Sudden Rainstorm

As it turned out, Jack and Kitty weren’t at all put off by Edward’s declaration of gratitude for me. This surprised me, though I wasn’t sure what I was expecting. I commented on this to Edward as we settled into my sofa to watch It’s a Wonderful Life, which he insisted was a necessary holiday ritual.

“You have some bizarre traditions. First, I was forced to pray. Then, you made me make a statement about something for which I was thankful. Now, I’m being forced to watch Jimmy Stewart movies.”

“Don’t mock Jimmy Stewart; he’s a Princeton alumnus.”

“I should have known.” I rolled my eyes.

“Everyone prays on Thanksgiving. It’s kind of the purpose of the holiday. Furthermore, when it was your turn to give thanks, you said you were grateful for capless retractable Sharpies.”

“They do make my job easier.”

He shook his head. “You missed the point.”

“No, I fully understood the point of the exercise. You tell me what I was supposed to say. Did you expect me to admit to being grateful that I own a home when so many others are losing theirs? If I’d been honest, your grandfather would have  thought you were slumming by dating me. Meanwhile, you more or less declared your love for me in front of your entire family, and though I truly appreciate the sentiment behind your words, I had no idea that your grandparents would be so okay with it. I was waiting for the fallout and felt like I needed to lighten the mood.”

“I told you that my grandparents were accepting of our relationship when I invited you to dinner.”

I sighed. “That you did, but I was expecting drama. I don’t know. Maybe because it was a holiday.”

“Are holidays in your family frequently rife with drama?”

I laughed bitterly. “You might say that.”

“How did that work exactly? There were only two of you, right?”

“Yes, but my mother left on Thanksgiving. She said she was running out for butter and never came back. So says the legend, anyway. I don’t remember it. I was six weeks old.”

“That must have been so awful for your father. I can’t imagine…” He pulled me against him.

“It was rough on my dad. My mother was young and flighty, but my father did love her. He never recovered emotionally from her leaving us, and he hasn’t dated since. I don’t think he trusts his own judgment with relationships. He had no idea she’d been so unhappy, and had a very hard time believing she’d actually left. He was sure she’d been abducted or got into an accident. My father left me with our next-door neighbor, Sue, and went out to look for her. I was six weeks old and wouldn’t stop screaming. Sue said she was certain I would starve because I’d never had to feed from a bottle until that point, and I kept refusing them. She was about to bring me to the ER when I finally gave in and ate. I guess I realized a bottle from a stranger was better than nothing.”

He tightened his arms around me. “That must have been terrible for you.”

“It wasn’t a big deal. I can’t even remember it; I just know what Sue told me. Anyway, holidays never brought out the best in my dad. It amazes me to think that they aren’t like that for everyone.”

“Every family has the occasional drama-filled holiday. There was one Christmas when we ran out of Grey Goose…”

I couldn’t contain my laughter.

“Are you mocking my pain? Kitty is not a happy camper when she’s sober.”

“She could have switched to something else–”

“Kitty never drinks anything else. The following year at Thanksgiving when it was her turn to say one thing for which she was thankful, she went off on a twenty-minute rant about how grateful she was that many liquor stores were now open on holidays.”

“So when you expressed your gratitude for me, it was actually not the strangest Cullen holiday moment.”

He laughed. “Not by a long shot. Besides, there’s nothing wrong with being thankful for love. I’m incredibly lucky, and I know it. Speaking of being lucky, I wanted to run something by you before I forget. So the eating club I’ll probably join next year throws a few big parties each semester. They try to bring in some pretty big name bands. Rumor has it Vampire Weekend is playing next weekend.”

“That’s amazing. I can’t imagine going to a school that actually brings in decent rock acts. We usually had complete unknowns, and they always sucked. I would totally understand if you wanted to stay on campus for it. I’ll miss you, but I’ll get over it.”

“Actually, I was hoping you’d come with me.”

“How does that work?”

“People bring guests all the time.”

