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Misery At Best

Summary:
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.


Notes:


7. Chapter 7

Rating 5/5   Word Count 2650   Review this Chapter

“You could leave you know. You don’t have to wait,” Marley insisted. I simply shook my head and pushed the wet rag across the top of another table. Not that I really wanted to be wiping tables at this seedy place, but I couldn’t bring myself to leave. Not the diner, but her.

It was way past something I could control anymore. Escalating to a level that I had to admit bordered obsession, but then again she liked me so I guess she didn’t mind. She should mind, would, if she knew what occupied my mind the few moments she didn’t. Because even if she was consuming most of my thoughts, my mind, the diner was still just across the street from my original object of obsession.

Catching glimpses of Bella was part of the background of my day. Not played down in any way, but made less frequent by the sheer fact that the gaping hole she had left in me kept me at bay.

‘Tiredness fuels empty thoughts

I find myself disposed

Brightness fills empty space

In search of inspiration

Harder now with higher speed

Washing in on top of me’

It would be pointless to try not and smile as her thoughts brought me back to center once again. It’s selfish really, the way she comforts and grounds me constantly and I give nothing in return. Slowly she is claiming a piece of me as her own and I am powerless against it. Everything thing I thought would bring her to ruins in my mind has only allowed her to creep inside of my void, pushing her image into me so solidly there is little hope of it ever fading.

I wish I was stronger. I wish that my first attempt at love hadn’t weakened me to this point. That I could offer her the same resistance and unselfishness that I gave Bella, but I can’t. This needy, selfish version of myself is too willing to draw her in and allow her to patch up my broken pieces.

Not that I harbor any illusion that I will ever be fully healed. Bella isn’t the kind of thing that anyone ever heals after. The impression of someone that profound, that momentous could never be sewn up and called new. But, maybe just maybe, someone else might want me.

Me, the obvious monster I am. It’s asking a lot. To want not just one chance at life altering love, but possibly two. I am too greedy for my own good. And yet I can’t help but hope I might get that chance.

“You ready or did you want to rub the varnish off that table?”

I turned to face her, not prepared to have her so close. She smiled at my sudden movements. I looked down at her, so close to me. Just having her that close caused my nerves to stand on end, Every breath, every twitch of her body sent me over the edge. I shouldn’t have allowed myself to get lost in my own thoughts. Her body was so close to mine that I could feel the heat coursing off of her.

I waited for her to pull away, but she simply stared up at me. It gave me the opportunity to stare without shame. I let my eyes run over every plane of her face. The subtle roundness of her cheeks, the small curve of her nose, good God I was screwed. Everything was endearing, even the things that shouldn’t have been.

‘Every little thing I do I do for you

With every little think I thought of you

And I try so had not to notice

I try so hard not to care

I try so hard not to show this side of me’

The words running through her head catch me off guard and I was so wrapped up in their simplicity that I almost didn’t notice her raise up on her toes and made the distance between us even smaller.

Her breath fanned up at me and I felt my eyes slide closed involuntarily. I clenched my fists at my side and resisted every natural urge I feel to pull her towards me and just taste her. When her lips brushed across mine my eyes shot open. I waited for her to pull back, to blanche at the iciness of the touch, but she only breathed a soft ‘oh’ against my lips, driving me even more insane. There was nothing urgent or even pressing about the light contact. In fact I wished for more before she had even settled back down on her heels.

She looked up at me with hooded eyes and smiled.

“Couldn’t resist,” she stated. I was till trying to calm my nonexistent heart. I had almost forgotten what that felt like. To have something so warm and so soft pressed against me. My fingers released their hold and I moved them slowly trying to bring feeling back to my extremities. I opened my mouth and sucked in a ragged breath, not sure if I could have gone on without one.

“I’m glad you didn’t,” I breathed. She laughed then, loud and unashamed. The noise filled the empty diner, bouncing off the walls and coming back to me over and again. She would kiss me. It suited her definition so well. Never thinking too long about anything, going with her gut without regret or shame.

If it wasn’t determined before that moment, it was etched in stone now. I was screwed. There was no possible way to resist her ever again. I licked my lips slowly, drawing in her taste. Of course it couldn’t be anything but mouth watering, but its uniqueness caught me off guard.

I took her hand quickly, unwilling to let me have the upper hand in all areas and pulled her with me outside. The cool air outside rushed over me and I smiled at the clarity. She had such a way of clouding my mind. I glanced up at the cloudless sky for a moment and my eyes settled on the bookshop across the street on the way down.

Suddenly I felt my whole body quake at the separation of the two sides. Emotions that lay quite for years now raged inside of me, battling, taking sides and destroying me in the process.

“Are you ok?” I couldn’t dismiss the concern in her voice, but the need to be away from either side was the only chance for relief.

“I’m fine, I think I’m going to walk over to the pharmacy and pick something up,” I lied. Her eyes flickered as she caught the lie, but accepted it none the less.

“Do you want me to drive you?” I could tell by the tone of her voice that she expected me to refuse. She shouldn’t know me that well. It was only going to lead to pain.

“I’m fine. I’ll see you later,” I replied. She nodded and pulled her hand from mine. I had forgotten it was there. As she drove away I felt the need to chase after her, ask her to stay with me, but instead I ran.

Instantly the only place I wanted to go appeared in my head. I knew I shouldn’t be going back there, that I should avoid the memories, the ache it would no doubt bring, but I needed it. I needed to be somewhere where I had at least at one time felt grounded.

As I neared the clearing I slowed and just stared up at the house. It had been the background of my best years since my change, the most significant at the least. I walked up the steps slowly, not quite ready to face the emptiness that would be waiting for me inside. The door was unlocked and creaked slightly as I pushed it open.

