SM owns Twilight. Alas, I do not. And the text below in bold belongs to the band Evanescence. I do own this little oddity of a O/s.
Playground school bell rings again,
I think I'm dreaming. I think that this is not real. I think… I don't know what I think.
It's like I'm floating, hovering even. It's like I'm weightless with nothing holding me down.
The room is so washed out and faded, gray and pale. Where is the color? Why? What's going on? I don't understand.
Below me, I see… I see me. That can't be right. How can I see me?
Am I crazy? This must be a dream. It has to be.
But I can't stop myself from watching, from listening, from trying to understand.
I look horrible, even paler than usual. My skin looks ashen and splotchy, and dark shadows circle my closed eyes. My hair is lank and flat, pulled back above my head. It's so… dull against the bright white of the sheets.
I hear a faint, irregular beeping noise. It's almost inaudible. But it keeps pinging, and I look around, trying to determine its origin.
Then I see more. And understanding begins to dawn.
Tubes run from a mask covering my nose and mouth to some machine against the wall. Wires disappear beneath my gown. They connect to another machine with a computer monitor. There are green and red lines tracing across the screen, dipping down and darting up to the tune of the irregular beat I hear.
I continue my self-appraisal. My wrists are bandaged… Peeking from beneath the white gauze, I see the edges of purplish vertical lines with small perpendicular mends.
No! I scream. I didn't mean it. I didn't mean to! Oh, God, what have I done? Edward!
Rain clouds come to play again,
I'm floating. I'm watching.
I try to touch things. I try to move papers and pencils. I try to do something other than float. Am I destined to reside here forever? What about Edward? Where is Edward?
I realize that I can stand, or at least pretend to. I can go to the window and look out.
I start when a man in a white coat enters the room.
"Oh, thank God!" I cry and run toward him.
I stand in front of the man blubbering and sobbing. "Help me!" I beg.
But he walks past me. He doesn't even look at me. He can't see me. He can't hear me.
I reach out to touch him, to shake him, to make him see me. But my hand vanishes as it meets his flesh.
I'm… nothing. I'm… not right. I don't know what I am.
My voice chokes in my throat and what feels like hot, salty tears streak down my face, partly from frustration and desperation, but, more so, out of fear and dread.
But my tears do not fall. There is no wetness. There are no tears, no evidence, no proof that I exist.
Through blurred vision, I watch the man check me, or check what's left of me. He pries my eyes open and shines a light. He reads a chart and clicks buttons on a laptop. Then, he clucks his tongue and murmurs, "Such a shame. So young."
Has no one told you she's not breathing?
I'm still floating. I'm still watching.
A hear shouting in the hall but I can't open the door to see what's causing the commotion. And then suddenly, the voice becomes clear and I hear him.
He barges in the room all frantic and disheveled. His hair is wilder than usual, beautifully bronze and autumn and tangled and flying all over the place. His face is haggard, and stubble decorates his jaw. His bright green eyes are bloodshot and are almost pulsing in their intensity. The shadows underneath his eyes are darker than mine. But still, he looks like an angel, my beautiful Edward.
"Oh, Bella, no!" he moans. "Christ, no! Why? How could you do this?"
He stumbles across the room and collapses to his knees by the bed.
A woman in white follows behind him and tries to stop him, but she relents when she sees him break. She closes the door behind her as she leaves, giving us our space and our privacy.
My heart shatters as I watch him.
He sobs, loud and incoherent and full of despair and misery. His body shakes and convulses. I can hear his teeth snapping together. I can feel the pain radiating off of him. It hits me like tidal waves, rushing and crashing over me, dragging me to the bottom. His pain is my pain.
I long to comfort him. I long to do anything to ease his suffering. I try so hard to touch him, to stroke his hair the way I did when we went to bed at night. I murmur words he cannot hear. I beg for his forgiveness. I beg for his understanding.
I made a mistake. I know that now. I can feel it in his body's quivering.
I should have waited to talk to him, to listen, to let him explain. I should have believed him. But I believed her instead. And I acted irrationally and dramatically. I ruined everything.
More waterless tears spill over and my chest aches. It burns and throbs as I watch him, as I witness the pain that is purely my fault.
