Prometheus Bound (Rubens)


Rubens' "Prometheus Bound"

I don’t know how long I lay there on the floor before I got up. I only know that, eventually, I did get up. I undressed and showered and got into bed. I didn’t sleep; I couldn’t. My sheets still smelled like him. I looked over at the clock. Three hours had passed since he left. It felt like forever. I would never make it through the rest of my life without Edward if I couldn’t even make it through the first night.

The rest of my life without Edward.

I did this. I ended us. It was the right thing to do, but that didn’t make it easier.

At some point during the night, Alice showed up. She didn’t say anything as she crept up the steps and got into bed with me. We sat there, staring off into space, until the mourning doves began to coo.

“You should get dressed.”

I looked down at myself. I hadn’t realized I was naked. It also occurred to me that although Alice was here, I hadn’t called her.

“Who told you?”

“Does it matter?” She walked over to my dresser and pulled out a pair of lounge pants and a T-shirt. “Put these on.”

“Why? So you can drag me shopping? A new pair of shoes isn’t going to make me feel better.”

She sighed. “I wouldn’t dream of trivializing this like that, but I’m not going to let you wallow in bed naked.”

I got up and started getting dressed. “Is this where you say you told me so?”

She shook her head. “I wouldn’t.”

“Are you thinking it?”

She paused before speaking. “No.”

I didn’t want to deal with her right now, so I went down to the kitchen and made coffee. She followed me, lingering in the archway leading from the kitchen to the dining room. Her mere presence made me twitch.

“How the hell did you get in here, anyway?” I slammed the coffee can on the counter.

“You left your door unlocked. Bella, you really should be more careful. This may not be Center City, but it sure as hell isn’t Wayne County, Ohio. We’re not in college anymore. You have to lock your door.” She paused, sighing. “What are you going to do?”

“What I’ve always done. Work. Cook. Exist.”

“You can’t avoid dealing with this forever–”

“Forever! My god, how funny! Forever.” I started laughing maniacally. “For ever and ever and ever. Well, well, let’s get on with it.”

“Okay. I’m not sure what to do here. You’re lashing out at me, which I understand and kind of deserve. You’re saying you’re fine, but you’re quoting Sartre. I seem to be making things worse, yet I’m afraid to leave you alone.”

“I’m not going to hurt myself.”

“Don’t you see? You already have.”

“No. I did the right thing. I can handle pain. I’m used to it. Edward isn’t. It’s better this way. He hadn’t missed out on too much yet. He can experience youth and college without me hindering him. He can fall in love again, with someone who is worthy of him, someone who is whole. You said it yourself—I was with him for all the wrong reasons.”

“I did say that, and I’m sorry. It was narrow-minded and horribly wrong of me. I would give anything to take it back.”

“You say that, but you distanced yourself from me. Even after your wedding, I rarely heard from you. This was the first time you’ve bothered to cross the Ben since you found out I was dating Edward.”

“That’s not true. I came to apologize the very next day. If you recall, you wouldn’t let me. That wasn’t the only time. There were several others. I took the train to Jersey and walked around town, trying to find the nerve to knock on your door, hoping you’d hear me out. I always wound up back on the westbound Speedline, crying like a pussy.”

“And after your wedding?”

“I knew you hadn’t forgiven me entirely, and I was giving you space.”

“Where is all this space now? Did you not just let yourself into my house last night without an invitation?”

“I knew you needed me.”

The tears finally came. I fell to the floor, wailing.  She sat in front of me and pulled me into her arms.

“Shh. It’s going to be okay.”

“He’s gone. I told him I didn’t love him.”

“I know.”

“I lied.”

“I know that, too. Why did you do it?”

“I just…love him too much to tie him down…not to me. And if he left…if he left and I didn’t know it was coming, I think it would break me.”

She rocked me in her lap. “It’ll all be okay.”

I cried in her arms until there was nothing left.

“Do you have a plan?”

“Go to work. Go to therapy. Stay busy. Get through each day.”

“I didn’t know you were in therapy.”

“It’s recent. I only started last month. I don’t think it’s helping–”

“It will help. You’ll see. Just not right away, and not always in ways which you can see. Jazz will tell you.”

