Misery At Best
She always had a choice. He however did not. The nonsensical journey of Edward after Bella chooses life and ultimately Jacob over him. There was never a doubt in his mind of where he would be, waiting in the shadows.
2. Chapter 2
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You would think that pain would make time innumerable. That the pulsating crippler would make it hard to focus on things like days, much less hours and minutes. But that would be far too kind for someone like me. Each wave of pain has seemed to take on it’s own system making the passing of excruciating days impossible to ignore.
And so here I sit. Day 4,416. I could whittle it down to hours and minutes as well, but even doing that simple math would be admitting too much how insignificant my existence has become. Reduced to little more than massive atomic clock.
Days 1-3,650 were spent avoiding this place, avoiding her. At least physically. I went to every corner of the world. Saw things and people I had always vowed to. Or at least I forced myself to stand under the most magnificent buildings and natural wonders that man has ever encountered. I walked among people speaking languages that have been forgotten by most of the world for centuries. And yet in my mind I was always with her.
Her hazy holographic image tagged along on every one of my travels. In the beginning her comments and thoughts came easily to my mind, she was still so present in every ounce of me. The further I went though, the less my figment spoke. The more flights I took, the more landscape I ran through the blurrier my companion became.
It was nearly ten years later that it became a daily struggle to pull her to me. Panic washed over me. This was not supposed to happen. She was supposed to exist for me in the folds of mind, easily carried along, unbreakable. It was in Cambodia when I could no longer remember the infinite details of her face perfectly. If the crowd was shocked when I crumpled to the ground they did nothing to show it. I tried to find solace in the rock covered path, but it simply turned to dust under the relentless pounding of my fists.
The pain was merciless. Worse maybe even than the initial waves. I was forced to cower in a tiny dirty hotel room and focus every inch on myself on the details of her. There was no relief in the fact that I could remember so much because I could only focus on the things that were slipping from me. I was losing her all over again. This loss seemed worse than the first because it was coming from within myself. No one else was ripping it from my mind, it was off my own doing.
Suddenly I cursed my travel and other feeble attempts at distraction. I should have devoted my entire being to remembering her. I should have become little more than an homage to her and what we were together.
Time then slipped from me as I lost control of that which was most precious to me. I reeled inside myself and fought desperately not to drown in my own panic. When I finally calmed the storm within enough to have steady thought I knew there was only one option.
I had to go back.
Making the decision was the hard part. Once my mind was set it was easy to let my body follow its natural instincts and take me back to her. Doors seemingly opened and crowds parted as I switched on autopilot.
I wasn’t aware of how far I was from home until I was back. The familiar winding wooded roads, the constant sheen of rain in every surface, even the smell. Moss, earth and moisture mixed with something so sweet you can’t help but be lured in even further. Nostalgia wore off quickly, too soon, and I was reminded of my purpose.
Finding her was easier said than done. Despite the fact hat I wanted her to still be here, in Forks, I knew it was far more likely that she was just a little further away still, in a place that I couldn’t just waltz into.
I had fought many internal battles to keep this thought from becoming concrete. That she was with him now. The thought didn’t bring revulsion as easily as raw jealousy. The oldest, meanest monster there is.
Even after the thought was planted I couldn’t bring myself to be what I wanted most, angry. It seemed to be the most fitting, healthy emotion, but I couldn’t coax it out of hiding. In its place lingered the obnoxious hollow of complacency. Because after all, even if he was a monster in many ways, worse than my kind even, he still held on to those all important human qualities.
He could hold her at night without fear of giving her a cold, he could take her anywhere under the sun and not create a spectacle, he could eat her dinners and not have to lie when he said he enjoyed them, he could love her completely without fear that instinct could take over at any moment and end her. Who was I when he was all of those things?
In some ways I was grateful for his nonhuman qualities. His ties, loyalty to his pack of dogs, meant that it would always be easy for me to find him and in turn her. Whether that was a blessing or a cruse is a matter of opinion.
The library was my first destination. I was grateful to have never been there during years past, it made the task of getting by the librarian much easier. The old woman’s thoughts teetered between indecent and self-scolding as she showed me to the newspaper archives. It took longer that I would have liked to convince her to leave me, a fact that made it apparent that I would have to lie more than low in this town.
Once she was gone I made quick work of the old papers, searching for one thing only. Even in those lingering seconds I hoped against hope that I wouldn’t find what I was looking for. Before the thought could pass fully through my mind it was there.
