Written for A Picture is Worth a 1000 Words Contest
Inspirational photo number: 1
Summary: Entry for the 'A Picture is Worth a 1000 Words' contest. Life doesn't always turn out the way you expect. Bella and Edward hit a bump in their HEA.
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A/N: Thank you to my awesome beta, TwilightMundi, who makes everything pretty. Thanks also to spargelkun, mjinaspen, and tarasueme, who gave me essential and much appreciated feedback.
All copyright and trademarked items mentioned herein belong to their respective owners. The remaining content is all mine. No copying or reproduction of this work is permitted without my express written authorization.
All we ever do these days is fight. Money, the house, the kids. The topic doesn't matter, just who can hurl the largest amount of hurt and anger at the other in the least amount of time.
“Why can't you pick your socks up off the damn ground?” she shouts. “The laundry bin is right there!”
“Bella, it's not a huge deal. I'm sorry. I'll try to remember, okay?”
“Fuck you, Edward. You never remember anything! I don't want to see you right now. Go outside.” She makes some ridiculous hand motion, and I'm shooed outside, like the fucking dog.
Heading through the kitchen on my way out, I see the kids all sitting in front of the television. Three sets of eyes, glued to the technicolor cartoons rotting their brains. I grab the blanket from the back of the couch. It's not freezing outside, but I don't want to sit out there in my thin pajamas, either.
Sighing, I open the fridge and grab a beer. If I'm exiled to the patio, I'm at least taking a beer with me. I remove the cap and flip it into the trash. Reaching into the top cabinet, I grab my secret pack of cigarettes, a lighter, and make my way outside.
I sit on the steps, light my cigarette, and blow the smoke out. I've barely taken one pull from my beer and I hear her footsteps.
Instinctively, I curl into myself, pulling the blanket tighter around me. It's getting harder and harder to forgive and forget. Each time her voice raises, her anger rises, and my ego deflates a little more. I'll love Bella until the day I die, but at some point, a man has to cut his losses before he's pounded into the ground so hard, he resembles only dust.
My children are my life, but I'm not sure how much more I can take. Wouldn't it be better to have two parents that didn't seem to hate each other?
Sparkling red toes greet my eyes, and I follow her leg up until I've scanned her whole body. The body I would never, could never, get enough of... if only she'd let me. Even like this, wearing the most unsexy pair of flannel pajamas ever, she turns me on like no other.
She hates her body, says it's ugly. I try to remind her of the battle scars she's suffered in the name of our happiness, our family, but this always gets twisted into something I don't intend, so I've learned to shut the fuck up for the sake of silence.
She crumples at my side, clinging to me. My eyebrows crease. I'm confused by her actions. Lost. Afraid, if I'm being honest.
“I'm sorry,” she says softly.
This is new, and I'm even more confused. Bella hasn't apologized in years.
“I don't know what's wrong with me,” she says. Her voice is so soft, so fragile. So un-Bella like.
Turning to look at her, I can see the pain on her face. Tears in her eyes. My heart melts and breaks into countless pieces. My wife, love of my life, is broken, and has finally admitted it – not just to me, but herself.
“We can fix it, baby, I promise.” And I mean it.
Setting my beer on the deck and stubbing out my cigarette, I pull her into my arms. Her knees rest on either side of my hips, and I curse my body for responding automatically to her scent. Burrowing her nose in my neck, she inhales, and it's like everything has shifted in that moment. Somehow, someway, the months of broken and shattered connections are re-bound.
Soft lips press against my neck as she rolls her hips. The prospect of an orgasm delivered by something other than my own hand has me hard in seconds.
“Show me. Show me you still love me, please.” Her plea is soft and needy. She's so vulnerable. More vulnerable and exposed than I think I've ever seen.
Lifting my hips, I tug my pants down. I say a silent prayer for no splinters in my ass. They'd be worth it, though. Worth this reconnection, this moment.
Bella's hips leave mine and she pulls her pajama pants down, too. Her breathing accelerates and her skin has a warm flush on it, despite the cool air. I stop to unfold the blanket, wrapping it around us both, using it to bring her closer to me.
“I love you,” I whisper against her skin. “I love you so fucking much.” The fear in my voice is evident. Will she dig deeper into my heart, only to hurt me more?
Moving her hands down my body, she grabs me, stroking slowly. My own hands follow the same path down her body, my fingers pushing between her lower lips, teasing. She sighs and presses against me harder, even more needy, and brings me to her entrance.
“I love you,” she chokes out, quiet sobs wracking her body as she lowers onto me. “I'm so lost, Edward. Help me.” Her voice turns into a whisper on the wind, her pain carried away from us as she speaks.
Does she think this will fix everything? Do I?
I want to fuck her, hard and fast, remind her of what she's been missing. Instead, I bring her to a slow, sweet climax. It's not about me this time, and I realize in that moment that I don't need it to be. I need to figure out how to help her. How to help us.
I cover each area I can reach with soft, gentle touches. Silent promises. Lying in my arms, spent, she lets the sobs go even more. I can barely hear her apologies, tangled in and braided with the tears, but they're there.
My eyes fix on the ocean, endless waves crashing and receding. The hope that my wife is on her way back to me begins to mend the tears in my soul.