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The Northern Downpour Sends It's Love

Summary:
When Edward leaves, Bella is left broken and bleeding. It's been six months since that fateful birthday, and still there has been no word of the Cullens. After perusing a yard sale and purchasing six glass bottles with no idea what to do with them, she returns home and shuts herself into her room. She finds a single loose floorboard and pries it up to find a box of hidden treasures she thought had been lost forever... Takes place mid-New Moon, after Edward leaves.


Notes:


1. Chapter 1: Empty Glass Bottles

Rating 5/5   Word Count 1780   Review this Chapter

“My tears run down like razorblades
I know, I’m not the one to blame
It’s you.
Or is it me?

And all the words we never say
Come out, and now we’re all ashamed.
And there’s no sense in playing games
When you’ve done all you can do.”

--“It’s Not Over” by Secondhand Serenade

BELLA

I drive down the winding road through the sheeting rain, staring numbly out the windshield. I’m not sure where I’m going at the moment, but sometimes I just need to get out of the house. I need to get away from the reminders, shoving needles into my already wounded heart.

I pass a yard sale, and momentarily think about stopping. Maybe I could find something for Charlie, I think, and finally decide to make a U-Turn and check it out. I pull up behind another car and step outside of my warm truck. The slamming of the door behind me echoes in my ears dully.

Stepping into the shelter of the small tent above the tables, I realized that I was at Tyler Crowley’s house. He waves slightly from behind the table, and his mother turns her head to whisper into his ear. He watches me warily, as if I might explode. Maybe I will.

I peruse the small selection of items, skipping over a crate filled with old books. I hadn’t read a book in what seemed like forever – and it had been forever – they collected dust on my bookshelf. My eyes skip over the box of eight track tapes, and another with CD’s, and then another with old vinyl records. I hadn’t listened to music in a while, either.

I looked over a few coffee mugs, faking interest. Charlie wasn’t much of a coffee drinker, and neither was I. I examined a few old pots with more enthusiasm – though I wasn’t ever very enthusiastic these days – imagining what I could cook for supper in them.

Some thing to the right of the pots caught my eye then. There were half a dozen of them, about the height of beer bottles, but clear with cork tops. I set down the pots, immediately losing interest. They reminded me of the kind of bottles that people in movies – though I hadn’t watched a movie in months – would use to send messages in…

“How much for the bottles?” I asked Tyler in my dull voice.

“Go ahead and take them, Bella. We’re about to pack up and I don’t think anyone’s going to buy them. You can have them.” Tyler replied, closing up the box of books and reapplying the tape.

“No, let me pay for them,” I argued in a weak attempt to be humble.

“Just take them, Bella, if you really want them. It’ll be one less thing to stuff back into the garage,” he insisted.

“Thank you,” I mumbled, looking down at the squishy earth.

“Want me to bring them to your truck? They’re pretty heavy,” he offered.

“No thanks – I can manage,” I finished, picking up the box of bottles in my arms. I struggled under the weight but did not feel pain – I was beyond feeling any other kind of pain at this point –; he was right, they were heavy.

I climbed into my truck and dropped them onto the passenger seat. Gunning the deafening engine to life, I sped away down the rain slicked roads that led home.

I hurried in the doorway, clutching the box of bottles in my arms and shielding them from the rain. The door was unlocked – Charlie was home. I dodged him and headed for the stairs.

“What ‘cha got there?” He asked suspiciously. Charlie was always suspicious these days, always trying to get me to say something, trying to get me to react.

“Just some old bottles,” I explained in a rush, using as little words as possible. “The Crowley’s were having a yard sale.”

“Oh,” was all he replied. Gratefully, I hurried up the rest of the stairs and to my room. I locked the door behind me.

I didn’t look around my room as I entered. Too much of it was a reminder – the window where he used to sneak in at night, the bed where he used to sing me to sleep, and the closet where I hid the stereo and my books and CDs. I sat down on the floor cross-legged, and placed the bottles in front of me.