I know now that I am in hell, never mind that my heart still beats its faint and irregular rhythm.
Hello, I'm your mind giving you someone to talk to,
"Edward, I'm so sorry. I screwed up. I should have known that it couldn't be true, but I-, I just hurt so much. I'm so, so sorry," I explain, still knowing he can't hear.
"Please, Edward, please stop crying," I beg.
I feel every tear that falls. Each one brands my translucent skin. Each one sears into my mind. Each one punches me in the gut.
My fault. I did this.
"Bella, God!" he suddenly yells, leaping up from his bedside vigil. "What the fuck were you thinking? Did you really think I could be with her?"
He's angry now, virtually seething. His cheeks redden and his eyes flash with something akin to hatred. But I know it's not hatred. He feels betrayed. I'm leaving him. I'm hurting him.
He kicks the metal frame bed and slams his fist into the wooden bathroom door. When he pulls his hand away, I see the scrapes and drops of blood forming along his knuckles.
But the anger wanes and he again falls to the floor. His hand clutches mine, or rather my body's. I wish I could feel his touch. I wish I could feel his warmth and the sureness of skin.
All I really want, however, is for him to not feel this kind of pain. Deep inside of me, I feel the agony eating away at my sanity. Because I can do nothing but watch him fall and splinter. I'm powerless to help him, to tell him I'm here.
"Mr. Cullen," a gentle and calm voice calls from the door. "I'm Dr. Gerandy. I'm your wife's attending physician. Please come with me. We need to discuss a few matters and it would be best to do it in my office."
"No," he rasps from the floor. He glances up toward the doctor and I see numbness encroaching into his features. His jaw is slack and his irises are almost gray.
"I'll never leave her. Whatever you need to say, tell me here and now."
If I smile and don't believe,
Edward and I were married exactly two months after we both graduated from Dartmouth. I'd stayed for my Masters while he finished his Law degree. From the moment we met in our junior level Economics course, we'd been inseparable. After lugging suitcases back and forth and giving up bureau drawers for over a year, our last two years, we opted to live together. By the time we actually walked down the aisle, we were old hands at cohabitation.
And it was bliss.
The first four years of our marriage were anything and everything I could have ever hoped for. While Edward and I both worked long hours, we played hard and enjoyed life. With both of us working – especially with him being a leading candidate in his firms' junior partnership track – we had more than enough funds to vacation whenever we wanted. We bought our first home. We adopted a pitiful looking terrier mix from the shelter.
And we loved each other. God, did we love each other. Physically, emotionally, mentally, we were one and the same. When we kissed, my stomach still clenched and flip-flopped. When he went on business trips, we talked every night that he was gone and when he came home, we spent hours in bed making up for lost time.
Late at night, he played the piano for me. We danced underneath the moonlight. We traded back massages and ran hot baths. And we explored each other in every way possible. His hands were magical, as if they were designed to fit my body alone. And I could make him stammer and groan with just a touch.
It was… perfect.
That is, it was perfect until he was officially put on the partner track at the firm. Then, his hours at work lengthened. And it seemed like we never had time together. But I knew we would make it. It was only temporary after all.
Soon I know I'll wake from this dream,
It was a Monday night when I heard her voice the first time.
At first, it seemed innocent and well-meaning. She would call after hours, citing the need to speak to Edward about some pressing trial or docket. She was polite and cordial, always asking how I was doing and telling me what a pleasure it was working with Edward.
We even met her and her various dates for dinner a few times. Tanya was stunningly beautiful, tall and graceful, with a shapely figure and long, blonde hair. She was intimidating, but when we were together, Edward never seemed to pay any more attention to her than to any other female – aside from me.
But later, the calls came more frequently, and after talking to her, Edward always seemed distant and frustrated. When I tried talking to him, he shrugged it off, claiming stress at work. For a long time, I believed him implicitly.
One night, however, I accidentally picked up the phone during one of their calls. I'd not even noticed that she had called.
"Edward, darling, I miss you," she cooed. "I can't wait until the Bar Association conference next month so I can have you all to myself. You know, it will be so convenient. I've already booked our rooms. Mine's right next to yours."