“No, I mean the eating club thing. Will there be underage drinking there?”

“Of course, there will be underage drinking. It’s a college campus.”

“I don’t mean in dorm rooms beforehand. Where I went to school, if there was a big party, the college hired staff who actually carded and issued wrist bands to those who were of age. You couldn’t get served without one.”

“I’m not sure what the exact protocol is, but I doubt the drinking age will be strictly enforced. It’s at a club, and not being organized by the University. Why? Are you trying to get me drunk so you can take advantage of me?”

“As if you wouldn’t put out sober.” I laughed. “No, I just can’t be at a party with underage drinking. If it gets busted, I could lose my teaching license. It’s too risky. You go and have fun. You can tell me all about it afterward. They’re one of my favorite bands. I bet they’re awesome live.”

He pulled away from me.

“I distinctly recall you telling me that you would be happy to escort me to any and all college functions for which I would desire an escort.”

“This is different; alcohol is involved.”

“There will always be alcohol involved. Are you saying you won’t attend any event at which there may be underage drinking?”

“I suppose it would depend on the circumstances, but I can’t condone breaking the law.”

“Cut the shit. This has nothing whatsoever to do with illegal activity. You’ve slept in my bed while Mike and Tyler did bong hits ten feet away. This has to do with us. You’re still not okay with my age.”

“Wait, how are you getting that from my concern about losing my job? A concern which, I might add, everyone but you would consider  legitimate.”

“You only spend time with me behind closed doors, even when there is no chance of running into anyone you know from school.”

“That’s not true. We were together at Alice’s wedding. That was pretty public.”

“We were, but you didn’t invite me to be your escort. Alice invited me because of her relationship with my mother. I come to see you every weekend, but you’ve visited me exactly two times in the past three months.”

I sighed. “I just don’t feel comfortable on what is predominantly an under-graduate campus. I’m too old for that scene. It was fun for me while it lasted, but that part of my life is over. I’m glad you’re enjoying college and finding your place. You deserve all that. I don’t want to hold you back.”

“You don’t hold me back.”  He clenched his jaw with frustration.

“Then go, have fun, be seventeen. It’s a wonderful time of life. Enjoy it. and when you want to come home, I’ll be keeping the bed warm for you.”

“I just don’t see the point of doing any of that unless you’re with me. How am I supposed to enjoy myself knowing you’re sitting home bored?”

“I can’t be with you while you break the law. I can’t. Not all of us have the luxury of playing at our careers. Some of us actually need them to sustain ourselves. I need my job. I can’t pay my mortgage without it.”

“You always go back to your fear of losing your job whenever I ask you to give a little more of yourself emotionally, but it’s never really been about your job. You’re ashamed of me.”

“I’ve never been ashamed of you.”

I was, however, ashamed of me.

“Maybe not of who I am as an individual, but certainly of my age.  I understand your fear of losing your job. That’s valid. But there’s more to this than that. You won’t even come see me on campus when alcohol isn’t involved.”

I hated the anguish in his voice, and I wanted to make it better. I wanted to tell him that I loved him, that I’d go anywhere with him, that I’d make it my Facebook status and fuck the repercussions. I couldn’t do that. I had too much to lose.

So did Edward. As long as we were together, he’d stay with me and continue coming home each and every weekend. He wouldn’t experience college. He wouldn’t experience anything but me–in all my broken, fucked up, and emotionally unstable glory. I couldn’t do that to him. I loved him too much.

My voice came out of nowhere, and I didn’t recognize myself as I spoke.

“You’re right. I’m sorry; I thought I could get past it. I wanted to more than anything, but I just…can’t. This isn’t working for me.”

“I’ll transfer to Penn. We can live together here or in the city. It doesn’t matter to me. I don’t need to live on campus. I just need you.”

There was the problem. He was willing to give up everything for me, and I wasn’t worth it.

“Edward, no. You don’t get it. It’s not working, we’re not working. I think it’s best we have a clean break.”

