“Goodbye, Bella.” He whispered, before closing his eyes again. His hand began to lose its grip on mine, and I held it tightly to me like it could somehow stop him from leaving me. Bella has always known this day would come, but that hasn't prepared her any better for it. Can she handle saying a final goodbye to someone so important in her human life, whilst she lives on forever? And why is Edward absent in her hour of need?
4. Break Away
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It was just another Sunday, the first day I saw my father cry.
I don’t remember waking up or making the bed or any of that crap, though I suppose I must have done it. It wasn’t until I heard the raised voices downstairs I realised I was properly awake. My stomach and my head had an argument over whether I should wait out the argument before I went down for breakfast, or if I should just grab a bowl of cereal and hope I wouldn’t get dragged into it. My gut won, as usual, and it made a celebratory gurgle as I thundered down the stairs.
“I’m leaving, Jake. I can’t do this anymore!” Karen threw out suddenly.
I’d heard this pathetic argument a thousand times before, but never from any of dad’s girlfriends that I’d actually liked. Karen had been here longer than six months and she remembered my name, so in my eyes she was a keeper. I sat down on the stairs to listen, hoping this wouldn’t last too long; I was hungry enough to start on the carpet.
“I thought we were doing okay,” Dad replied, stunned. Surely he must have been expecting it? He’d pushed away every woman for as long as I could remember. I thought about trying to creep back up the stairs but now I was hooked. Like I said, I liked Karen. Maybe she’d stick around long enough to make breakfast.
“How have we been okay? You’ve been even more distant recently. I don’t think you even see me half the time.” Karen sighed. I could barely hear what she was saying and could imagine her hiding behind her thick, dark hair whilst she spoke. Karen wasn’t one for shouting and arguments. In fact, I couldn’t imagine her in any sort of noisy situation. She was slender and bookish, not a one for parties or lots of fuss. She always listened to what I was saying, even though I was only fifteen and my dad was always telling me to shut up. What she was doing now confused the hell out of me, though. Karen didn’t even sound like she was blaming him, she was just… exasperated. I would have had a full rant at him if I had half the chance. Dad had seemed even harder to talk to than usual lately. I suppose work wasn’t going too great at the garage, and Quil had moved away with his wife a couple of months ago. Still, Karen’s comment made me think that maybe I was missing something. Something more important that was making him depressed.
“I’m fine Karen. You don’t know what you’re on about.” Dad growled between clenched teeth. I could imagine his knuckles going white as he grabbed onto the edge of the table, and hear the stuff on the table rattle as he shook with anger. It took so little to get him annoyed lately that it wasn’t even fun. If I took it too far, his face always went white and he pegged it outside as fast as possible. The woods seemed to be his place to calm down. Looked like he’d be spending a lot of time in there after this conversation.
“You’re not fine, Jake, and you won’t let anyone help you.” Karen replied. I could hear the sadness and the frustration in her tone. There was a second’s pause as she hesitated, and then I heard her speak again.
“Well, maybe one person.” She added, trying to keep her voice nonchalant. It broke somewhere between the last two words, giving away how she felt completely.
Dad noticed too, and finally snapped.
“Damn it Karen, will you give it a rest for crying out loud?” He roared, punching down on the table top in his frustration. It gave a loud creak of protest before I heard the wood splinter. “Just leave her out of this and-”
“How can I when she’s such a huge part of you?” Karen continued, slightly louder than she had been before. “How am I meant to get past it if you’ve never moved on?” Her voice sounded off, like when little kids sing to keep themselves distracted if they’re scared. It was sort of high and wobbly, and though the door was closed I could see her eyes filling with tears in my mind like they did in most situations. Still, that wasn’t what was worrying me- who was Karen on about? It couldn’t be my mom. She’d been his first wife, proposing to her after her knocked her up but my mom had assured me that was the only reason they were together. After her, dad had never been anything close to serious with any of his girlfriends. Except Karen.
Dad had got custody of me when I was little. Mom had just wanted to get out of La Push, go somewhere sunny and far off but Dad was too stuck in his ways. We lived in the house he’d lived in with my Granddad, right near First Beach. I don’t know much about him, except that he’s where I got my name from. There aren’t any pictures here. My dad doesn’t like it when I post them up. He always tells me not to get caught up in the past. He says it just messes you up.
“I’m not having this argument again, dammit.” Dad shouted back in her face. I could hear her stumble away from him, grabbing things from around the room and chucking them into a holdall. “You’re here, aren’t you? Doesn’t that mean that you mean more to me than she does?” He said with obvious effort, trying to keep him anger under wraps.
“Does it Jake?” She snorted, past the point where he could change her mind. I could see the tears dropping onto our dirt blackened carpet and sticking to the hair that was swept over her eyes. “You tell me.” She mumbled, walking away from him.
