Saturday, Sept. 26
(3 days ago)
This entry is an epic setback in my journal of the good things. Once again, I fucked things up. I'm not even capable of holding it together for a single week. All I can say is, I'm sorry. I'm sorry that I yelled at you, for my impatience, my temper. I'm so sorry I made you cry. I didn't mean to hurt you.
But Annie, you were wrong... so wrong!
The things you said, and how you said them. And then the flickering. It was a faint, translucent flickering, but it was there, and I couldn't bear to see you flicker. Not you. This wasn't right.
I'm not saying this as an excuse. There is no excuse for what I did.
Kiddo stared at the opulent bouquet on my kitchen table; I could see his mind working. He traced one of the hyacinth blossoms with his finger and said, "I didn't know you like flowers. I've never seen any here before."
I sighed. "No, I don't care too much about flowers. James brought them. I mean... Tom, my neighbor. He came to apologize."
I walked over to him and wrapped my arms around his waist from behind, snuggling my face against his back. "Yes, he was really sorry about everything, you know, getting abusive towards you and me. But we talked about it and straightened things out. It's a good thing, don't you think? I mean, with your probation and everything, it's good that he's not going to make a big deal about the uhm... controversy you two had."
"He was very disrespectful to you, and he hurt you," Kiddo stated gravely.
"Tom and I are friends, Edward. We had a fight, he apologized, we talked it out, and we made up with each other. That's what friends are supposed to do."
His tense posture highly signaled objection, but he didn't comment on my little speech. Instead he picked something out of the flowers and held it up; it was a small envelope. "Here's a card," he muttered.
"Oh? I didn't even notice - let's see!" I took the envelope from his hands and opened it, still with my arms around his waist. When I pulled the card out, I knew immediately I was in trouble...
Damn you, James!
"Have fun, baby!
When you're done with him, let me know.
Ready when you are.
It wasn't the card that made me upset. Not really. That guy is a prick, whatever you say, and friend or not. But he means nothing to me. I can't even bring myself to regret having thrashed him up the other day. At best, I regret that I didn't break his nose for real. Just because what he had written was so incredibly rude. Ok, maybe it made me upset. But not too bad.
In fact, I considered his bold note as a royal fuck-up on his own behalf, and I was quite positive that his flowers would end up in the trash, or better yet, in his face. I mean, you hadn't even seen the card until then. And now that you had, I expected you to get mad at him. But you didn't.
At first, I couldn't believe I really understood you when you said it was just a joke about what you and he had talked about. The way you downplayed it, your carelessness when you waved that guy's insolence off took my breath away. Just a joke? Did you really not see what he was aiming at? Did you not feel how those words tainted everything that was between us?
I didn't even want to know what you and he had talked about that had made him write such crap. But there was no stopping you. You said he had realized that he had no right to be angry or jealous; since he'd had several short-time affairs himself in the past which you'd never had held against him. And if he could play around for a little variety, there was no reason why you shouldn't take the same freedom. You said, he was 'cool with it' now, and that's why he said, 'Have fun!'.
You could as well have stabbed me with a knife and turned the blade around with every word. Short-time affair? Play around? A little variety? It hurt. So bad.
But isn't it ironic? Up to this moment I had resigned myself so damn well to my lowered expectations, that I never really had considered myself to be more to you than a 'short-time affair'. Not in such dismissive terms, but something along those lines. Because that was the way my mind worked. Even after everything that had changed in the past week, every time I was with you I had successfully put those thoughts to the back of my mind. But they would still eat me from the inside in your absence, and I had taken it as a given fact that what we had wouldn't last for long.
Still trouble believing in the good things, I guess.
But to hear you say those things, somehow hit a switch inside of me. This wasn't right.
I deserved better.
This thought... what a rush! I'd never stood up for myself before, never claimed anything. The thought was nauseating, frightening. It scared the living daylights out of me. But the truth of it was overwhelming.
I. Deserved. Better.
I know, I once said I didn't mind if you didn't love me back. But that was before you came and changed everything. You changed me, Annie, and there's no taking it back. You told me I deserve happiness. Well, now I wanted happiness! And hearing that you'd sold me out to that douchebag Tom as a toy for 'a little variety', didn't make me happy at all.
However, it still wasn't what elicited the Black.
I couldn't even feel it coming.
I stayed very calm, didn't I, when I told you that I was hurt and disappointed. That I didn't want to be treated like a puppy that had followed you home. That I wanted this to last, wanted you to stay with me. To stay with me a hell of a lot longer than the ridiculous timeframe I had allowed myself to hope for until now.
