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.
Rating 5/5 Word Count 3491 Review this Chapter
I had to admit – staying at home all day was mind-numbing.
The constant hammering of the rain against the windows was only intensified by the oppressing silence of the empty house. My every footstep seemed to echo through the vacant rooms, sounding almost threatening in the stillness. I was a prisoner now, more than I had ever been before. And Forks was my jail.
There's no need to complain about something you wanted. You can handle a two-week suspension, right? And then you can get kicked out for good. Maybe Jack will send you to military school. Now THAT would be a challenge.
My inner me was right – It was worth it. I had managed to acquire a suspension in less than two days, and a permanent dismissal would be a child's play with my current record. I probably wouldn't even have to walk into school, not if the story of my reckless driving spread around more than it already had.
Two weeks. I could survive two weeks. Life was pointless, anyway. It didn't matter if I was at school or home. Heck, I could be on Pluto for all I cared.
Still, I had to mentally whine about the boredom.
But the endless morning was nothing compared to the afternoon.
I was fidgety by the time Dad came home. Even he seemed to notice the unexpected change in my behavior, and the way I glanced at the clock every few minutes worried him. He didn't appear to understand the reason for my obvious anxiety.
Neither did I.
But as the hands of the clock approached six o'clock, I was suddenly aware of the reason.
I was afraid.
It was ridiculous, I knew. Ludicrous that I should react this way, when all Bella Swan had done was talk to me. There was nothing daunting about her whatsoever – I knew I would eventually scare her off like I had all the others. I was simply being absurd.
But even my inner chanting couldn't dispel the unexplainable fear.
Bella's words had affected me more than I was willing to admit. She had hit a sore spot, and I had no idea if she intended to use that against me in the future. I had no idea whose side she was on, but I could guess.
When Jack told me it was time to leave, I nearly broke down in panic. But I swallowed down the emotions – after all, I couldn't waste all my previous efforts in seeming nonchalant – and reluctantly followed my father out the door. I was silent throughout the entire ride as I always was, but there was a new tone to the quiet. The peace wasn't protesting anymore; it was apprehensive.
I nearly turned on my heel and ran away at the sight of the store.
Nobody was waiting for me outside the doors. Nobody would be able to stop me if I ran.
Coward! There's nothing to run away from. Nothing. Have you completely lost your mind? I'd think you have. Just step inside that damn shop and get yourself fired. You still haven't completed that mission, if I may remind you.
I took a deep breath, rearranged my facial expression, and stepped inside.
And there she was, the reason for my irrationality. Bella Swan stood behind the counter, wearing the hideous, bright orange vest, seemingly absorbed in her work. She glanced up when she heard me enter, and smiled before looking down again.
The smile was polite, obligatory. But why did I almost jump when I saw it? Was I really waiting for her to attack me?
The invasion of the killer smiles. How nice.
I took exaggerated, slow steps towards her.
"Hello, Amelia." Her voice was casual, not even a hint of menace distinguishable.
I pulled my own vest from the drawer, trying very hard not to surrender to my ridiculous emotions. There was really no need to hyperventilate.
I feared Isabella Swan. I feared her like I had never feared anyone before. She had found my weak spot, the only crack in my defense, and it was only a matter of time until she started ruining me by attacking it. There was nothing I could do about it, not after my breakdown yesterday evening. I had showed her the damage she'd caused – though indirectly – by running away from her after that fateful conversation. I had revealed the way her words had affected me, and now I was going to suffer. Moron! Moron! Moron!
All people were the same. Show them your weakness, and they would bring you down. This girl was no different.
Bella looked up from the sheets of paper she was reading to glance at me, particularly pausing at my mangled forehead. Yesterday's bandage was still there, letting everybody know of my recent accident. Which, for once, hadn't been caused by me.
"What – No attempted murders today?" I tried to keep my voice indifferent, but some of my panic managed to leak through.
Bella smiled ruefully. "No. Not today. I'm still sorry about last evening, though. I really am. Is the cut any better?"
"Yeah. Your doctor patched me up real good. Too bad he couldn't dope me." The wound was still a little sore, no matter how many Tylenols I got myself. And it was her fault.
