Contrast of Forms


The confirmation that Edward would indeed be at the bris didn’t come as that much of a shock after seeing him at the hospital the night David was born. I was more surprised that he had obviously developed a close friendship with Emmett and Rose independent of me, and that neither of them had felt compelled to inform me of this. I knew better than to bother Rose with my slight feeling of betrayal, but had no problem whining to Alice and Jasper about it the following Friday night at McGillin’s.

“I’m just a little confused as to how and when they made contact again.”I poured myself another lager from the pitcher on the table.

“What do you mean again?” Jasper asked. “Em and Edward never lost contact.”

I shifted in my seat.

“Bella, please tell me you aren’t so self-absorbed that this bothers you.”

“No,  it doesn’t bother me. I just don’t understand why no one told me.”

Alice rolled her eyes. “Um, maybe because we knew you’d react this way. Clearly, we were right.”

“All this time I’ve been in agony wondering how Edward was and what he was doing, Rose was in contact with him?”

“Yes‚” she confirmed.

“Lovely. For the record,  I feel more than a little betrayed.”

“Why?” Jasper asked. “It has nothing to do with you.”

“Because Rose knew exactly how much not talking to Edward was killing me.”

“So you claim, but you still never called him. Wait, that’s right, you wouldn’t. You dumped him for his own good.”

“Actually, Jazz, I broke up with him because I was afraid eventually he’d break up with me. I was trying to cut my losses.”

“Please tell me you’re kidding.”

“I wish I were.”

Jasper refilled his glass. “What do you want from him?”

“I want him back. And this time, I want forever.”

The ease with which the words came out of my mouth amazed me. If only I could have said this four months ago…

“There are no guarantees,” Alice interjected. “You can’t panic and break his heart again. Not only does he not deserve that, but Em will kill you.”

“I know, and I won’t.” I sat back in my seat and took a deep breath. “Do you think I can get him to talk to me at the bris?”

“I don’t think it would be appropriate for you to even try,” she answered. “You should call him afterward.”

“I agree,” Jasper added. “Furthermore, if you think there is even a chance your issues will detract from the occasion, you should skip the bris. Rose gave you an out. Use it.”

As tempting as it was, I knew I couldn’t stay home from the bris. I was, however, grateful to have a session with Tanya beforehand. We discussed the brief encounter I’d had with Edward at the hospital in great detail.

“How did it make you feel to see him again?”

“It hurt. I realize though that it’s entirely my fault. He looks exactly the same as he did while we were together. I think that was what shocked me most of all. Maybe it’s because I feel as though I’ve changed so much. I’m not the same person I was on Thanksgiving, and I’d assumed that the same was true of him.”

“Why didn’t you talk to him?”

“I couldn’t.”

“Had you recited your affirmations that morning?”

After I’d made my list of positive attributes, Tanya decided it would be beneficial for me to read them to myself each morning in front of the mirror with the idea that I would begin to believe them. I laughed and told her she was on crack. She assured me she was serious and that this had proven to be a useful exercise. I then asked her if she found her PhD in the bottom of a Cracker Jack box. She laughed, telling me to trust her. I reminded her that if I were capable of trust, I wouldn’t be in need of her services. She insisted  it couldn’t hurt to try.

Though I felt like a complete asshat the first few times I did it, reciting my positive attributes did help me to some extent. It was slowly becoming easier for me to look for the good in a situation, rather than to dwell on the bad. When I’d first drawn up the list, it only had four items on it. Tanya asked to see it, and it was cut down to three. Apparently, my lack of a gag reflex was not what she considered a positive personality trait. However, my humor, compassion, and intelligence were. As time went on, I found myself adding more things I liked about myself to the list. Much to my amazement, my daily monologue soon became approximately the same length as Hamlet’s soliloquy. I had indeed executed this ritual on the day David was born.

“Yes. I don’t think my inability to speak to Edward had anything to do with my self-image issues. Honestly, I was just scared. Understanding something on a theoretical level and seeing it before you are two vastly different things, you know. I’m not sure which of the possible scenarios had me more on edge. The idea that I caused him to hurt as much as I do, or the possibility that losing me didn’t affect him at all.”