I didn't even raise my voice when I said that I wished so fucking badly for you to be mine. To stop being embarrassed about us, and especially in front of that asshole who called himself your friend while he was pissing on your feelings with his dick in his hand.
For the first time I didn't just take what I was offered, but told you I wanted more. And it felt right.
I fucking knew you cared about me, a lot! And I fucking wanted you to say so. This time, I didn't leave you the excuse of a passionate moment or post-coital bliss to ignore my declaration.
And it felt so right.
We were fully dressed, it was bright daylight, and there was a seven foot distance between us when I said the words.
When I said, I love you.
It felt so right.
Not a hint of a Black at all.
I swear, I couldn't feel it coming.
But your next words wiped out every color.
"No, you don't!" I yelled at him. "You have no idea what you're talking about. God, you're practically a kid, Edward - you don't even know what love is." My heart was racing. Damn, this was exactly what never should have happened. Worst case scenario!
His shoulders slumped forward and his eyelids fluttered. "Annie, don't..."
Easy, Portman... damage control. Now.
"Edward, I'm sorry if I've lead you to believe that this is more than a little... romance, but I never promised you anything, right? On the contrary, I told you... that girlfriend thing... look, I do care about you, really, but we can't be... I don't want that responsibility."
Great! Very eloquent... fuck!
"Responsib... what? Jesus, Annie!"
"Look, you're sweet, and I enjoy the hell out of you, but we both know this isn't going to last, don't we? You're so young! You'll find some nice girl and-"
"No, Annie. NO!"
I winced at his sudden outbreak, speechless. He'd never shouted at me before. Oh, he was definitely pissed off! He grabbed the back of the kitchen chair next to him so tight that his knuckles went white, and then he took a deep breath and closed his eyes. "Don't fucking treat me like I'm a 12-year-old," he growled at me, "This is not you; you don't mean it!"
"I mean every single word, Edward, I assure you."
"No, you don't!" His fist landed on the table top with a bang. "This is bullshit, you fucking flicker like a broken tube! And how can you let that motherfucker talk like that about me... about us, and not give him hell right away? How can you fucking agree with him, just because he bought you fucking green stuff? This is all kinds of wrong, and I... fuck!"
He was huffing, hands clenched into tight fists, and he opened and shut his mouth a few times as if he wanted to say something, but had trouble getting it out. I guess I should have seen the signs, but I was simply too pissed off myself. Kiddo yelling expletives at me? Banging on the table? On MY table? No way...
"Will you please calm down, for crying out loud? What the fuck is wrong with you?"
Yes, I should have known better, but I didn't realize that he was on the edge of a black episode, until the vase with Tom's flowers shattered against the wall right next to my head, sprinkling me with water and porcelain smithereens. I squealed and buried my face in my hands. And then I heard Kiddo shout, wheezing between the words, as if they were strangling him.
"...I ...DESERVE ...BETTER!"
I said it. Or rather, shouted it.
And no bolt of lightning came out of the sky to strike me down. Who knew?
It almost killed me to get those words out, they were choking me. They fought me, they struggled to be kept inside with claws and teeth, ripping my chest and throat open in the process, and it took all my strength to not just swallow them down again.
At the same time, my world was getting dark; I realized I was about to lose my shit while I was in the same room with you, and I panicked. I needed to get out of your apartment, away from you. But I also needed to speak. Now. Speak, and then run before it was too late. With a feeling as if they were cutting me open from the inside, I forced the words out the very moment the Black enveloped me completely.
There was an inarticulate cry. Heart-piercing. Animalistic. I only realized that I had emitted that terrifying roar myself, when the world around me suddenly erupted in light.
I remember how I stumbled backwards until I found something to hold on, and I sank down on the edge of the table, shaking and panting. The last fragments of darkness resolved into the margins of my range of vision, and I tried to grasp how I had just made it out of a full-blown Black... just like that. Unbelievable. My head was swimming, and I would have turned euphoric. But then I looked up and saw that the damage was already done. My perception was weirdly heightened, the scene laid out in front of me was painfully bright and sharp.
You with your back against the wall.
You with your face hidden behind your hands.
Your blouse drenched with water.
Flowers and shards in a puddle at your feet.
