Bella seems to attract every queer person within a ten mile radius. Vampires, werewolves... She's seen it all. But what she's missing is a human friend. And of course, Bella wouldn't be Bella unless that person was strange and possibly dangerous, too. Mythical creature expertise doesn't always help with humans.
There are a few things to say about this story : Amelia often thinks about drugs, drinking, suicide, etc. Although the actual act is never shown in my story, I suggest you don't read on if those topics make you uneasy. It's nothing major, though. I would like to thank my beta, bloodredskies for editing my work. She went through each chapter for me, and has been a great help. And lastly, I'd like to remind everyone to review. It's honestly the best gift you can give to any author, and how else could I improve if I don't know what you're thinking? Just spare me a minute once you're done.
18. In Mourning
Rating 5/5 Word Count 2503 Review this Chapter
Edward led Bella by the hand to the middle of the now empty lawn, and then drew her closer to himself. Bella reluctantly placed her palm on her husband's shoulder, looking at the ground the entire time and yet again shaking like a leaf in front of the big audience, then sighed once more before looking up into the seeking eyes of Edward. The latter smiled and straightened up.
The music started.
The melody was so unbearably sweet, so heart shattering, that I couldn't help but melt at the sound of the harmonious notes tied together. I stared at the bride and groom openmouthed, and sank on my seat at the sight of their bodies flowing along to the music, twirling and swaying in perfect tempo.
I couldn't believe it, but here was the proof. Bella could dance.
After some minutes of staring at the lovers in awe, Renée and Carlisle stood up to join them on the lawn. Edward unwillingly released Bella and left her to his father's care, while he took the next dance with the bride's mother. This time the dancing looked rather awkward, as Bella was quite stiff in Carlisle's arms. It didn't take long for them to part again and the rest of the wedding party to join in.
I shrank back, and hoped that nobody would notice the one missing dancer.
But – it appeared to be some tradition in Forks – all my hope was in vain, as I soon saw Bella and Edward approaching me from behind the large mass of people. Their hands were linked, and I could see Bella slightly leaning against Edward's shoulder as they walked, the latter looking thoroughly heavenly with his tux and uneven smile.
"You're not dancing, Amelia!" Bella accused me, smiling under her husband's arm.
I frowned at her, and then rolled my eyes as I saw her laugh at my expression. Of course I wasn't dancing. Had she expected anything else?
"It's all right. I understand. Not everyone likes to dance."
It wasn't that I didn't particularly like dancing. That part wasn't the problem. What hindered me from ever stepping on a dance floor was the fact that I was utterly, absolutely useless at it.
Of course Bella wouldn't understand that. Not when she had the talent that I lacked.
"Mind if I sit down?" Miraculously, Edward had disappeared somewhere into the crowd, and only Bella remained to look down at me with a sad smile. Alarm bells started ringing again in my head – funny how that seemed to happen constantly, nowadays – but I nodded, and let Bella fill in the empty seat beside me. The hem of her wedding dress dropped all the way to the ground.
"I need to tell you something, and ask you for a favor."
I snapped my head up in surprise to see if she was serious. Nobody ever asked me for favors, ever.
But remembering the complicated last weeks, I was wary when I answered, not wanting to commit myself to something I wouldn't be able to do. "What do you need? From me?"
"It's nothing bad, I promise," Bella assured me, placing her hand over mine. "I wanted to ask you if you could meet me somewhere after the reception. Or in the evening, actually. So that I can say goodbye."
I wasn't oblivious to the tears that were filling her eyes, or the way her lip quivered once it closed again.
I only hoped I didn't look the same.
There was a silent moment, which gave my brain cells the time to restart. Finally I was able to ask: "Goodbye?"
It wasn't that I hadn't expected it. The way Bella had said it out loud had just made it sound so final.
"Yeah." Her voice was just about non-existent, so I had to rely on my lip-reading talents to understand what she wanted to say.
I swallowed once and took a deep breath, hoping to prevent my own voice from breaking. "Sure. What time?"
"Eight o'clock? On the road leading away from Forks?"
Away from Forks. I'd never have thought those words would sound so painful.