I tore the handset away from my ear, staggered and suddenly sick. My breathing stopped and my heart pounded a disjointed, unfamiliar rhythm. It was like I'd been stabbed in the chest and the knife kept twisting and sinking further inside me. It was a pain I never dreamed that I'd experience.
Quietly, I replaced the receiver, unable to hear any more. My mind started rapidly flipping through each and every scenario that I could come up with, recalling every word she'd said, every look she'd given Edward… and me.
Then I vomited on the floor and passed out.
Don't try to fix me, I'm not broken,
We fought. For the first time in our marriage, we fought. For days, we yelled and screamed. We were angry and vehement, sore and filled with fire. I accused, and he denied. I shouted and cried, and he folded into himself and sulked. I asked him to quit, and he said he couldn't because of the job market. He said if he didn't work, we would lose the house.
I didn't believe him. I knew that he wanted to see her. And the damned woman kept calling. Only, her voice developed an edge to it, a taunt, a smirk. She started purring his name and more than once, I cursed and hung up on her.
My self-esteem plummeted and my self-loathing soared to heights that surpassed my worst years in high school. I felt unworthy and broken. I felt lied to, deceived, and beaten.
Yet he continually denied my accusations, telling me I was insane and that he loved only me. But how could I believe him when Tanya was all put shoving my face in their filth? I'd heard them that night!
"Bella, I swear to you that I have never cheated on you! I will never cheat on you! God, how many times can I say it? Why don't you believe me? I love you!" he yelled one night.
I wanted to believe him. My God, how I wanted to believe. My mind, my insecurities, my self-worth denied it. I'd never fully understood why he'd married me. He was perfect, and I was average. Before I'd ignored our differences because he had never seemed to notice. If anything, he'd always argued the opposite. But all the miniscule doubts I'd ever had compounded and conjoined, rendering me pathetic and desperate.
And I plunged headlong into the dark, silent places deep inside my mind that I'd never known to exist.
Hello, I'm the lie, living for you so you can hide,
I loved him. That was why it hurt so badly. I loved him with every fiber of my being. I wanted to believe him. I tried to believe him.
I went to a therapist and was given pills. He cut back on his hours and phoned regularly during the day. The calls from Tanya stopped.
We flew down to the Keys and spent two weeks playing in the water and building sand castles. For the first time in months, we touched. We kissed. We shed clothes and furiously made love each night, almost as if we were trying to undo and forget the past months.
He cried when he saw how much weight I'd lost.
I cried when I came. Not out of sadness, but from raw emotion.
I thought that we would be okay. I thought maybe I believed him, that maybe what I'd thought was wrong. I felt loved and adored. I loved him, so much. So much…
We seemed to be heading back to where we were before. He kissed me each evening when he walked through the door. Each night, his lips were fervent and hot, and it was like he couldn't stand not touching me. We whispered in the dark. Once more, I grew accustomed to his body wrapped around mine when we slept. On the weekends, we barbequed with his family and went to dinner with his brother and sister-in-law.
He told me he loved me every single day. He told me how beautiful I was. Just like before, I felt like the only woman in his world, the only person he could even see.
But my joy and moment was cut short. Three months into our reconciliation, I received a call and then a package in the mail.
I saw them in his office. I saw her sitting in his lap, her arms wrapped around him, her tongue buried in his mouth. I couldn't figure out the camera angle. It was poor quality, but it told me everything that I'd somehow managed to convince myself wasn't true.
I didn't even think, didn't even consider calling him. He lied to me again. I was devastated, and it was so much worse than before. Because now, I truly had an image. It was all I could see.
I dropped the black and white stills to the floor, not bothering to pick them up, and walked down the hall.
It was strange how the tears wouldn't even come. My eyes stung but there was no moisture. Even my mouth felt dry, parched and desiccated. My limbs were useless; it was as if they wouldn't or couldn't perform the basic tasks my mind commanded. My chest felt like it'd been ripped in two, like there was a bleeding, gaping wound stretching across.
I couldn't stand it. I couldn't bear it. I couldn't survive this. I was too weak, too… weak. I couldn't bear living without him and I couldn't bear living with him. I needed to escape, a way out... no more pain.