It still gives me a chill as I'm writing this down. God, I can't believe I had thrown the fucking vase at you. There are no words to say how sorry I am. Something like that wasn't supposed to happen... ever! But I'm so glad you weren't hurt; I would have never forgiven myself if I'd hurt you. But I didn't know then. See Annie, I didn't know the vase had missed you. That's why I freaked out.
I have no idea when or how, but apparently, I had smashed your chair too. I tumbled over its parts on the floor when I rushed to check on you, but I didn't care. There were small fragments of the broken vase in your hair, and you just wouldn't take your hands off your face. You just wouldn't take them off! I could only think, 'Her face! Oh God, her eyes!' I almost expected to see blood running down from between your fingers. I called your name, again and again. I didn't mean to yell at you, but I was half insane, Annie, I thought the vase had hit you.
I wanted to pry your hands off of your face, but you vehemently flinched from my touch. You started thrashing around, blindly striking at me. I was almost sure at that point that I had seriously damaged your face. And then you screamed...
I screamed at him; I was absolutely fucking hysterical. I couldn't bear him touching me or even talking to me. The only thing I wanted was for him to get out of my apartment. Out of my life.
I definitely had underestimated the nature of his condition, his savageness. Though he had warned me often enough. 'The mind of a killer,' he had said. I had taken it as a colorful metaphor then, but I saw the truth of it in his eyes, a second before the vase missed my face by a hairbreadth. I had never seen him like this, not even when he had been so mad at Law's.
I covered my face with my hands. Not only to keep any flying porcelain pieces from hitting me, but also because I was quite certain Kiddo would come for me and attack me. In that moment I realized I was witnessing the infamous Black, and it scared the shit out of me. And when I heard this absolutely inhuman roar along with the noise of something breaking, I burst into tears and started shaking violently.
Oh God, he's going to hurt me...
"Annie, take your hands away, please, let me see your face. Annie, please... are you hurt? Let me see your face," he was pleading first, but started yelling soon.
It was when I felt his hands on mine that I instinctively stroke out wildly and screamed at him, telling him to go away. He stopped at once. Into the silence I heard him whisper, "I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to... God, I'm sorry."
I slowly removed my hands and turned to him. The murderous look in his eyes had been replaced by one of deep consternation, and he held his arms up in a defensive gesture, assuring me that he wouldn't touch me. His lids fluttered briefly, and then he moaned, "Oh thank God, you're ok!"
Ok? Was he nuts?
"I am. Not. Ok," I snarled, not taking my eyes off of him, because I honestly expected him to go ballistic once again any moment.
"I know," Edward replied and took a step back, as if to give me space. As if he knew I needed that. My fear and anger slowly subsided. From the corner of my eye I saw the pathetic remainders of my chair. How much strength was needed to break a solidly mortised, wooden chair? This was madness! I looked back into those green eyes, searching for any signs of the Hulk I'd seen in action. But the monster was gone. And somehow Kiddo was gone too. There was just... Edward.
"I can fix that," he said.
I wasn't sure whether he meant the chair, or everything else. But it didn't make a difference anyway. "I don't want you to," I answered, "I want you to leave."
And then I closed my eyes again, because I couldn't bear the way his gaze changed into something like molten emerald. I just wanted to be alone again. This whole Annie-Edward thing, whatever it was, had spiraled out of control. Like an ill-fated relationship in time lapse, to the point of my number one hard limit within just a few days: domestic violence. I wasn't going to have that. Ever again. No testosterone-ridden tantrums in my life. It was a promise I had made to myself a long time ago. It was the reason why I wouldn't let a man sleep in my bed. It was the reason why I'd never made a copy of my apartment key. It was the reason why the story of Annie and Edward had to end right now. I had already broken far too many rules with him.
"Annie," he started, and then I heard him swallow hard. "I can't really explain it, but something just happened. And I can promise you, you will never see me like that again."
This was so much cliché that it hurt. They always promise that. And it doesn't mean a thing. If I didn't stop this now, it would happen again and again, and each time he would promise the same thing, and break the promise the same way.
Don't listen to him, Portman, you know how this goes...
"I'm sorry that the Black took over, this was never supposed to happen. I'm glad I didn't hurt you, not physically at least. But Annie, I can't..."
His breathing hitched while he was struggling again, searching for words. And when he continued, he seemed to be much closer than before; I could feel his breath on my cheek.
"Annie, I won't take anything back of what I said. I meant every word. And please, I'm begging you... think about it. Think about us."
