Thursday, June 24, 2010

Nostalgicmiss Week 7 Entry: Come Back To Me


Nostalgicmiss's Choice: Both

Come Back To Me

Note: Sorry didn't have time to have it beta'd and I'm not happy with it at all. :)

Time, it moves so slowly when you're waiting for something to happen, but the moment you want it to stop, to give you more, it motors on regardless.

We'd both been so young when he was drafted, his birthday picked by chance by a collection of politicians who could have cared less for the boys picked. Boys. That was the point, all of them so young; sent out to fight in a war that they had wanted nothing to do with.

I remember the day perfectly, it was a summers day, we'd been in the park ignoring what we knew was being televised around the country. We didn't want to know if he'd been picked because it would make everything too real. The pictures they showed on the television were so full of violence that even having to think about what was going to happen was just too much.

"Edward, Edward!" Mrs. Cullen's voice had been frantic as she'd run down the embankment that led to the lake we were sat beside. Her usually perfectly designed hair falling out of the neat arrangement and trailing behind her like honey colored fire.

My heart sank the moment I heard her voice because I knew, I knew the news she was coming to deliver.

"No," I whispered, my mouth drying and palms sweating. "No, not you."

Edward's arms enclosed me in a tight grip, his breath was quiet and shallow as he swallowed his own emotions to comfort me. It shouldn't have been this way. I should be the one comforting him.

"Edward," Esme cried, falling to her knees and wrapping her arms around us. "Not my baby. God, please, not my baby."

My blood ran cold regardless of the heated summer air. My skin pebbled with the goose flesh that pushed my heart into my throat. I wanted to scream, I wanted to take him and run across the Canadian border like so many others did, but I knew he would leave with me. I knew he would honor the commitment the government had given him.

Esme stayed with us on that embankment for hours, simply looking out onto the lake her eyes shimmering with the constant flux of tears she'd been shedding since she'd found us. I had bitten my sobs back and tried with everything I could to stay strong for the man I loved.

"Bella," he whispered, his deep green eyes full of emotion. "Marry me, give me a reason to come home, give me a reason to stay alive, give me a reason to breathe."

"Yes," I answered without any thought. Esme's choked sob filled the silence following my answer as I stared at him stunned. I was eighteen years old, my whole life in front of me. Yet it was a life I had always planned with him, never had I once looked into the future and imagined it without him in it. It was simply natural of me to answer so immediately, because it's what I had always wanted.

Edward's arms closed around me and crushed what little breath in my lungs out of them. His breath was hot on my shoulder as his body shook against mine.

"I love you," he whispered, his lips finding the column of my neck as he ignored his mom's presence in this intimate moment.

"And I you."

He pulled away briefly to find my eyes again, but I knew what he would find there. I was decided. A hundred percent decided on this and there was no talking me out of it.

"Mom?" he whispered, my favorite smile breaking out on his lips. "How do you feel about planning a wedding? I want to be married before I ship out."

"Edward, that's . . ."

"Plenty of time," he finished, the pleading in his voice making my heart bleed.

"I'll get started now," Esme whispered, leaning forward to kiss the top of his head, before taking a deep breath and composing herself. We both watched her stand and turn toward the embankment with a loaded breath.

I had wanted more time with him, I hadn't wanted time to speed up and take away the moments we cherished with one another. Instead, our days were filled with him, going into the city for his physical and then getting his letter to report, and preparing to leave and me getting fitted for dresses and going through minute details.

Every chance we got we sneaked away from the chaos of war and weddings, we held one another in silence, our fingers exploring the others face and body as we memorized the lines and planes of the other. He was imprinted into my mind after that, when I closed my eyes at night I clung to his face as it danced behind my lids, even though he was still with me, I needed that, I needed him.

We were married the day before he shipped out, both of us were nervous, but not because of what we were doing together, but what came after that. The leaving. It scared me most of all because I would be safe, but he would not. He was going to war where guns were fired and bombs detonated. Soldiers came home in boxes everyday, but they continued to send more out, risking more lives.

Our vows were short and from the heart, both of us had poured everything we meant to one another into the words that would be spoken for our family and friends to hear. Such a happy event, but it was tainted with the what if's, the sadness of what would follow.

We danced into the night and left silently without letting hardly anybody know. Edward had feared the goodbyes, and I had promised him I would save him the burden of the ones he needed to say. Esme and Carlisle were waiting in the house with mom and dad. They were the only four that would know we were leaving so early and each of them understood why.

Our first night as a married couple would be the last night together for a while.

The tears were thick, the emotions heady as each of our parents embraced him with love. He promised to write to them so they would know he was alright and they in turn promised to keep me safe from harm while he was gone. My heart broke with every embrace, my eyes clouded with every utterance of love and fear.

They waved at us as Edward and I climbed in his car and drove toward the hotel by the train station. From there he would go and report to the barracks. A sob broke through my chest as we drove past the station and pulled up at the hotel.

"Don't think about it tonight, love. Tonight, it's me and you. Tonight we're Mr. and Mrs. Cullen."

I nodded and swept the tears from my eyes as the music poured from the hotel and into the night. Creedence Clearwater Revival's Lookin' out my back door was blaring as the voices from the bar rose and fell in lilting whispers.