“You need to fess up. Either tell him that you lied to him and ended your relationship because of your own fears, or let it go. You can’t go on like this.”

“I know.”

“So what will it be?” she asked.

“I can’t let this be the end.”

“There you have it. But you need to understand that you have to be more open with him. If he is willing to hear you out and take you back, you have to trust him. You won’t always be in control. You must understand and accept this.”

“I know. I get it.”

To psych myself up to see Edward, I stepped my self-esteem exercises up a notch. I recited my affirmations twice daily leading up to the bris. I reread the text messages and emails he’d sent me while we were dating, and reminded myself that I was worthy of his attention and his love. None of this helped ease my doubt that I was worthy of his forgiveness.

It was probably cruel of me to wear the black suit I’d worn the first time I’d visited Edward in his dorm room. I knew he reacted physically to the sight of me in it, but I needed to feel on top of my game if I was going to attempt to hold a conversation with him. As I stood in front of Emmett’s parents’ house on the day of the bris, I breathed deeply and counted to ten.

I could do this.

I rang the doorbell, and Emmett’s mother appeared.

“Bella!” She opened the door and gestured me inside. “It’s so nice to see you again. You can hang your coat up in the closet. It’s the first door on your right in the hallway.”

“Thank you, Mrs. McCarty.” I smiled at her and walked down the hall toward the closet. I stopped when I heard a voice from behind the closed powder-room door.

“I’m sorry to put you through this; I just couldn’t face her alone.”

Edward.

I knew it was wrong of me to eavesdrop, especially since I suspected he was talking about me. Regardless,  I angled my head toward  the door so I could hear more clearly.

A female voice answered. “I understand. Besides, I wouldn’t have let you come alone, even if you’d insisted.”

He wasn’t alone. I felt like I’d just been stabbed.

“Are you okay?” the mystery woman asked.

“I’m fine. I knew coming here wouldn’t be easy, but I wasn’t going to ignore something that was such a big deal to Emmett because one of the persons on the guest list made me a little uncomfortable.”

“There are enough people here. You can easily avoid Bella if necessary.”

“I know.”

“So, have you ever been to one of these before?”

“No,” Edward said. “I’m a little squeamish about that, too.”

“Why? It’s not like you aren’t circumcised,” she said,  laughing.

“Obviously, but to my knowledge, it wasn’t done with an audience and an open bar.”

I stepped away from the door. Whoever she was, she spoke of Edward’s penis as if she knew it intimately. I didn’t know her, but I hated her.

“Bella, are you having problems finding the closet?” Mrs. McCarty’s voice jolted me out of my reverie. “I’m sorry I’m being a bad hostess. It’s right here.”

She gestured directly across the hall from where I’d been standing just as the powder room door opened. Out walked Edward, followed by Angela.

She smiled when she saw me. “Hello, Bella.”

Angela may have seemed genuine, but she was just in a bathroom with Edward discussing my penis. I didn’t trust her.

“Angela, Edward.” I nodded toward each of them.

“Do you need any help with anything, Mrs. McCarty?”

If Angela’s voice got any more sugary, I would go into diabetic shock.

“Yes, actually, if you don’t mind. Thank you.”

Angela and Emmett’s mother headed back toward the kitchen, leaving me alone with Edward. The moment they were out of earshot, he spoke.

“I remember that suit.”

I smiled. “I knew you would.”

My eyes raked over his body; he looked as beautiful as ever.

“Are you trying to torture me?”

“No. I came straight from work‚” I lied. “How have you been?”

“You have no right to ask me that.”

“No, I suppose I don’t. I’m sorry. Still, I would like to know.”

He raised an eyebrow. “You care?”

“Yes.”

“Right. So when were you lying? Then or now?”

“Huh?”

“Never mind.”

I sighed. This wasn’t going well. “Can we just start over?” I held out my hand to him. “Hi, I’m Bella.”