“Jasper’s in therapy?”

“No; I am. I’ve been going for about three years now. I can’t see the difference in myself, but he claims he can see it in me.”

I was in shock. “I had no idea.”

She shrugged.

Though I was still pissed at her,  she was the only family I had.

“Thank you for being here for me.”

She hugged me more tightly. “I wouldn’t be anywhere else.”

Alice called Rose that afternoon and they both spent the rest of the weekend at my house with me. If Rose didn’t approve of my decision, she kept this to herself. When Monday morning came, I got dressed and went to work, just as I’d always done.

I saw Edward everywhere. It was so naïve of me to assume that if I’d packed up all of his things, there would be no reminders of him. The memories were inescapable.

On Wednesday, I went to my session with Tanya. I told her I’d ended my relationship with Edward, but that I didn’t want to discuss it. She billed my insurance company for way too much money to take no for an answer.

“It’s not important,” I insisted.

“I think it’s extremely important. You broke up with your boyfriend, whom you claim to still love very much, on Thanksgiving, the same day on which your mother abandoned you as a baby.”

“Holidays suck.”

“You don’t think that’s a coincidence? That on some level, you pushed him away and ended the relationship on your terms rather than risk the alternative?”

“Which alternative would that be?”

“That he would abandon you. You’d rather leave him than live with the fear he could leave you.”

I pulled my ponytail out of my hair in frustration. “He would leave me eventually, after missing experiences he’ll never get back. Don’t you see that?”

“You don’t know that.”

“I do know that.”

“How?”

“Because why would anyone, let alone someone like him, ever want to be with someone like me? My own mother couldn’t stand being around me. She wished she’d never had me. She told me that once. So much for a mother’s love being unconditional.”

“Just because a woman gives birth doesn’t make her a mother.”

I rolled my eyes. “Thank you, Marlo Thomas.”

“You can’t blame yourself for her actions.”

“How can I not?”

“Your mother did a terrible thing, there’s no doubt. You can’t change it, but the longer you allow it to affect you the more power you’re giving her. You’re giving her power over your happiness. Does she deserve that?”

Huh.

“No.”

“There you go. There are two things I’d like you to do this week. Write a letter to your mother. Tell her how you feel. You don’t have to send it, but putting the words down on paper can be cathartic. When you’ve done that, I want you to make a list of the things you like about yourself. You can list whatever you like, but they should be aspects of who you are, not things you can do.”

I snorted. “It’s going to be a very short list.”

“That’s exactly why doing this is so important.” She stretched out her right hand while keeping her pen between her long fingers. They were slender and elegant, like Edward’s. “You’re going to get through this, Bella.”

“I’ve a good notion of what’s coming to me. I’m facing the situation, facing it,” I quoted.

“Really?” She put down her pen. “If you’re so courageous in the face of hell, then why are you running?”

After the hour was finished, I went home and zoned out. Days turned into weeks, but there was nothing remarkable about them. Each morning I got dressed, and each evening I went to bed. Sometimes, I slept. I worked during the week and saw Jasper and Alice on Friday night at McGillin’s. Men took interest in me. I nearly went home with one, but when his hand brushed my skin I didn’t feel the rush I’d gotten previously from random conquests, nor did I feel the electricity I’d experienced when Edward touched me. I felt nothing. I realized that I could fuck him, and though doing so would temporarily plug my hole, it would never fill my void. I said goodbye to him and returned to Alice and Jasper.

I avoided the Art Museum. There were too many memories. I considered the days where I didn’t let my ache for Edward consume me successes. The days where I threw myself onto my bed in a heap of tears and loneliness were my failures, despite the fact it was only at those moments when I allowed myself to feel anything at all. Though they made me feel like I was dying, they reminded me I was still alive. I clung to them with everything I had.

Christmas happened, as did New Year’s Day. I didn’t notice. The ground began to thaw even if I didn’t, and one evening I got a phone call from Emmett telling me Rose was in labor. Alice and I arrived at the hospital just in time to welcome David William McCarty to the world. He was a strapping baby, just like his father had been, with chubby cheeks and a full head of dark, curly hair. I’d never seen Rose look so happy.