"We've got another one," someone shouted from the door, stumbling from the hotel with a beautiful blonde under his arm. Her white dress fell to the floor, her hair in simple ringlets hung over her shoulders as her red rimmed eyes washed over me.

"Emmett, you fool, they're stood four feet in front of you. There's no need to shout," she rolled her eyes and wavered on the spot. "You two get hitched tonight too?"

I nodded, knowing exactly how this girl in front of me felt.

"Well, if you want my advice, bypass the party, free beer to all those shipping out and it's not a pretty sight. I'm Rosalie Ha . . . McCarty actually now I've gone and married this big oaf."

"Oaf? Woman who are you calling an oaf?"

"You, Emmett," she laughed, her long fingers stroking his face. "Now, are you gonna take me to bed? I'm pretty sure Mr. and Mrs. . . ."

"Cullen," Edward said, his hand squeezing my waist tightly.

"Cullen, have the same plans as we do," she grinned.

We said goodnight as politely as possible and headed to our room. Neither of us slept though, we made love all night, our sweaty bodies becoming one every chance we had. He took me until I screamed his name, he took me again and made a mantra of my name. All night neither of us closed our eyes. Even as we held one another shivering, our eyes drank in the others form until we could no longer resist the space between us.

By the time dawn loomed on the horizon, both of us were fighting for breath; our bodies damp and tangled in the sheets.

We showered together, taking our time to run our hands over the rises and falls of the others body. I knew every indentation of muscle on his stomach, the feel of his slick skin on mine. The width of his shoulders, everything was stored in my memory and I swore that if anything was different when he got back into my arms, I would get the retribution myself.

In his uniform, he was beautiful. The olive color brought out the green in his eyes and highlighted the sadness that emanated from them. We walked slowly to the platform, me in the same stupid wedding dress because I had forgotten to take anything with me.

"I feel like an idiot," I mumbled, walking toward the station holding his hand as though I would fall apart without it.

"You look beautifully, baby. This is how I want to remember you."

I could feel the blush rise in my cheeks, I knew how I would remember him, and I knew that I would long for him in the same way until he returned to me.

"Give me one minute, I'll be right back," he whispered, his lips pressing into my temple.

I gave him one nod and wandered down the platform trying to ignore the hollow feeling that swept through me. There were couples all along the side of the train, embracing and saying goodbye. I saw Rosalie and Emmett close to the end, both of them tangled against one another, so close their bodies looked as though they were one.

I understood that need to be close. It was like a second nature to me now, and I couldn't stop my fingers tangling in the delicate layers of my dress as they waiting to be against Edward again. How could I survive without him? I'd thought. It had been five endless minutes and I was already a mess.

I paced back and forth, my eyes scanning the crowd of olive green uniforms amongst the myriad of colors of the people clinging to them. Where was he?

A hand appeared from the trains door beside me, a small but beautiful bouquet of my favorite long stemmed daisies were clasped it, shaking slightly. Some petals toppled from the flowers, but I couldn't help my smile, he knew me so well.

"Thank you," I whispered, taking them from him and holding them against my heart. "They're beautiful."

Edward stepped from the carriage of the train and wrapped his arms around me, my body bowing against his as his lips once again found mine. I drowned in him, knowing this would be the last time I would kiss him before he left. There was already an announcement about the departure of the train and I couldn't stop my nails digging into his shoulders in an attempt to keep him with me.

"I love you, Isabella Cullen, Forever and always."

"I love you, Edward Cullen."

He released me as someone brushed past us, his lips swept over mine too briefly as he stepped back into the carriage of the train. I couldn't do this, I couldn't let him go.

"I love you," he mouthed, his smile sad.

"I love you more," I mouthed back.

The doors slid closed between us and I fought the urge to scream and hammer my fists against them. I couldn't let him see the pain, I needed to be strong for him.

A set of arms closed around my shoulders and I looked up to see Rosalie fighting the pooling tears with a bright smile and an unwavering wave. We were in the same situation, her and I, and as soon as I saw Emmett step up beside Edward and clap him on the shoulder I knew I would cling to her. She would be the only one to understand my sullen moods and pain.

The train pulled out of the station, rather than running along beside it, my arms wrapped around Rosalie's waist. We stood there in silence until the sound of the train had faded, the crowd dispersed from around us but we held our place.

The station was completely empty before either of us said a word.

"I hate this," Rosalie sniffed, her free hand brushing her golden hair back over her shoulder. "I hate that he's going to do something he doesn't believe in. I hate that he had no choice. This isn't democracy."

"I know," I whispered, releasing her waist and picking up the hand that had just released my shoulders. "Rosalie, do you think we could possibly have coffee?"

"Yes, I would love to. Let's go to my room and get you some clothes first," she smiled, tugging my hand and leading me from the station.

After that we had coffee twice a week and talked on the phone often. She had become a good friend to me, and like I had assumed, she was the only one that could talk me out of panic and black moods when there was no correspondence from Edward or Emmett.

We leaned on one another, both of us accepting the weight because we bore the same burden. The television showed more horrific pictures by the day, Rosalie and I would spend more and more time together as the weeks rolled into months.