“No, you’re delusional.”

Ouch.

“Fine, I deserved that.”

He folded his arms across his chest. “What changed?”

“I don’t understand–”

“Between now and at the hospital, when you wouldn’t even look at me. What changed?”

“At the hospital, I was caught off-guard. I didn’t expect to see you there. I like to think I would have behaved differently were I not so surprised.”

“Surprised to see me, or surprised I was still in contact with Emmett?”

“Both.”

He took a step back from me, shaking his head.  “What do you want?”

We were gestured into the living room before I had a chance to answer. During the bris itself, I lingered in the back. I studied Angela and Edward, and how they interacted with each other. It was obvious they were quite close. There was an ease and intimacy to them that was not present among casual acquaintances. Still, I didn’t get the sense they were involved. They rarely touched, but when they did, it didn’t seem sexual.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, I congratulated Rose and Emmett and somehow dodged Alice and Jasper. I just needed a moment alone with Edward to find out if he’d be willing to talk with me privately. The moment never came. He stuck by Angela’s side, and they left quickly after the ceremony. I watched them get into Edward’s car through a living room window. Angela drove. Edward did not open the door for her.

I didn’t know exactly what was going on between them, or how Angela knew what Edward’s penis looked like, but I was now completely certain they were not involved romantically. I was ecstatic and relieved, until I realized that I still didn’t know if he was single. I just knew he wasn’t banging the only girl in his social circle whom I’d considered worthy of him.

Getting him to come back to me was going to be even harder than I’d thought.


End Note

I chose the piece of art for this chapter because of the artist’s last name. It reminded me of a saying in a novella I adored, David Garnett’s Aspects of Love. In it, Uncle George is frequently saying, “Ce sera un souvenir leger pour toi” which isn’t all that unlike how we say in English that one day we’ll look back and laugh. It was my way of telling readers everything would be okay.





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  1. on 09 Feb 2010 at 2:43 amNicole

    I'm so glad you started your own blog/page. It's almost harder to read this chapter than it was during Art After 5. Because in reading Counterpoint we see this event from Edward's perspective and know that they were so close to making progress here. But it didn't happen, and it probably shouldn't have happened at this point, they still had more growing to do. Edward specifically had more growing to do at this point. I feel like Bella actually was starting to get it. And she should have gotten it before, but she didn't.

    I'm not sure if this is the right place for this question but I've always felt that Bella's friends were not really good friends to her. Is that because she was not a good friend to them? I mean I see Emmett being a good friend to Edward, but other than just being there, I don't remember Alice or Rose stepping up and being there for Bella. Am I totally off base here?

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  2. on 01 Oct 2010 at 2:20 pmlisa89

    God, I feel like I’m going to throw up. I hate/love you for being able to affect me like this! It’s also perhaps because I can’t breathe through my nose and am sick.

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  3. on 12 Nov 2010 at 10:40 pmkng1986

    I’m disappointed in Bella’s friends. I have been there for my friends and when they are hurting you should not be judgemental, just supportive. I’m more disappointed in Rose than Alice.

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  4. on 25 Nov 2010 at 5:04 pmBooksgalore/Bookishqua

    Love that they pointed out to Bella that if she couldn’t control herself she needed to skip the bris. She definitely needed to hear that.
    Books

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  5. on 30 Dec 2010 at 7:27 amFancastride

    I’m glad Edward didn’t fall all over Bella. It always hurts to be on the broken end.

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  6. on 05 Jan 2011 at 11:49 pmSea4Me

    Ok, wow. Bella’s transition in the bar seems rushed…off…but it fits better when I hear how she’s been working with Tanya (which is something I’d wondered about last chap). I think she could have thought out her approach better. Good grief. Look sexy, act casual?? I’d think contrite as hell would be better. As in triple what she desired of Alice. At least. How can he consider trusting her if she acts like it’s no big deal? She might still need a bit more therapy, lol!
    Oh yes…thanks for the end note!!

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  7. on 29 Jan 2011 at 9:25 pmJanice

    She better start working on it!!!!

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