It looked so much the same. The open space unhindered by furniture. I neared the ghostly silhouette of the piano and ran my hand over the dust covered cloth.

“It’s been a long time since you directed a decision to me.”

I smiled as the familiar voice echoed behind me.

“I could apologize, but we both know I don’t have enough words in me to make up for my behavior the last few months,” I answered. She laughed and I loved the way that familiar sound brought me peace.

“You were never one of few words Edward, I think you’d be surprised,” she joked. I turned towards her then and took her in. She hadn’t changed, that was beyond us, but it was like relearning her all over again.

“I am a complete screw up Alice and I can only hope that you’ll forgive me one day,” I sighed. It took her less time then it did for me to speak to cross the space between us and throw her arms around me.

“Already forgiven,” she stated. I relished the ability to return the gesture without worrying about the consequence. Her cold, hard body brought little relief when I still craved the soft warmth that I had only recently relinquished. As Marley clouded my thoughts once more I sighed and pulled away.

“How long have you known I was here?” The question was redundant, I knew that my parents wouldn’t have let any time pass when they didn’t know where I was, how I was, and I was never malicious enough to keep that information from them.

“For awhile. Jasper and I have been touring the west coast for a couple of weeks. I was hoping you might let me see you.” I winced as her words bit at my conscience. The fact that my family no longer felt they could approach me without permission was only one sign of the recluse I had allowed myself to become.

“And?” I probed. I didn’t have to ask if she knew why I was here or what had been happening. There was no doubt she had been watching my future unfold with interest, even Alice didn’t have that much self control. She wetted her lips unnecessarily, a nervous habit she had developed from years of pretending to be human.

“It’s quite the situation you’ve gotten yourself into,” she said carefully. I sunk to the cloth covered piano bench and cradled my head in my hands. I already knew that much.

“Are you sure about this other girl Edward? This Marley? I mean, it could just be wishful thinking, being so close to Bella again and…”

She didn’t get a chance to finish before the growl built low in my throat and burst from me. I looked up in time to see the shock on her face. I should have guessed that she would try and rationalize Marley away. She, after all, was the biggest Bella fan in my family.

“You think I would put myself through that hell all over again just because I can’t have Bella?” I demanded. The words were rough, but I couldn’t help it. If anyone wanted the hold Marley had over me to be a figment of my lonely, it was me.

Alice sighed heavily and sunk to the floor flawlessly, crossing her legs and shaking her head.

“It just seems like too much of a coincidence. To have her show up when you come back her. I just don’t want to see you go through that again,” Alice whispered.

“I felt the same way. I’ve spent more nights than I can count trying to write her off as wishful thinking, but I can’t Alice,” I explained. She nodded even though confusion still riddled her face.

Suddenly it overflowed. Ten years of not really speaking to anyone but myself and weeks of being torn apart at the seams. I couldn’t stop the words as they poured out of my mouth. Words detailing my ten years of isolation and pain and then moving on to my return to Forks. I talked for what seemed to be an endless amount of time and yet Alice sat and listened. She nodded and offered the proper responses.

It felt like laying down a heavy load I had been carrying without knowing. My words slowed and softened when I began to detail Marley. Alice was already familiar with my affection and draw to Bella. She had been there as it unfolded, but I was careful with my words as I introduced her, in a sense, to Marley.

I didn’t want one to eclipse the other because apart from the fact that they were both human and had the unfortunate luck of attracting my attention and affection, there was little else that joined them. She seemed particularly interested in Marley’s mental soundtrack, even stifling a laugh. Alice’s face softened as I finished, her features easing into a small smile.

“I shouldn’t have doubted you. You’ve never been one to create things in your mind. Always so serious, so sure.” Her voice trailed off at the end and I watched her eyes glaze over like they did when she was seeing something beyond the rest of us. I watched her, amazed at how much more I had missed her, my family, than I thought.

Maybe isolating myself wasn’t the best thing. The relief I felt in just these moments with Alice could have helped the void, possibly.

“Anything good?” I asked as she finally shook her daze. She smiled sadly at me.

“You’ve kept me busy you know. Constantly changing your mind, your devotion, it makes everything go a little crazy,” she answered. I resisted demanding that she tell me every version, every possibly scenario. She wouldn’t do that I knew.

“Have any advice? Any one future I should try and avoid at all costs?” I hoped keeping things light would allow her to make some of my hard decision for me. Help create sense out of the war that raged inside of me.

“In the last day or so you seem to be making a more consistent set of plans. There aren’t as many contradictions any more, not as many possibilities,” she stated. I gritted my teeth. Why did she have to be so damn illusive all the time? She stood slowly and wiped the dust from her pants.

“It’s not going to end perfectly like a package with a bow on top Edward, but I think you already know that. And I know that you’re not ready for all of us yet, but you will be soon. Don’t hesitate to ask when that time comes.”

She threw her arms around me once more and was gone before I could draw any more out of her. I thought that the emptiness would be worse, but she had filled a hole without empting it once more. It was more than enough to know that that part of me would be whole again soon.

It was only after she left that I realized that the sun had risen. The little filtered into the airy house, touching almost every surface. I reached my hand out into the light and watched as it reflected the sun creating small rainbows on the walls. Such an appealing feature for such a loathsome creature.

There were only a few moments to enjoy the sun before I alternately loathed it. I wouldn’t be able to go into the diner today, three full walls were windows and my usual table would be bathed in the uncharacteristic light. A heavy sigh escaped me as I leaned my forehead against a window. Damn the sun.