The announcement was simple, predictable. I knew that it would have been against her wishes but forced by tradition.
Jacob Black and Isabella Swan were married Saturday in a private service in the La Push reservation…’
Thankfully there was no accompanying picture. My delicate heart could not have borne the smug look on the dog’s face. I didn’t bother to restore order to the room, simply walked out. I vaguely heard the librarian hoping I would pause to ask another question, but the thought slid over me like water.
I suppose I should have felt vindicated that she waited four years. Selfishly I hoped at least some of that time was spent thinking of me, missing me, maybe even a little regret for good measure. Not that it changes the outcome.
Speed was my only solace. I was halfway down the western coast before I turned back. Knowing wasn’t enough. I had to see it for myself.
Forks had to be avoided, that was inevitable. Ten years was hardly enough to rid the small town of all familiar faces. Mora would have to do. The vague familiarity of the streets brought me a small amount of comfort. Here, at least, every visual piece didn’t hold a memory of her. I would only be haunted in my own mind.
I rented a small apartment knowing subconsciously that one look was not going to be enough. The landlord was quick enough to accept six months rent in cash up front. He imagined I was part of the mob, a drug dealer maybe. His guesses weren’t nearly as dangerous as the truth.
There was little I needed really, a phone book and a cell phone. The rest of the rooms remained bare. Fissures in the dry wall and stained carpet the only decoration. The ease at which I could guess her life brought a little joy. She was still the same person, at least mostly. I called all the bookstores within a 30-mile radius first. Hoping simply for someone who knew her. The third store provided much more than that.
A small shop right outside the border of the reserve. The girl who answered informed me that ‘Mrs. Black’ was not in today, it was her day off, but that she should be back tomorrow. She began to ramble on about her being somewhere with her family, but I ended the call before I heard too much. She had a family. That word held limitless possibilities. It could be just him and her father. I wouldn’t let any further speculation enter my mind. It would be another thing he gave her that I couldn’t.
My plan was in place before I hung up the phone. Tonight I would visit the shop, see where it was she worked. Maybe it would be enough and I could leave. The lost rent money a small forfeit. I chucked bitterly at the thought it would be enough.
Time crept until I could leave under the cover of night. The streets where almost devoid of life as I made my way. It wasn’t until I veered into the woods that the thought overtook me. I would be somewhere she had been recently. No doubt her scent would be engrained in almost every surface. It was almost enough to make my mouth water.
I approached the store from the back, wary of the dim street lights out front. The back door was locked, but the window just to the left was easy enough to pry open. I slid through the opening and scanned the walls for a security system. There wasn’t one. She was too trusting, but then again what could she really be afraid of after me?
After the security system was no longer a worry I released my breath. Immediately I was assaulted by her sent. Having gone so long with it I was glad that no one was around to witness the effect it had on me. My footing faltered and I reached for the nearest bookshelf to steady myself. Memory had not done this justice. Instantly I could picture her before me, reaching for me. The illusion was so real I almost reached back. My strength faltered and I allowed myself to sink down the wall to the floor. I took deep, full lungfulls of air, savoring every ounce of it. The room spun a little as my head swam.
Memories bombarded me from every angle, but I was powerless against them. Time ceased to matter as I allowed myself to believe that they were part of my present, not my past. The clicking of a key in the front door finally broke my séance. I rose quickly and cursed my won weakness. The sun was doing it’s best to lighten the cloud covered sky. I was nearly out the window when I heard her voice.
“Damn lock. The only thing it keeps out it me,” she muttered. Before I could think I was back in the heart of the store, my nonexistent heart shattering my ribs.
It was too much to turn back now. I had to see her. I moved soundlessly around the shelves, I could hear her behind the main counter, fussing with papers. When I was close enough to get a good look, I froze. This was one of those moments. I should turn and leave, but I physically couldn’t. As my head leaned slowly towards her I forced my eyes shut. When I knew that I would be able to see her I opened them slowly.
She was so much the same I was drawn to her immediately, but the differences held me at bay. Her hair was shorter, more styles, small lines were beginning to crease her previously flawless skin. The biggest change forced me to leave. There on her left hand was the symbol of all I couldn’t give her. The journey from her presence back to my new home was less than an instant, it had to be. Any longer and I would have fallen to my knees in front of her and begged, leaded, done everything in my power. I had resisted that, but not I was stuck.
It wasn’t enough. I needed to see her again. Who knew when the cycle would end?