The door to the hallway opened, and I moved back up a step so that I was in the shadows. Karen walked into the hall with her eyes down, trying to take our key off her key chain. Dad didn’t follow her through until he heard the front door open and the cool air pushed its way into our stuffy house.
“Karen, please. We can… I can…” Dad struggled pitifully as she took the first step out of the door. She stood for a moment, waiting for him to finish his stammering. A few tries later, he just gave up and stuck his hands in his pockets. She was staring at him with the weirdest expression, like she was waiting for him to say something that would make her stop this. Something that would make her put her stuff back and keep my dad from ever being lonely again.
“I’ll make pancakes?” He offered feebly, and I cringed inside for both of them. Was that the best he could do?
She closed her eyes. When they opened again, they were set resolutely at the ground, staring at his worn out slippers.
“I’m not her, so this can’t work.” Karen said simply, enunciating each word like she was trying to convince herself just as much as she was trying to convince him. “I’m sorry, Jake. Say goodbye to Billy for me when he wakes up.”
And with that, another wife walked right out of my dad’s life.
His fist struck the drywall so fast I didn’t see him move his arm. I scrambled back another step as my dad fell into some sort of rage-filled fit. He was physically shaking, bucking up and down with rage and hitting everything within reach. His arm knee hit the radiator with a huge thwack sound, but he didn’t even acknowledge the pain. Whatever was going on inside of him hurt much, much more. His hands clenched and his eyes were screwed up as he snarled and spat and roared in a way that made my hair stand on end…
Then, he was still.
The speed at which he’d changed was terrifying. I slowly unscrewed my eyes to see what had made him stop. I realised that he had something in his hand- the calendar that we’d gotten free from the Chinese takeout and that I’d stuck on the back of the front door. He was stroking it between his fingers, and I noticed that today’s date had a thick, red ring around it.
“Happy birthday, Bells.” He murmured, letting it fall from his hand as he sank to the floor.
It was then he saw me.
* * *
For a minute, he was too shocked to do anything. His dark eyes were bright with surprise, meeting mine as I watched silently from the top of the stairs. He was on the floor against the wall, almost in the exact same position as me and for a moment, just a few seconds, it was like looking into a mirror. He just looked young and lost, without a clue why the world was doing this to him.
It didn’t take long for him to change.
His expression iced over, and pure fury leaked into his voice as he stood up to face me and hollered-
“Get the hell out, Billy. I don’t care where you go, just get out.”
I was shocked still for a second. The noise hit me before the words even sunk in properly. I couldn’t believe this- losing one person today wasn’t enough for him. I pulled my leather jacket off the banister, thankful that I’d slept in my jeans and ran through him to get to the door. I hit his shoulder as I passed and he made a move to grab me, but I was too quick. Before he had time to scream anything else I was out the door and running for the beach like a bat out of hell.
* * *
I smelt the salt in the air long before I broke through the trees to find myself on sand. The sea had an extra layer of mist clinging onto the waves and I could barely see the cliffs that were only about half a mile up the beach. It had a silent, eerie sort of beauty around it in the morning. Sometimes I’d come down here in the mornings and watch the sun tear itself from the strands of mist tying it to the horizon. It was one of my favourite things, watching the clouds sieve away the darkness and let the clear morning sky shine on through.
It wasn’t one of those mornings. Typical Forks drizzle made my hair plaster against my forehead. Water dripped off the end of my nose as it landed on my face from the canopy above. I pulled the jacket around me tighter, wishing I’d brought a hoodie.
Then I smelt something that definitely wasn’t seawater.
It burned my nose, and for a minute I wondered if someone was having a bonfire up the beach. I scanned the curve of the sand before remembering it was raining. Someone would have a pretty hard time getting driftwood alight in this weather. All I could see was a short figure, barely noticeable in the early mist, standing on the cliff edge.
The scent hit me again, stronger this time. It was sickly sweet as well as sharp, still clawing at my sense of smell until I wanted to push my face in the sand. I spun around trying to find the cause, but it was hopeless. The beach was empty. The water was flat for as far as I could see in this weather. The greyness seemed to have swallowed up the person on the cliff- my only link to the real world. I stood stock still, trying to find what direction it was coming from. It seemed to be getting slowly stronger, until I was sure there was someone behind me in the woods.
“Who’s there?” I cried feebly into the trees. I felt a bit dumb, like I was talking to myself. I was probably imagining things. I was hungry enough to hallucinate. If I kept this up, there’d be Big Macs lurking in the bushes and jumping off of cliffs.
Then, I saw something move. A glint of white amongst the trees caught my attention. Whoever, or whatever, was there was most definitely real.
“Who is it?” I shouted, with a big more strength in my voice. Had my dad followed me down here? I hoped he wasn’t here to pound on me- I hadn’t shoved him that hard.
The person who stepped through the trees wasn’t anyone I could have expected.
* * *