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Fall To Pieces

Summary:
It's funny, is't it? How ham and cheese toasted sandwiches and shattered blue vases are the things that cause you the most pain...the things that make you to fall to pieces. Oneshot. A nice, relaxing day of recovering from the flu suddenly turns sour for Bella when an attempt to make her feel better in fact, only puts her in more pain. Set during New Moon.


Notes:
Another dream one-shot. I know it, you know it...we all know it - I need a life. But as long as Stephenie Meyer keeps writing, that isn't going to happen any time soon so I hope you enjoy this. :)


1. Fall To PIeces

Rating 5/5   Word Count 3543   Review this Chapter

Fall To Pieces

Warui-Usagi

‘I've been trying to move on with my life, I've been trying really hard.

But my heart feels like it was made of glass;

It shattered when you left me...

And now I'm hurting myself trying to pick up the pieces.'

--Anonymous

x x x

I was still trying to remember the last time I was this annoyed.

I stood silently in the shabby kitchen, watching the ham and cheese toasted sandwiches, (Jacob's favorite) sizzle away in the pan. I could feel two pairs of eyes resting on me - my father's eyes were boring worriedly into my back, his disapproval rolling off of him in waves. It was almost suffocating and I stifled the urge to groan loudly in exasperation. The other, more predominant stare came from right beside me. My best friend coughed politely to hide his laughter as he handed me another sandwich, obviously finding my apparent frustration with Charlie highly amusing. I shot him a dark glare out of the corner of my eye and I didn't miss the huge, goofy grin that crossed his face.

"I think you should go and lie down, Bells," Charlie tried to say in an authoritive tone, but I could hear that he was tired of arguing this with me. "You've been sick and you need your rest."

"I'm fine, dad," I said, my tone mirroring his. I was sick of having this discussion as well. I rolled my eyes and heard Jacob chuckle softly under his breath. "It's just a mild case of the flu. Nothing more." My tone was a bit sharper than I'd intended, but I was finding it extremely difficult to be patient after having this conversation with my dad constantly for the past three days.

I finished up toasting one lot and quickly flipped them out onto a plate before Jacob handed me several more. I looked over at the packaging that was still left out on the bench. So far, we'd gone through two loaves of bread...and I hadn't even had anything to eat yet. Charlie was only on seconds, which meant that for the most part, Jacob had been eating most of the food. I shook my head in astonishment. If one werewolf ate this much, I dreaded to think how much the rest of the pack ate...I didn't even want to think about how expensive Emily's grocery bill was every week. I shuddered at the thought.

As I carried over Charlie's food, I absently wondered what lengths I would have to go to in on order to make him drop the subject. I'd only taken a few days off school - it was hardly anything serious: just a migraine, a soar throat and a little nausea for the most part. Of course, in a town this small, gossip spread quickly and in the seventy-two hours I'd been absent from high school, my petty flu had mutated into a case of "possible meningitis."

Jake and I had been laughing about it all day.

When it got right down to it though, I didn't want to rest. I always felt agitated...always felt like there was something that needed to be done around the house: groceries, washing, cleaning...if I didn't do it, nobody would. That was the rationalization I used, even if I knew it had a lot more to do with what happened when I slept. The buzzing hysteria that always accompanied the thought of sleep seemed to give me endless amounts of energy to procrastinate.

"I still don't think you should have to cook me dinner, Bella. I can look after myself you know," he said a tad defensively when I put his food down on the table for him.

"You're welcome," I grumbled bitterly under my breath as I walked back over to the stove, roughly nudging Jacob out of the way. He buckled over, holding his side in exaggerated pain. "Ow! That hurt!" His mock-outrage was marred by his desperate attempt to not burst out laughing. I scowled at him.

"I'm with you, Charlie," he piped up, suddenly righting himself. "I've been trying to get her to lie down for at least an hour all day..." - his eyes turned grin mischievously at me - "...but you know how stubborn Bella is."

I glared at him, my face indignant. The last thing I wanted was Charlie to fuss over me more than he already was - the thought was almost unbearable, but he only beamed down at me as if he was completely innocent. I clenched my teeth together so tightly my jaw started to ache.

"Stupid dog," I muttered heatedly under my breath - knowing full well that he could hear me - as I did my best to shove him from the kitchen. He didn't even budge. Instead, he pushed me away easily, keeping me at arms length with his palm splayed firmly on my head. "Woof," he barked back so quietly that only I could hear, laughing loudly as my arms flailed in a pathetic attempt to grab at him. I lost it. "Jacob Black, this is so not funny!"

"No, you're right. It's not funny. It's absolutely hilarious!"

I stopped trying to throw myself at him, realizing that I wasn't actually getting anywhere. His booming laughter filled the whole kitchen. I caught Charlie smiling out of the corner of my eye. "You are unbelievable!" I growled up at him, storming from the kitchen and out into the living room. Of course when I turned around, Jake was already there. It startled me a little. I never heard him anymore.

His eyebrows arched in pure disbelief. "It's not my fault that you're being unintentionally entertaining, Bella."

"Wow. There are some big words there, Jake. You sure you know what they mean?"

"I'm off to Billy's now kids," Charlie called. I wasn't really listening - I was too busy shooting death glare's at Jacob. "Bella, don't forget to keep an eye on your food." We both watched him leave. I heard my father whistling to himself as he thundered down the stairs of our porch.