"Carlisle's a good doctor." Great. So she'd missed my point. I wasn't exactly complimenting her father-in-law.
I shrugged, and took my place behind the counter, keeping a safe distance between me and the clumsy girl. I didn't need another trip to the hospital.
Bella started arranging the shelves of the shop, not continuing our conversation any more than I had. I kept my eyes on her, wondering when she was going to begin the torture. I was sure she would soon bring the matter up.
But she didn't.
We worked in complete silence for a big part of the evening. The few customers that walked in didn't buy anything, so I ended up having to stand around pointlessly most of the time. I could just as well have stayed home.
My confusion strengthened with each minute. Why was Bella so silent? Why was she not pouncing, and 'analyzing' me like she had last night? Surely she wasn't going to show me any mercy.
During some part of the evening, my suspicions were confirmed. Bella was not intending to let me go easily.
"Amelia, why don't you help me out with the shelves? You've been standing around all evening. I'm pretty sure watching me work isn't really that exciting."
So she wanted me close by when she struck. Fine, then. If she gets too molesting, you can always just hit her. Physically, she's no match to you. You still have the option of the jail cell. It would be better than home, anyway.
"I'm not sure. My head shies away from you, you know. I think it would be unhealthy for me to come any closer."
Bella turned bright red. Gosh, she really did blush fast. Or was her pale skin just so much more translucent than mine?
"I'll be careful not to harm you. I promise."
I rolled my eyes and reluctantly joined her at the shelves. There was no escaping, now.
But wasn't attack the best form of self-defense?
"Ever thought your boyfriend might be cheating on you?"
Bella froze only for an instant. "What makes you think that?"
"You two don't really look nice together. Come on – Why would anyone that good-looking be satisfied with just one, average girl? He probably has 'friends' on the outside, too. You know, just for recreational purposes."
Bella's face went scarlet, but this time, I didn't think it was a blush. Her eyes were full of chagrin. "Edward would never do that. You shouldn't judge people you don't even know."
"Do you know him?" Edward Cullen was too perfect, too attractive on the exterior. But I highly doubted Bella Swan really knew his character. After all – no normal people really knew the real personalities of their spouses, until bam! One day, both show their claws and notice how unbearable they truly find each other. And the rest is history.
"Well, I'm marrying him, aren't I?"
Ha. Yeah. Great answer.
"But do you know him?"
"Of course I do."
"Everything about him?"
"Even his darkest side?"
Bella paused before answering. She's hesitating. Perfect.
"Yes." To my surprise, her voice was resolved.
"You hesitated," I accused her, knowing fully well what she had been thinking about. Nobody knew the people around them. Nobody bothered to look deeper. People were that shallow.
Bella didn't answer, and I marked it as a victory. Now I had hurt her almost as hard as she had hurt me. It was almost a tie.
"Do you enjoy fighting?" I gulped at the change of topic. She was slowly beginning to draw nearer to the subject I had been avoiding with our last dispute.
"Nah. I just do it anyways. Someone has to show people the truth, right?"
"You say you're so much different from the others. But are you really?"
"I'm not stuck on any cliché, if that's what you mean. I see the real thing. Can't say the same about you. Most people, like you, are impostors. You only see what you want to see. It's naïve, in a way." Wow, I was getting deep. Did Bella Swan really understand everything I'd just told her?
Bella stopped moving, and turned to look at me intently in the eye. Her expression was sincere, and I nearly had to laugh at the ridiculous way her eyes bored into mine. It looked so out of place on an eighteen-year-old.
But strangely, the wisdom I had noticed the other day was even more prominent as she spoke.
"No, Amelia. You're stuck on a cliché, too. The way you regard things is not very open-minded, either. I agree with you on the last part – most people really do only see what they want to perceive, and keep holding on to the perfect stereotype they believe they live in. But what you are doing is no different. You just believe in the gloomy clichés. Instead of seeing the world through rose-tinted glasses, you see it through black ones."
I stopped working at some part of her short speech, and settled to stare at her instead. So I had underestimated Bella; she actually did have some brain in that head of hers.
But was she right?
Idiot! Of course she's not right. Don't let long explanations confuse you.