When the metal dipped in and dragged across my skin, I felt it. I felt some of the pressure release… that escape that I was looking for. So, I kept digging in and pulling on the blade, slicing my flesh open to the air.
I watched as thick liquid bubbled up and ran down my arms, dripping on my white shirt.
Then there was nothing.
Suddenly I know I'm not sleeping,
"Bella," he sobs. "Why didn't you call me?"
"I swear!" he yells louder, looking up to the ceiling. "Bella, I can't stand even thinking of another woman. Why, oh, why can't you believe me?"
"Edward, I'm here," I whisper. "I'm sorry."
I try to touch him again. My hand passes through his and my heart cracks once more.
"Please, Edward," I plead.
He rants, squeezing my body's limp hand. "It was all her. She wouldn't leave me alone. I turned her down every single time. I filed complaints, I told her boss. I begged her to leave me alone."
"I quit, Bella. I quit yesterday! Goddamnit, Bella, I quit after she fucking assaulted me. I already had the paperwork ready to file a restraining order!"
"I saw those photos when I came home. I saw them. Didn't you see that I was pushing her off? Didn't you see that?"
Fresh tears streak down and stain his cheeks. I reach out and try to wipe them away. But my hand stops short because I can't bear watching my hand pass through him and not feeling him.
I feel sick inside. I feel unhinged and I feel a level of desperation that I cannot describe. The pain before was nothing in comparison to what I feel now. Now, it's both of our pain that I feel. All of it. It's so deep, like a a black abyss.
I was so stupid. I was my own enemy. Not Tanya. She was manipulative and probably dangerous. She played me; she detected my weakness and used it. She pushed me; she pushed Edward. She coveted him and tried to break us.
And we did break. But it was me... my fault. He tried to tell me, but I didn't listen. It was always me.
I allowed it to happen. I allowed myself to believe the worst. And now I reap – Oh, how I reap! – what was sown.
Hello, I'm still here,
The doctor returns. His white coat is now wrinkled and worn. He looks tired. I wonder how long he has been here. Because time is strange and warped for me now. I wish I'd thought to look at the clock before.
Edward is asleep, lying on the hospital bed beside my body with his head on my chest. His face looks almost serene, like he is dreaming. It's the same expression that I've seen so many times. I remember how I used to watch him fall asleep, how I used to kiss his neck and bury myself in his arms, how I used to feel his face nuzzle into my hair.
But then the doctor coughs and wakes him. He doesn't get off the bed and he eyes the doctor angrily, like he's almost to the point of launching himself across the room.
"Mr. Cullen?" he starts cautiously. "Sir, it's time."
"No," Edward grates.
"Sir, she's gone. The only reason you hear anything is because that machine is keeping her heart pumping. And that mask is delivering oxygen. There's nothing left. It's time."
"I can't," he whimpers. "I can't live without her. I can't breathe without her."
"Edward," I whisper, as I move beside the bed. My hand ghosts over his mangled hair and I pretend that I can feel it. I pretend that he can feel it.
But he just clutches my body that much tighter.
"More time," he demands, livid and hot. The doctor just sighs and walks out the door.
All that's left of yesterday...
He touches my face and kisses my jaw.
"Please come back, Bella. I can't be without you. I told you that before. I won't."
His voice is rough and low. I know his pain; I feel all of it. It's like we are still connected somehow, that in this odd, transitory state I'm even more connected to him. It's like we are truly one.
He aches. I ache.
His chest throbs. My chest throbs.
"Don't you remember all those times we watched that stupid play you love so much? Don't you remember how I told you that if anything ever happened to you, that was it for me? I won't be far behind. I promise you that," he chokes.
His fingers wend between my body's and he pulls my body's palm to his lips.
"Please, just take me with you. I know you are still here. I know it. Touch me, kiss me, and tell me you love me back."
"I love you, Edward," I answer because I have no other response.
I wonder what will happen when the doctor comes back. I wonder if I will disappear. I don't care. I just want Edward. I just want to hold him and tell him I'm sorry and that I love him.
I want him.
I want him.
I want him.
That's all. Nothing else matters.
I beg and I pray. I plead and I cry. I grab my chest and I pull at the clothes I'm not really wearing.