I gulped back my sob, and nodded in agreement. This wasn't something I was going to miss, not for any price.
Bella nodded too, and quickly stood up and walked away again. Her hand was up on her face, making her look as though she were crying.
I knew who she was looking for in the crowd. And that knowledge made me want to cover my face, too.
I'm not entirely sure about what happened after our little talk. I know the cake was cut at some point, and all the guests had amused themselves with dancing until late in the afternoon. The wedding party was cheerfully ignorant about the real reason of all the festivities.
What I remember clearly is my want – or rather the gnawing need – to climb onto the table and scream the truth in their faces, so the jolly expressions would disappear. All these people were friends or family members of the bride and groom; how could they be so absolutely oblivious to what was happening around them?
Stop the celebrations and mourn! Grieve for the loss of your most loyal friend!
I imagined all the shocked expressions that would appear if I revealed Bella's real intentions. What would Charlie say? He wouldn't let his only daughter be stolen away by some high school sweetheart, would he? He would fight alongside me, and would even put a straightjacket on her if necessary.
But then again, I was the one they would be leading away in a straightjacket if I shouted such obscurities.
Still, the merry, happy atmosphere of the party disgusted me to my deepest, and I soon felt desperate to escape.
Finally some of the gathering started clearing, and I was granted the chance to flee.
Without saying goodbye to the bride and groom – not even mentioning the hostess, Alice – I ran to the crammed driveway of the mansion and called my father with the cell he had lent me. He'd have to leave the party now, too, so he could bring me back home.
As I waited for Jack to pick up, small raindrops started falling to the ground. I put my arms over my head to protect my black-rimmed eyes. I didn't need my make-up to smudge right now. Pick up, Jack, pick up!
After twenty-three rings, I had to accept that he wasn't going to pick up.
"Damn it!" I almost threw the phone on the hard forest ground, but thought better of it – after all, it was my only hope of ever getting home. Asking one of the cheerful guests for a ride wouldn't only have been extremely humiliating, but unbearable, too.
So I settled to curse every fiber of the mobile phone instead. "Stupid mobile! You're useless, useless! What society is this, if we're so dependant on pieces of rubbish such as yourself? You ugly, worthless piece of plastic that –"
"Need some help?" a familiar, low voice spoke from behind me. I twirled around, horrified to notice that I still wasn't free of all the annoying guests. Small talk wasn't a talent of mine in the first place, and now was definitely not the time to practice.
However, some of that horror washed away when I saw who was approaching me. The gloomy, Indian boy from earlier was walking towards me with his large feet, his footsteps surprisingly silent against the wet leaves and grovel of the narrow street. He still wore the same expression of melancholy, and I couldn't help but notice the tenseness in his hands as he unclenched his fists from the tight balls they'd been forming.
"Jacob." Apparently, he was here to get revenge for earlier, when I had kept him away from his food.
"I'd say your name dramatically here, too, but I can't remember what it was. Did you even introduce yourself?" A hint of humor was audible in his voice, but otherwise it was the same hard, cold tone from earlier that made me feel like there was something vital I was missing.
"Of course I did. I'm not that rude." But then an image of a golden rimmed place card came back to me, and I hurried to continue before Jacob could cut in. "Fine. So I didn't introduce myself. But nether did you. I only know your name from that card."
Somehow, the smile that followed didn't look very convincing at all. "So, you finally found your name again in the maze of seats? Or do you still call yourself 'Jacob'?"
"Ha-ha." I had to admit, this man wasn't half bad. He was completely manageable. "I'm Amelia Betch."
"Another police officer's daughter, huh?"
"Yeah, I guess. Forks needs a hell lot of police force for a small town, don't you think? Charlie alone would do. Or actually, I don't know about Charlie, but Bella would keep everyone in line. She can be pretty fierce if she wants something."
The tiny bit of humor that our conversation had built up so far vanished in an instant, and Jacob fell back to the aloof person he was trying to pretend to be. "She can be pretty stubborn, I know. Even when she knows she's doing the wrong thing."
