Prompt: #20/Parking lot
000ooo000ooo Fire and Rain ooo000ooo000
Edward was right about seeing Alice and Jasper together for the first time. It was not something that I could have done at home alone with just the two of them. Even at the football game, as we sat among all of our friends, the sight of them did funny things to my stomach. They held hands and made googly eyes at each other. Jasper got her hot chocolate and snuggled under a blanket with her during the second half.
By the time we made it to the restaurant after the game I needed a few minutes to myself. I pretended to have lost my phone and borrowed Edward’s keys to go look for it.
I climbed in the back seat and closed my eyes as I tried to relax. I was mumbling to myself about being happy for them and how my mother hadn’t raised me to be such a bitch when I heard the passenger door open. I realized then that I probably hadn’t been fooling anyone. I figured Alice had come to talk or kick my ass. When I took a deep breath I smelled cologne and realized it wasn’t her.
I didn’t want to open my eyes and face the fact Edward come to my rescue again, so I kept them closed.
“I’ll be fine.”
“I’m sure you will,” he sighed, “but you don’t need to sit out here alone.”
I opened one eye and tried to glare at him. “What if I want to be alone?”
I sighed and opened my mouth to tell him that I did, but I stopped myself because he was right. I didn’t want to be alone. But I was. I was so alone that it hurt to breathe sometimes, and Alice moving in with Jasper was going to make it worse. While she lived with me I could pretend that we were back in college and I wasn’t really a widow and she wasn’t really there to make sure I didn’t wallow in my grief. But she was leaving, and I wasn’t going to be able to pretend anymore.
All of the denial and the hurt began to close in, and the emotional breakdown that I’d pushed aside for months finally got the best of me. A sob broke from my chest and I couldn’t stop.
“I don’t want to be alone! I never wanted to be alone. I can’t do this, Edward. It should have been me. Garrett was the one who could have kept going, but I can’t do this. I miss him so much. And now Alice is leaving me, too. I just want to wake up and find out this has all been a dream. We were supposed to do this together—to come back to Forks and raise a family, but I’m here alone and I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to do this without him.”
At some point during my rambling Edward had pulled me into his arms. One hand held firm around my waist while he slowly ran the other through my hair. I hugged him and buried my face in his neck.
“Shhh. It’ll be okay. You’re stronger than you think you are,” he whispered.
“I’m not.” I shook my head but didn’t lift it from his shoulder. His sweatshirt was soaked with tears and probably snot, but I didn’t care. I felt like he was the only thing holding me together, and I needed to feel his arms around me. “I’ve been trying so hard, but I’m tired. Some days I don’t want to get out of bed.”
“Everyone feels like that. You’ve done so well. There are people who would still be in Italy trying to figure out what to do, but look at you—you moved across the world, found a new family and friends, you got a job…”
I sat back with a sigh, finally wiping my eyes. “I couldn’t have done any of that by myself. I would still be in Italy if you and Kate hadn’t come to get me.” I shook my head. “How am I going to do this? I can’t even be happy for my best friend. I just want my life back.”
He turned in the seat, resting an arm on the top of the seat behind me. “Bella, this is your life now. He’s not coming back. You have to keep moving forward. I know it’s cliché, but take things one day at a time. Today is just a bad day. Tomorrow it will be better. You need to realize you’re not doing any of this alone. None of us are. We’re in this together. All of us.”
His fingers covered my lips, and he shook his head.
“No buts. I know it’s going to be hard to have Alice move out, but you’re never alone in this. You may feel lonely, but you’re never alone.”
I looked into his eyes for a few seconds before whispering, “Thank you.”
My eyes filled with tears again. It seemed once I’d started to cry I couldn’t stop. Thankfully I wasn’t sobbing, but I felt tears running down my cheeks. I took a couple of deep breaths and tried to think about everything he’d said. It wasn’t very different from the pep talks I’d been giving myself, and I was pretty sure he’d told me something very similar sitting on my front steps the day he planted flowers, but I needed to hear it again.
I sniffed and wiped my nose. “Can you please take me home?”
“Sure. Let me text Jasper and tell him that he and Alice need to catch a ride with Emmett.”
I nodded and climbed out of the car, walking around to get in the front door. Edward took his place in the driver’s seat, and I handed him his keys. His phone buzzed as we pulled out of the parking lot, and he glanced down to check it and smiled.
“Jasper?” I asked quietly.
“Yeah, everyone says they hope you feel better.”
It took me a minute to understand, and then I realized he must have told them he was taking me home because I wasn’t feeling well. I smiled, trying to say thank you with my eyes because if I opened my mouth I would have started crying again.
He nodded, and I turned to look out the window. I was exhausted, on so many levels, and Edward kept quiet, understanding I was done talking.
The radio played quietly, and neither of us spoke as we drove back to Forks, but when we pulled into my driveway Edward turned to me like he had something to say. I looked over to see him run his hand through his hair, then lick his lips.
“I just want you to know you’re not the only one who has bad days. Sometimes I want to stay in bed too, and I’d give anything—everything—to bring him back to you, but I can’t. I just have to believe it’s going to get easier.”
“Thank you. I’m always saying that to you but, really, thank you.”
He smiled sadly. “Anytime. Whatever you need, okay?”
“Okay.” I reached for the door handle and then realized that I’d completely ruined his plans for the evening. “Do you want to come in? You didn’t get dinner. I can pull something together, and I’ve got some Heineken.”
“You don’t need to feed me. I can get something at home.”
“I want to. Please, I’m going to make something for myself anyway.”
“Alright,” he laughed. “Nothing too fancy, you don’t need to go to a lot of trouble. And I’d love a beer.”
We got out of the car and started towards the house. His arm slid around my shoulders and I leaned my head against him. I was glad that he was going to come in because I didn’t want to be alone yet. And it felt good to finally be getting a chance to repay his kindness and take care of Edward for once, even if it was only in the form of a sandwich.
000ooo000ooo Fire and Rain ooo000ooo000