I examined one of the bottles, turning it over in my hands and running my fingers along the smooth, cold glass. Something poked against my thigh and I shifted uncomfortably against the loose floorboard. It creaked under me.

The glass reflected the light above dimly, and the paneled floor beneath me. Something wasn’t right. I peered into the glass at the spot where the floor was reflected. Something caught the light in the crack of the floorboard.

Placing the bottle back into the box with the other five, I scooted to the side and turned to examine the loose board. I ran my fingers over the edge that stuck up slightly, and found a dent that I could just fit my finger into…

Using my nails, I pried at the board until it came loose. One of my fingertips caught the sharp edge and bled slightly, but it did not hurt.

I pulled the board up and pushed it aside.

Nestled into the pink fiberglass insulation was a square cardboard shoebox. I’d never seen it before in my life and, curiously, I pulled it out into the light.

I lifted the top and let out a large breath of air in a gasp.

On the top was a folded square of paper, addressed to me. I set that aside, deciding that I would read it after I finished looking through the rest of the box. Beneath it was a blank CD case with a round silver disk inside. I opened it, but made no sense of the blank disk within.

Beneath the CD were several pictures, all facing down. I flipped the stack over, and winced at the sudden stab of pain in my chest.

It was a perfect portrait of him, a perfect replica of his face, smirking at me from Charlie’s kitchen.

I was suddenly gasping for air, like I couldn’t breathe. Like I couldn’t fill my lungs fast enough. I felt the tears stinging at my eyes and then streaming down my face in torrents.

After all the time I’d taken to repress the memories of him – repress, but not forget – they were rushing back with painful clarity.

I placed that in the back of the stack and looked at the next picture.

It was the one of us together, standing in front of the same wall as in the last picture. His face was hard and cold in this one, with a smile that didn’t quite touch his eyes. I was beside him, faking a cheerful smile just days before the end. The end of everything.

I choked back a sob and flipped to the next picture.

This one was him and Charlie sitting in front of the TV. His face was a cold mask as he pretended to watch the game that was on. Charlie had just looked up, reacting from the flash, with his mouth agape and eyes wide with surprise.

Slowly, I placed the three pictures back in the box, hands shaking.

I picked up the blank CD, and knew what it was instantly. I put it back in the box.

I looked at the white rectangles of paper – plane vouchers to Florida – and put them on top.

My clumsy fingers fumbled for the note. My eyes took in my name written in that neat, perfect hand on the front.

Dearest Bella,

If you are reading this, I’m long gone. I never meant for you to find it, but you’re far more intuitive than I was led to believe. Please know that I didn’t hide these things from you to hurt you, but to protect you. I wanted to protect you from the world you so didn’t deserve to be threatened by.

I know what I said when I left you just minutes before I wrote this note. I know that I lied to you when I said I didn’t want you. I can’t even imagine how, after all the times I’ve told you I loved you that you could believe that I didn’t so quickly. It’s a lie – everything I said to you in the woods today was a lie.

I can only hope that by the time you find this, you’ll have moved on. Found someone to be human with, who will never put you in harms way. He is a lucky man if he has you, and I will never stop wishing that I could be him, whoever he is.

I left you to protect you from my world, the world that you did not belong in. I left you to protect you from myself – for I cannot describe to you how many times I came so close to killing you.

Please remember that, no matter how far apart we are, no matter how long it has been since I last kissed your lips, no matter how long it’s been since we’ve seen each other’s faces, that I will never, ever stop loving you with every breath in my body. I will never forget you, and I hope that, more selfishly than I can stand, you will not forget me, either.

Remember that I will never stop loving you.

I want you to know that, when I told you I didn’t love you anymore, it was a lie. I know that I should never have lied to you, but it was the only way to get you to let go. Please know that I will never stop loving you, even if you’ve already gotten over me.

Most importantly, I want you to know that I did not abandon you, as you may have believed.

All my love,
Edward

My tears splatter the paper, blurring the perfect writing. I crushed it to my chest and doubled over, allowing the waves of pain to pull me under. I gasped for air and choked and sobbed until finally, exhausted, I succumbed to a dreamless slumber.