laid the items next to her and pulled her knees up to her chest.
"The day I left, I guess in a way, all I needed was an excuse. Your party was that perfect excuse for me. I was looking for an easy way out, even though, in the end it wasn't all that easy. It was so incredibly hard to leave you, Bella. I didn't want to, but you need to understand that I felt that I had to." I said, before anxiously getting up and pacing her room, noticing that that Charlie had finally gone to bed.
"I know that everything I say from here on out will be a weak excuse to you, because it is. I figured something in my world would hurt you, so I thought it would be better to take me out of your world. I told myself that you'd be better off. I made the foolish mistake of thinking the way I had, that you weren't meant for my world." I looked at her, aching to go and hold her. "But I know that is where I went wrong. You are meant for my world, and I think that is why my leaving has been a disaster of epic proportions. I took you out of a place that you belonged and were meant to be in simply because I was selfish, stupid and arrogant."
I kneeled down before her again, my hands pulled her closer to me. I hoped she wouldn't move away from me.
"I never thought that you loved me as much as I loved you, that you could even fathom that level of emotion simply because you are not a vampire. And again, I was wrong. I think you are capable of love beyond anything I have ever thought, seen or heard before. Your love was meant for me, and it was new, exciting and scary. I think my fears got the best of me. I figured, just like you had, that eventually you would leave me."
She grabbed my hand and entwined our fingers together as she softly spoke. "Before you go on, and I am sorry for interrupting, but I never would have left you, Edward. I was willing to give you everything and leave everyone and everything else behind. Maybe that was naïve of me, but it was how I felt. The minute you saw me in that Biology classroom, you owned me. Heart and soul, you owned me."
My brain and cold, dead heart were screaming at me to just kiss her, but I held back.
"God, Bella, I have so many regrets, especially with how I left you. I knew even as I walked away from you that day, that you deserved so much more. That you deserved to say goodbye to the family you had grown to love. I took all that away from you. And I am so incredibly sorry for everything. All the hurt, pain, tears that I have caused. I know this means nothing to you now, but I plan to show you that I mean it, that I won't leave you ever again. I plan to be by your side until the day you turn me away."
my hands shook as I moved her hair out of her face and softly kissed her right cheek.
"I plan to love you for forever, Bella. I love you, will always love you. And I think, just like you, I loved you the moment your eyes met mine in that fateful class."
She finally cracked a smile, one so sweet and tender that it caused me to feel as if light was bursting from deep inside of me. I truly felt like we were on a good road now.
"It feels so good to finally see you smile." I kissed her cheek again, this time closer to her mouth, her sweet breath as she exhaled fanning my face.
"I truly am sorry, Bella. I'm sorry for everything I said that day, but you need to know that I meant none of them. I had to lie, I knew you wouldn't let me leave. I regret every word, every action from that day and the days leading up to it. I don't know what else to say to make up for this, because I have nothing, there is nothing that can replace all of that. But I can show you and promise you that I want you for forever, that I need you as much as you need me, that I will never leave you. If I ever leave, you will be by my side when I do so. And I love you, so much, my sweet Bella. So much."
I placed my hands on either side of her face and pull her down to me, tears and all, and I kissed her, stealing her breath in the process. Once she got over the suddenness of my kiss, she eventually moved her lips with mine, and it was the sweetest, most beautiful torture. And it was perfect, right and everything that I needed while I was gone.
"That may not have made up for the goodbye kiss, but I hope it does. I plan to replace all of the bad memories from here on out. I am going to fix us, Bella, if you'll let me."
She shyly smiled, and nodded.
I noticed that it was almost one in the morning and that she had to have been tired. I didn't want to overstep and stay the night. I wanted to start fresh and on Bella's terms. She called the shots now.
"Well, Sweet girl, I am not asking for your forgiveness now, but I am hoping that in time I can earn it… I will earn it. And I want to earn it, Bella. I need to prove to you that I mean all that I've said to you tonight."
She leaned forward and kissed my lips softly, lingering just a bit. "You are doing an amazing job so far. Thank you for being honest. Thank you so much for coming back. This, right here-" she said as she placed my hand on her chest above her heart. "- is all that I wanted back. My heart. My home. You are all of those things, Edward."
I kissed her again, simply because I couldn't help myself. I needed to feel her sweet lips one more time before I left her to sleep.
"It is late, and you should get some much needed sleep." I said before I stood up and eyed her shut window.
"You won't be staying?" She asked in a soft whisper.
"No, not tonight. I want to, I think that maybe I should give you some space and time to think. But I am only a phone call away and I will run straight here if you need me."
She nodded before she wrapped her arms around me and held me to her as tightly as she could.
"All I ask from you, my sweet Bella, and this is purely for selfish reasons, but do you think you could write me a note that I could keep with me while you sleep? Just a silly way to have you with me while you sleep?"
I watched her as she grabbed some paper and a pen and hastily writes me a note and folds it before she handed it off to me. She gave me the sweetest smile as she walked over to her window and opened it, the night's cool air invaded the room.
"I love you, Edward, and I've missed you!" She whispered, her tired eyes met mine before she placed another soft kiss upon my lips.
"Before I go, I want you to have these. Please read them. They are everything. All of my thoughts, feelings, fears. Everything. All of those words belong to you." I handed her the three journals before partially stepping out through her window. "I love you, Bella. I hope you know how much. I promise the minute you call after you wake up, I'll be over here in less than five minutes." I gave her one last kiss before I jumped from the window and made my way to the woods.
I turned around once I met the treeline and looked up at her window. She stood there and waved before blowing me a kiss. She closed and locked her window before turning around to shut off the light.
I took my time as I walked back home to the family. I knew we had a long way to go, but we were getting there. I also knew she wasn't going to let me off the hook easily. I had a lot to make up for.
She hadn't brought up wanting to change, and that nagged at my cold heart. I resolved that I would bring it up to her after she woke up later and called me. I needed her to know that if there was one thing that I learned over the past few months, it was that I simply couldn't live in this world without her. I hoped, in time, that she would still want to be changed. I'm too selfish, and need her too much.
I waved to my family before I made my way up to my room, my finger rubbing against the note. My family left me alone, their thoughts mostly shielded.
They seemed lighter, happier than they had this past month. I think Bella did that, and us finally being back here.
Esme and Carlisle seemed overjoyed to have their daughter back. Rose had conflicting emotions, but mostly she was happy to be back. Emmett was beyond happy. Alice was excited, which in turn made Jasper excited and happy.
It felt good to be back home.
I shut my door and walked over and sat down on the black leather couch as I took out the note she wrote me.
Thank you for coming back to me.
I may not forgive you right now, but I will in time.
I love you too much not to.
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