He moves off the bed and kneels beside my body. His hands are clasped as if he is praying over me. His eyes are clenched shut and his teeth are chattering. His entire body is quaking.
"Take me, God," I hear him chant in a whisper. "Let me be with her. Give me this. Let me have the chance to tell her that she was wrong. Let me show her how much I love her. Let me make it right. It's all my fault, God. I failed her. I messed everything up. I should have told her everything. I should have explained. I should have quit. I shouldn't have ever let her believe she wasn't my entire world.
"Please, please, let me be with her. Take me! Please, I beg for your mercy. I can't survive this. She is my life."
Overcome with grief, I drift behind him. My hand hovers over his down-turned head. With every part of my being and soul, I long for him. Without realizing it, my lips mimic his prayer.
"Let me be with him. Give me this. Let me have the chance to tell him that I was wrong. Let me show him how much I love him. Let me make it right. It's all my fault, God. I failed him. I messed everything up. I should have had faith in him. I should have listened. I shouldn't have ever let him believe he wasn't my entire world."
My lids slide shut as I approach him.
And then I feel it. I feel him. I feel the fine, silken strands beneath my hand, tickling my skin.
This must be death... this is it...
My eyes shoot open and are met by a sea of green, the first real color I've seen since...
Corporeal fingers thread between my fingers. My breathing hikes and I feel warmth. I don't understand. He sees me and feels me. How? Why? I can't decide if I want to laugh or scream or bawl. I'm dizzy; it's almost as if I'm drunk.
"Bella," he breathes as he rises. He looks confused and startled. His brows knit together and his lips tremble.
Only vaguely do I notice that he is… different somehow.
Suddenly, lips press against mine so hard and so desperate and I hear my name uttered over and over again. I feel his nose skimming along my jaw line and I hear him inhaling. Lucidity claws out from beneath the incoherence and confusion. And I'm kissing him and holding him and singing his name.
Tears spring anew, but not from pain. My heart swells in my chest and I feel whole. My mind and body resound with gratitude and with belief. I don't understand and I don't care.
"My fault, my love," he murmurs between soft kisses.
"Shh," I answer, locking my arms around his neck. I grip and tug at his hair, frantically pulling him to me. "I'm sorry, Edward. I'm so sorry. I should have believed you. Please, Edward, please forgive me."
"Always," he breathes as his hands frame my face. "I failed. I should have protected you. I should have told you. You are everything to me."
"Stop," I cry. "I love you. I've always loved you."
Abruptly, there is some new clamor and noise in the room. We look up and see people running through the door, each carrying armfuls of strange equipment. There is shouting and yelling and cursing.
"How did this happen? The CPB is down! She has no pulse!" one nurse yells.
A new doctor, a tall man with wavy blond hair, yells, "What the hell happened to him? Did you give him something? Check his pocket for pills! God, Alice, what happened?"
"I don't know, Dr. Whitlock," the small black-haired nurse called Alice stammers. "They're both gone? How?"
Edward and I stare at each other, and we finally notice. His body is limp and resting against the bed. Yet he stands with me.
His hand tightens around mine and he grins my favorite grin. His eyes twinkle, glimmering and excited.
"What now?" he asks. If he is afraid, I can't see it. But then, somehow, I'm not afraid either. He is here.
"I don't know," I say, smiling in return.
Together, hand in hand, we turn, face the window, and walk. And suddenly, we are outside. And it's bright and shining and glorious. The sun is high in the sky, and there is blue as far as I can see. We drift over vibrant, green grass and bold, yellow dandelions. The air smells fresh and clean and earthy. Heat beats down upon us; I can feel it soaking through my entire being, bathing us in light and warmth.
Never taking my eyes from his, I see that in the sun, we shimmer, not quite real, not quite not.
I don't know where we will go. I don't know what lies in store. I don't know how long we have.
Maybe this is some dream. Maybe it isn't. Maybe we will fade in time. Maybe we will exist forever.
A/N: I interpreted the tone and mood of the ending of the song a little happier than one might normally. But yeah, told ya it wasn't my normal fare. Hope you at least were entertained. Maybe now the "video" will stop spinning. ;)