I blinked twice, trying to understand what Jacob was saying. There was more than one meaning behind those words, I was sure. "What?"
Jacob only shook his head and turned to face a red car that was parked at the very end of the driveway. "If you need a ride home, I can give you one. It'll give me a reason to leave."
I backed away, my eyes widening in disbelief. When Jacob saw my incredulous expression, he hastily added, "It's not a date. Trust me. I'm not going to murder you either, if that's what you're scared of."
I had to admit, option number two was the more plausible of the both. But, satisfied with the genuineness of his words, I nodded and followed him to the Chevy.
We didn't talk as we got in. I had a million questions in my mind, but knew better than to fire them at him; Jacob looked irritable enough, and I didn't need to have a fight while I was still getting a ride home. I could spare that part for when I didn't need him anymore.
As I had guessed, the ride home was silent on both parts. I tried my best to ignore the awkwardness of the whole situation that was triggered by the tense way Jacob clung to the wheel, so I looked out of the window, watching the blurring trees as we passed them. A hazy sheen of green seemed to pass the car, even though we were the ones moving. The raindrops on the window glass only obscured the view further, and gave the whole scene a dream-like quality; I felt as though I was in the middle of a fairytale with an undefined ending. Would this princess fail to find her happiness? I wanted a happy-end, but simultaneously I knew the impossibility of that desire.
Bella defined my happiness, and she wouldn't be sticking around for much longer. In fact, I had exactly three hours and twenty-one minutes left to call her my friend.
My pessimistic thoughts were interrupted by a slam of the break. I twisted my head to the left side, only to notice we were home already. Thick tree trunks towered over the shabby, red house as it stood there all alone, vacant and miserable. It was a depressing sight. It only reminded me of my own upcoming isolation.
Unwilling to enter the empty house, my hand paused over the handle. I had to think of something to say, if only to stall my leaving for a few measly minutes.
Jacob didn't notice my reluctance to leave as he stared out into the forest, rubbing his fingers against each other impatiently. He was completely lost in his thoughts.
"Why are you and I the only ones who are not bouncing around in joy, spreading happiness into every soul in town?" I wondered aloud, not needing to think about my words as they came out. Jacob's presence made me feel oddly comforted, and I knew it was because we both seemed to hate the fact that Bella had gotten married.
My random question snapped Jacob back to the present, and the cold mask of detachment returned. "You should leave now. Your parents must be waiting for you."
"No, actually not. My parents are divorced. Mom lives in the south and Jack is still at the wedding reception. It's just me and that stupid, empty house."
I don't know what I was hoping for with that last statement. Maybe I was simply too desperate for company and wanted Jacob to join me inside. Maybe I wanted to squeeze some more information out of him, now that I knew whose side he was on.
Equally, I didn't know why I was so disappointed when he harshly turned me down. "Look, I've got to get back home. It's getting late."
I wouldn't have called four-thirty late at all, but I let it slide. Sighing at the thought of the silent house, I stepped out of the car and angrily slammed the door shut behind me. Jacob drove off almost instantly, leaving me to stand in the rain while I watched his red Chevy disappear into the rainy mist.
Jacob wasn't all that bad. I knew we would be able to get along just fine if we both gave it some effort. He wasn't the brightest star in the evening sky, but he was quiet and thoughtful enough for me, and mature enough to not judge me for my appearance. It was either that, or then he was blind.
I could feel a new friendship building up between us; a bond that was still invisible and by no means certain, but a definite possibility.
Sighing again at the sight of my now soaked clothes, I hauled myself to the porch. Even the dreary house was better than the rain.
Who was I kidding, anyway? Sure, Jacob and I could get along if we wanted to, but that wasn't anything close to enough to replace the friendship I'd had with Bella. There was no way anyone would ever be able to stun me like she had, or keep me entertained while I wallowed in my own misery. My happy phase was over.
For years I had rebelled, protested, and hated, never letting sunlight enter my dark existence. I had pulled everyone down the pit with me.
And now God, or whatever force that existed up there, was getting his revenge.
The forest will answer you in the way you call to it, I remembered my grandmother once saying. It was depressing to realize just how right she was.
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