I stared down into my lap. I couldn’t bring myself to look at him. I didn’t want to see his anguish, nor did I want him to see mine. He would never believe this was real if he did….

I stood up and started gathering his things. His razor, his toothbrush, his clothing—I made sure I had everything. It all fit neatly into his overnight bag, which I brought into the sitting room and placed at his feet.

“What’s this?”

“It should be everything. I never kept anything of mine at your parents’ home or in Princeton so there should be no need to prolong this. We won’t have to see each other again.”

“So this is it? Just like that?”

I couldn’t look at him, but I knew he was crying. His voice broke twice as he spoke.

“Yes.” I stared out the window.

“You said you loved me.”

“I loved being with you, and the sex was amazing. But love?” I shrugged. “I’m not capable of love. I thought you knew that.”

“You’re lying.”

“No. I’m not.”

“Then look at me, and say it.”

I couldn’t do it. He stood up and grabbed my upper arms, turning me to face him. When I looked at his face, his cheeks were wet, and his eyes were red.

I did this to him, and it wasn’t the first time. I’d do it again and again, unless he was free of me.

“I don’t want you.”

He stepped away from me, his eyes downcast. He picked up his bag and walked down the steps toward my front door. I followed him, wanting to stop him even though it would be selfish of me.

He stopped after opening the door.

“I’ll always want you.” His sobs caused his voice to break. “I’ll never stop loving you.”

The sound of the antique doorknob latching chilled me with its finality. Somehow, in two minutes, I’d managed to undo the past five months.

I heard his car pull out of my driveway and panicked; he was in no emotional state to drive. I then realized exactly what I’d done.

I’d broken him to save him.

It was both the most selfish and selfless thing I’d ever done in my pathetic excuse for a life. Edward and I were over. I’d never again hear his voice or his laugh. I’d never touch his hair or see his eyes. Like so many before him, he would cease to exist for me except in my own mind.

The realization hit me with such force that I fell to the floor in actual physical pain. I wanted to cry. I wanted to scream. I wanted to bleed in gut-wrenching agony, something, anything, to prove  I was still alive.

Nothing came.

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  1. on 01 Oct 2010 at 2:06 pmlisa89

    Oh, Bella, you ‘tard. I suppose this New Moon phase was a long time coming, but it still sucks ass. :(


  2. on 16 Oct 2010 at 7:34 amEsmeNessie



  3. on 12 Nov 2010 at 9:13 pmkng1986

    That was more painful than when Edward left Bella in the woods. Shit!


  4. on 25 Nov 2010 at 4:54 pmBooksgalore/Bookishqua

    Girl, you know how to write some serious gut-clenching angst.
    Loved it.


  5. on 09 Dec 2010 at 6:16 pmNKubie

    And there it is. Bella is canon Edward, eh! Obviously from my previous comments, I knew it was coming. But it didn’t make it any easier to read. My heart is breaking for them both.


  6. on 30 Dec 2010 at 6:18 amFancastride

    What the heck just happened? One minute their having thanksgiving dinner the next their breaking up.


  7. on 05 Jan 2011 at 9:12 pmSea4Me

    Must you do these damn parallels?? Screw canon. Ugh! I freaking promised myself I’d get the laundry & dishes done after this chap. Arg!!!


  8. on 29 Jan 2011 at 9:01 pmJanice

    She’s emotionally dead isn’t she??? I’m glad she’s seeking help. She needs it. But, now he’s gonna need it. Poor Edward. My heart breaks for him.


  9. on 17 Mar 2011 at 7:51 pmNHJO100

    Well, that was sudden, but I knew it was coming….and so begins the angst…..hope it doesn’t too long, my heart can never take too much angst….


  10. on 03 Aug 2011 at 10:59 pmpoppy

    Woah. This was actually more painful and emotionally taxing to read through than New Moon. You are so gifted at pulling the reader in and making them feel… shocked. I’m surprised, but at the same time, not – just like a non-fictional breakup.