“Already a boob man,” I joked as Rose fed her son.

“He likes to eat. What can I say?”

“How does that work?” Alice asked. “Getting implants didn’t affect your ability to nurse?”

Rose and I looked at Alice, laughing.

“I didn’t really get implants, and even if I had, it wouldn’t.”

“Huh?” Alice was so confused.

“I’ll explain later,” I said to Alice. “We should let you get your rest.”

“Yes,” Alice agreed. “Besides, I have an entire nursery to put together and thirty-six hours to make this happen. I still can’t believe you wouldn’t let me throw you a baby shower, but who am I to argue with tradition?”

Alice and I started to leave.

“Wait!” Rose yelled. “Mark your calendars for the bris. It will be eight days from today.”

“Got it.” Alice nodded as she left the room.

Rose grabbed my hand. “Just so you know, Em is inviting Edward. I’m not sure if he will be able to make it, and I will try to let you know one way or another beforehand. Just prepare yourself for the possibility that he will be there.”

“Are you expecting a cage fight?”

“Honestly, I’m not sure what to expect. I know how hard this has been for you and I thought you deserved some advanced notice. I understand if you can’t handle it and you decide not to come, but I wasn’t going to tell Em he couldn’t invite Edward. They have gotten extremely close–”

I didn’t want to hear about Edward’s life without me.

“I appreciate you telling me, and I’ll let you know.”

I left Rose’s hospital room and walked right into Alice, who was blocking the way down the corridor to the elevator.

“What are you doing? The only way out is behind you.”

“You don’t want to go over there.”

“Why not?”

“There’s a really heinous fake Louis Vuitton bag at the nurse’s station.”

I rolled my eyes. “As if I’d notice. Please, we have an entire nursery to set up and we don’t have much time…”

I stopped arguing with her when I saw him standing in front of the elevator. I’d know the hair anywhere. His back was to me and he was talking to Emmett.

“Let’s go.”

We hurried down the hall and squeezed passed Edward and Emmett. I touched Emmett’s hand on my way inside the elevator, but I didn’t stop to acknowledge them. Edward’s eyes met mine briefly as I turned to push the button for the ground floor. They betrayed nothing.

I looked down at my feet while I waited for the doors to close.

What seemed like an eternity later, I was alone with Alice.

“He looks the same,” I whispered, more to myself than to her.

“What were you expecting?”

“I don’t know. Maybe that he would look the way I feel?”

“It’s been four months. People get over things. Did you want him to wallow in misery? He’s getting on with his life. This was what you wanted, right?”

I sighed. Alice was right. It was exactly what I’d hoped would happen. My mind knew this. My heart would heal eventually.





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  1. on 01 Oct 2010 at 2:13 pmlisa89

    I’m really upset that Bella left Edward. I never get upset like this over fic. Christ.

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  2. on 25 Nov 2010 at 4:59 pmBooksgalore/Bookishqua

    You made four months speed by without making me want to deck Bella. Well done.
    Books

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  3. on 09 Dec 2010 at 6:45 pmNKubie

    Still with the aching heart for them.

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  4. on 23 Dec 2010 at 1:15 amrosy

    I just still dont get why she left Edward…
    She said she did it all for him, but I think it just her excuse for not to be abandoned. Well, I guess that is why she needs therapy…yeah I understand, but still I can’t stand when I think about his broken heart and pain, and sorrow…..awwww

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  5. on 30 Dec 2010 at 7:16 amFancastride

    No word from Edward, is he getting on with his life? Bella still seems so hurt.

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  6. on 05 Jan 2011 at 11:34 pmSea4Me

    Oh! Does Alice know this or is she assuming? Is she trying to antagonize Bella? Honestly, even with the parallels, you write in such a way that I can’t see two steps ahead. (but still not contrived.) It’s great & very rare in Fanfic!

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  7. on 29 Jan 2011 at 9:13 pmJanice

    I love your story, but my eyes are red and it’s hard to breathe. Bella’s gotta get right with herself and hope that Edward can forgive her . . . someday. He could be with someone else. He could

    [Reply]