But she was right, wasn't she?
No! Yes, she was. I was a fraud like all the others. I just acted in a different play.
Listen to yourself! Absurd!
My so-called 'subjective' view of the world was just as clichéd as everybody else's. My inner me was no unique personality. ‘Goth' was a label, something people limited me as. But my ego limited me the same way – My ego was a Goth, a clichéd character.
I drowned my ego's voice out, and scrambled my thoughts back together. Bella was still staring at me earnestly, not finding my long silence very odd at all. I stared back into her deep, chocolate eyes, trying to decipher her thoughts. Was this just another attack? Had she moved on to a different topic to torment me with?
I tried to move the subject back to her. "And what? You don't believe in any clichés?"
"I wish I could say I don't, but I don't really think that's possible. All people believe in clichés without necessarily noticing it themselves. I'm no different. I try to be open-minded, though." I was glad to see she was willing to talk about herself, too. But her words bothered me. She wasn't really that smart.
We both resumed work simultaneously, like some invisible force was driving us. I kept my eyes firmly on the shelves while my mind still processed this new thesis. Was I an impostor?
Bella Swan was going to ruin me. Of that I was sure.
"I heard you got suspended," Bella started the conversation again, but thankfully chose a subject I was more willing to talk about.
I snorted at the casual way in which Bella spoke, hearing the hidden disapproval clearly in her undertone. "Yeah. So what? School is pointless, anyway."
Bella shook her head. "School is very useful. I know it can be a pain in the neck at times, but if you make an effort, you can actually learn some really important things. School is only pointless if you don't take it seriously."
Great. So now she was lecturing me? "Why should you care?"
She didn't respond at first, almost like she was unsure of the answer herself. When she finally spoke, her voice was thoughtful. "I just do. I can see that you're a lot smarter than you let anyone believe, Amelia. I think it's a shame that you're wasting it."
I snorted. "And what makes you think I'm smart? Smart people don't drink."
"That's one definition, I suppose. But smart people think about the world, and that's what you do. You just keep it to yourself."
Now this was becoming hilarious. Bella Swan was analyzing me again, and sharing the results with her patient. I answered with a roll of my eyes.
It was silent for a while again, and we both moved to different sides of the shop. It was relieving to keep a little distance between me and her; you never really knew when she might throw something your way by accident again. Her shift had almost come to an end when she spoke again.
"So how do you like Forks, now that you've had some time to explore it?"
I shrugged. Forks was still a bit of a mystery to me, and since I was locked up at home for a big part of the day, I was pretty sure it would stay that way, too. Not that I had any desire whatsoever to see the whole of Forks. I already knew what I'd find – nothing.
Bella smiled when she saw my answer, and I wondered what my expression had given away. "I hated Forks at first, too. But I got used to it. I like the town now, even."
"What changed?" I struggled to keep my voice indifferent, but failed miserably. Why was I talking to her like this? Why was I suddenly interested in the doings of another human being? "No, wait. Don't bother answering. It's Edward, correct?"
Bella's only response was a dreamy smile. Ew.
"Well, I don't have an Edward; so naturally, I'm not dancing around Forks and loving every part of it."
That did the trick. The sugar-dripping smile vanished instantly. "Forks has more to it than that."
I snorted. "Yeah. A sporting goods store. And water."
And to my great surprise, Bella laughed.
Her chuckle was nothing like the musical one of her fiancé, but it was equally lighthearted, free, and most of all sincere. Why couldn't I laugh like that?
"Fine, I'll give you that. It rains a lot. Sometimes I feel like the-"
She didn't get a chance to finish her sentence, for at that moment, Edward entered the shop, attracting her full attention immediately. A wide smile spread across her face, and she strode over into his open arms, snuggling into his chest.
Her lighthearted chuckle was replaced by his melodic one, and I felt my knees almost buckle at the sight of his bright gold eyes. I couldn't be sure, of course, but the gold looked even more pronounced on his irises today, and I could have sworn his white skin was slightly flushed. "Good evening, Bella. How was work?"
Bella sighed, and pulled away from him to look at his face. "It was okay. Long, though. As always."
Both smiled such a honey-dripping smile that I just had to look away.