More often than not I would spend the evenings in the bar she sang at, sipping on a sweet drink Rosalie had always favored. We were the best of friends, and it was easy to see from the letters Emmett and Edward had built a similar friendship between them.

It was almost eight months to the day that he'd left. One of the rare occasion I was at home in the empty house Esme had helped me find for rent while he was away. I was cleaning up, dusting around the house because I kept the windows open.

The knock at the door was brutal. My eyes moved to the window and I could see that it was an official military vehicle. My knees buckled but I caught myself on the back of the couch. I breathed in a couple of times before heading to the door.

Pulling it open I tried to keep my face a calm mask, inside i screamed. Longed for this to not be what I knew it could be.

"Mrs. Edward Cullen?" The solemn soldier asked, his face an emotionless mask.

"Yes, that's me," I choked out around the lump in my throat.

He started talking to me, shoving a envelope in my hand. He gave me a sad nod and turned around to leave. Nothing he'd said registered and the paper in my hands felt like a hundred pounds of weight rather than the mere ounces.

I stumbled back into the house and fell into the couch, leaning forward to put the envelope on the table. I stared at it for hours, calling Rosalie to come to me. I couldn't open it alone, not knowing what was inside.

Rosalie arrived as darkness swept over everything in my home. I knew I should call Esme, but I didn't have the strength to comfort her yet. I needed time, I needed to know.

"Bella," Rosalie walked in without a knock with had become common place for us, she fell onto the couch next to me her shaking hands picking up mine.

"Can you . . ." I stuttered, my wet lashes dancing on my cheeks. "Can you read it for me?"

Rosalie nodded one and leaned forward to pick up the envelope. Her trembling hands separated the the edge and pulled out the thin sheet of paper. Her eyes scanned the page and she blew out her breath making her cheeks swell with the effort.

"He's alive, Bella he's alive. He's in the military hospital in California. He's been injured, but he's alive." She shoved the paper into my hand and rubbed my back. My eyes scanned the sheet and tears of relief fell from my cheeks.

"I have to go to him," I whispered, my voice a hoarse whisper.

"Of course," Rosalie laughed, her hands tangling through my hair. "Come on I'll help you pack."

An hour later I was on a train waving to Rosalie and Edward's parents as the train pulled out of the station. I was restless the entire journey, I needed to pace. It had said he was injured, but alive. There was no explanation of his injuries either and I had to prepare myself to see him broken.

The journey seemed to last a lifetime, when the train finally pulled into the station I heaved my bags from the car and dragged it from the station, climbing into a taxi and giving him my destination. I could see the guys sad nod of understanding as he drove toward the hospital. He kept his silence, but i could see that he wanted to reassure me in some way.

The darkness made it impossible to see anything, but the lights of the hospital popped up in the inky darkness like a beacon of hope. I paid the driver and stepped out, rushing toward the doors knowing I was close to seeing him, so close.

I barged into the reception area and sprinted toward a nurse who was sat behind a desk.

"I'm sorry visiting hours are . . ."

I was not accepting no for an answer.

"I received a telegram about my husband today, I've been traveling for hours and I want to see him now."

"I'm sorry, but . . ."

"Now." I insisted, brushing my hands through my wild tangled hair.

"One moment please."

She raised her eyebrows at me as she picked up a phone, I backed away giving her some privacy. If I was denied entrance I would act anyway. I would force my way into the hospital to see him because my mind wouldn't rest until I saw those green eyes.

"What's your husband's name?"

"Edward Cullen."

She went back to the phone and spoke quietly before sighing and hanging up.

"Okay, Mrs. Cullen . . ."

She gave me direction and let me through the doors to the back. My feet hammered against the linoleum until I found the room I required. I pushed against it and stepped inside a large ward. Men were groaning in pain as nurses flitted through them trying to ease their burdens. Soft voices and whispers of machines filled the air as I scanned the beds for Edward.

He was all the way in the back, propped up in bed, his eyes closed.

I ran to him, gaining disapproving glares from the nurses as I weaved through the beds and machinery. I didn't care though, I wanted to see him awake, I wanted to see his eyes meet mine.

I stopped beside the bed, my eyes surveyed his body for injuries.

"Bella?" his voice, liquid silk and hoarse with pain danced over my skin as I let my eyes meet his.

"Hi baby," I smiled, leaning over the bed and capturing his lips with mine.

"Is this a dream?"

"No," I shook my head the tears tumbling over the lids and staining my cheeks. My hands caressed his cheeks, my thumbs brushing over the apples of his cheeks. "What happened?"

Edward explained quietly about an ambush, his words were broken and spread out as he winced with pain. He'd taken a bullet, two inches to the right and it would have been deadly.

"I'm sorry, you had to see me like this," he whispered, his hand reaching for mine.

"I love you," I sighed. "You brought yourself home to me, never apologize for that."

His eyes closed, and tears ran down his face. I knew he was haunted by the memories of what he'd seen, haunted by a bloody battle that almost killed him. I would get us through this, I would help him forget with time. Yet, I would never forget the fulfillment of this promise.

He'd come back to me.