I didn't answer. Was he trying to guilt-trip me? Was he really telling me what just had happened was my own fault? Fuck yes; he was following the average wife beater's handbook! And why the fuck did this shit still work? I suddenly felt so terribly guilty I wanted to throw up.
"I know you care for me, Annie. I don't know if you love me. I think you do, but... I don't know for sure. I told you I can't read your mind like that; you have to tell me what you're thinking."
Oh sure... quoting Twilight to make me yield? Son of a bitch!
"You never said it, and I didn't mind until now. Because you never said that you don't love me either. But you sort of did so today, and this is... it's just... "
Please, God... Dr. Cullen... anyone... shut him up!
He drew in a ragged breath, as if he needed to pluck up all his courage, before he gasped out his next words, "... it's just fucking not acceptable."
No matter how much I tried to will back the tears I felt newly welling up – it was a lost cause. And if I kept on squeezing my eyes shut like this, they would only overflow sooner. So I forced myself to look at him, and all I could think of was how gorgeous he was, and how screwed up and scary at the same time, with those demons inside of him that he couldn't control and I definitely couldn't deal with. What had I been thinking? That I was the one who could untame the lion and get away with it unharmed?
Way to go, Portman!
But God, he was so beautiful... the way he stood there, his shoulder leaning against the wet spot on the wall. His hand was hovering only inches away from my cheek, he was aching to touch me, but apparently was waiting for some permission of sorts, any sign from me that I would let him. When he moved a little closer, I flinched, and his fingers clenched.
"It's not acceptable," he repeated in a strained voice, "because I do love you, Annie. With all my heart. I love you and I still hope... no, I still want you to be my girlfriend."
Fuck! The G-word again... what do I have to do to make him stop?
"If you really want me to go, I'll go. It will... kill me, Annie, but if you really want me to -" His voice broke with the last words, but he stood tall and his gaze didn't sway as he finished, "You just need to look me in the eye and say that you don't love me. And I will leave right now."
And stupid me! Without thinking, I clutched at the last straw he was holding out to me. Too desperate to ease the pressure and get rid of the vise that had closed around my heart more and more during Kiddo's speech, I mindlessly blurted it out.
"I don't love you."
He didn't even blink. As if my words hadn't come across. But I knew they had, and I immediately wanted to take them back as I watched his eyes fall dead... lifeless. He stood there and stared right through me, stiff as a statue, like he had stopped breathing. After a few seconds I noticed that was exactly what he had done.
"Breathe, Edward!" I demanded, and he finally sucked in a noisy breath.
Without another word, he turned on his heel, snatched his jacket and backpack off the floor and went for the door. He paused, with his hand on the knob, but didn't turn around. He just slightly tilted his head, so I could see his profile when he opened his mouth to speak,
"Be careful when you... pick up the pieces."
Then the door fell shut behind him, and he was gone.
The words didn't really reach me. It was so surreal to hear you say - actually SAY out loud - that you don't love me... the words didn't even trigger anything in my vision. They were nothing but hollow sounds without any meaning. Colorless, motionless sounds.
I felt absolutely nothing.
And then you ordered me to breathe, and I did. Still I felt nothing. The only thing I understood was that you wanted me to go. I think it wasn't before I had stepped out of your apartment and the door clicked shut behind me, that it sank in and I started shaking all over. I needed some time, don't know how long, to fight back the panic attack. And then I just stood there and waited.
I could hear you move around the apartment as you cleaned up the mess I had made. You were talking to yourself occasionally, but I couldn't make out any words. After a while the noises stopped. And I waited. I wasn't quite sure what I was waiting for, but I had the strong feeling I would miss something important if I didn't stay. My mind showed me different scenarios, like you would call my name, asking me to come back. Or you would open the door and take me in your arms. At some point I thought I heard you quietly say my name, but I knew my mind was playing tricks on me. Yet I kept on waiting.
I just didn't believe you, you know? I refused to believe that you didn't love me. Every single cell in my body was objecting, crying angrily. Little electric tears. My heart was beating its denial, 'not true... not true... not true...' Yes, like that.
It was dark outside when I finally gave up waiting for you. Something like embarrassment crept into my numbness, when I realized that I was lingering at your door like a stray. Since when did I care about my dignity? What was this... pride? Self-esteem? You changed me a lot more than we both knew. No, I wasn't going to beg you to take me back. I'd just go. I could do this.
Sure... I turned to your door once more and listened intensively before I reached out for the stair-rail. There was nothing but silence. But when I slowly started to descend, I heard something, and I think I groaned...