While scuttling away from the tacky sight, I dropped the little box I was carrying. The loud thump turned all attention back to me.
"Sorry. Didn't mean to interrupt," I said with my most sarcastic tone, a stark contrast to the previous pink-ponies-and-butterflies ambiance.
"Not at all. Will you be fine here, alone? There most likely won't be any customers, and Mike should be back within an hour to close the shop." Once again, Bella ignored my mocking tone.
"Yeah, sure. I'll be fine." Ugh. Why couldn't they just leave already?
And then a horrendous thought crept in my mind.
"You don't work here every day, do you?"
Bella laughed. "No. I only work three shifts a week. Today I was making up for yesterday's fiasco."
I wasn't sure what I disliked more – her being there, or her not.
"I'll see you sometime, then, Amelia," she said, almost as a warning. I could hear the real meaning behind her casual words – ‘Don't do anything stupid until we meet again. I want to torture you some more.'
The two lovebirds left the shop, holding hands like any other tacky, Hollywood couple. How sweet.
The rest of the evening passed in the same manner the whole day had – slowly, bleakly, meaninglessly. I almost sighed in relief when Mike turned up at seven to close down.
He looked comforted to see the house still standing.
"Everything go all right, Amelia? I know it's been a slow day."
I shrugged as an answer, tucking my vest back into the drawer.
"Was Bella able to tell you how everything works? We'll need someone to fill her position soon, too. She's only got a few weeks of work left." Mike sounded disappointed as he said this, his lips pulling down into a half grimace. I would recognize that expression anytime.
A clear case of a soap-opera love triangle. One-sided, though, as it seemed. After tonight, I had to admit Bella was smarter than most kids. She would never want to be with someone like Mike, someone so moronic and teenage that it nearly hurt to watch.
"You don't want her to leave?" But he would earn no sympathy from me. Rub salt in his wounds… that's perfect.
Mike looked even more remorseful as he answered. "No. Bella's a good friend. It's a shame we're both leaving to a different college."
Doctor, I think we have a bad case of heartbreak. "Aw, that's too bad. Bella really is a nice girl. But she's taken, right? Isn't she marrying that Ed… Ed… Edmund? Edgar?"
"Edward. Yeah, she's marrying Cullen in a few weeks. That's why she's quitting work this early." Gosh, this boy was envious. It was most amusing.
"Shame. She would have made a real catch, huh? But Edward is good-looking."
"Don't forget wealthy. His family is filthy rich. You know what I heard? He's going to Dartmouth for college, and dragging Bella with him."
Ah, I see. So that was why Bella was engaged to him. She wasn't that angelic after all, was she?
Poor Mike looked pretty green. Alone the fact that he was talking to me about this proved how desperate he must be. "Yeah. It's too bad boys like yourself don't have a chance. You know, boys that own a miserable, little sporting goods store in the middle of nowhere. It's a shame those boys don't even have the brains to make up for the missing money."
I walked out the shop without a further word, leaving a dumbfounded Mike behind. I'd have felt sorry for him, had his expression not been so hilarious. I would have paid any price for a picture of it.
Jack was waiting for me on the parking lot, making me feel like a ten-year-old again. I hopped into the car before anyone had the time to see us. "Start driving. Now."
Dad looked startled at my order, but hit down the gas pedal and started heading home.
"How was work?"
Great. I was really not in the mood for small talk.
"Like always." My tone was venomous enough to stop him from entering the topic any further.
The quiet minute gave me a chance to evaluate my own emotions. I noticed the strange state of excitement I was in – surely the conversation with Mike hadn't been that amusing? I was squirmy with… what? With anticipation? What was I anticipating?
I felt optimistic. How odd.
Maybe it had something to do with the fact that I wouldn't have to face Bella tomorrow. I wouldn't have to listen to her pointless analyzing for at least one day. I took great satisfaction in that fact – Maybe it was the reason for my sudden optimism? One more day to plan her destruction was well needed.
But when would I finally learn not to be hopeful? Once again, my plans were crushed in a matter of seconds.
Jack broke the news just before we arrived home.
"The Swans invited us for dinner."
Bella just couldn't leave me alone.
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