"So...what do we do now?" Jacob asked after a moment of silence, casually humming to himself as we both watched Charlie's cruiser start up outside and pull out of the driveway through the living room window. Charlie caught us staring and waved one last time before he disappeared down the road. Jacob slumped over onto the couch, clearly still enjoying this little game of his.

I frowned at him when I caught him smiling at me. He was mistaken if he thought he was getting off that easy. "Don't you have some squirrels to chase or something?" I snapped.

He laughed, the grin on his face stretched from ear-to-ear as he snapped his teeth together loudly, licking his lips. "Nope. I ate ‘em all."

My eyes widened. It took me a moment to realize that he was only joking. I rolled my eyes at him and sighed, unimpressed as I walked quickly back into the kitchen without another word. I found it rather strange that when I turned around a second later to clean up the mess from dinner, he still wasn't there. Fine, I thought to myself. Let him be obnoxious and stupid all he wants. I don't need him.

That last part was a lie.

And as I looked out the window, watching the last remaining signs of light being smothered out by the deep, grey clouds, I couldn't help but wonder just how much I needed Jacob. I didn't see how I could honestly survive without him. Applications for college were staring to pile up on my desk and I knew that if I applied now, there was a very good chance I could get into a good university. But then, that meant I would have to move away from Forks - there was absolutely nothing close by. The closest tertiary institution was miles away and there was no possible way I could be home in time to make dinner for Charlie...no way I could spend time with Jake...not even a chance that I could keep my life here in Forks.

And that, for so many reasons, was just something I just couldn't tolerate. I was almost hyperventilating at the thought.

No. I knew now that if I left this town, I would never be happy. I wasn't really happy with my life right now. I was comfortable...safe but not happy. I hadn't been happy for the better part of a year. I was barely holding myself together as it was - I felt like some sort of glass statue that was being glued back together at an agonizingly slow pace; all chipped and broken and so fragile now that if I was touched, moved or even breathed on in the wrong way I would shatter beyond repair.

I couldn't move away from here. Ever. I couldn't move on. No matter how hard I tried. I was trapped by my inability to function without my best friend...and that realization made me feel extremely pathetic. But how could I possibly move what isn't there anymore?

The answer is simple: I can't.

"Bella? Is something burning in there?"

I jumped at the voice, startled by the intrusion on my thoughts. I blinked, trying to focus my bleary vision when I realized there were tears in my eyes. I'd been crying! I was horrified by the prospect and quickly tried to dry my face before Jacob found out. The smell hit me then: smoke - the scent of charred bread. I turned the stove off immediately, trying to blow the smoke out the open window just above the sink. Jake appeared a few seconds later, evidently confused. "It-It's alright," I assured him lightly, looking everywhere but his face. I knew he could hear how breathless and shaky my voice sounded. "I was just being clumsy. I just...didn't pay attention. Nothing serious has happened though so don't worry."

"Bella..." he whispered in a tone that showed he knew exactly why I wasn't paying attention.

"I'm fine," I said, but I'd answered to quickly and he could see that, so I opted instead for complete avoidance. "What happened to your brilliant wolfy sense of smell? I wouldn't want to have to depend on you if this place ever catches fire..." I tried to laugh, but it didn't come out very convincingly. Jacob only rolled his eyes.

He walked up to the kitchen counter, hesitated, and cringed when he looked down into the pan before he finally smiled. "Man, Bella...you blasted it good, huh?" I was about to respond when his arm lashed out and grabbed it in one of his lightening fast moves, promptly shoving the whole thing in his mouth whole. I gaped at him. He chewed for a few seconds, clearly not enjoying the taste at all, but finally managed to make himself swallow it with extreme difficulty.

What happened next I swore I would remember for the rest of my life.

His face was only mildly disgusted, but then he grinned - truly, hopelessly grinned at me in one of his wonderfully contagious smiles - and I couldn't help but burst out laughing.

The ash-like crumbs from the overdone sandwich were speckled in uneven clumps all over his brilliantly white teeth. It even looked like he'd lost a few teeth completely in some places...and for the life of me, once I started, I couldn't stop.

I didn't want to stop.

He joined in after awhile, making his way over to me and wrapping a huge burning arm around my shoulder. His warm breath on the side of my cheek only made me smile even more. I leant into his side, hiding my face in his shirt while I tried to remember how to breathe. Perhaps it wasn't that funny, but I wanted to hold onto that warm feeling more than anything else. It sent me back to a time when I was impossibly, euphorically happy with my life. A time I didn't want to remember, but was terrified of forgetting all the same. I was always too cold these days.

"I knew that'd cheer you up."

"Thank-you," I said in earnest, my voice muffled by the fabric of his shirt.

"Anytime," he smirked, beaming down at me with such a huge smile I couldn't help but feel grateful. He was always so delighted to see me. He never seemed to have a problem with having me around...he was always so patient with me; painstakingly putting me back together piece by piece. I didn't know how I would ever repay him. The one thing I knew Jacob wanted from me wasn't mine to give anymore...

I didn't have to clutch at the hole. Just like always, his proximity kept me whole.

I was startled when Jacob abruptly stiffened. He looked a tad surprised before his face evened out into a rather smug expression, his arm tightening around my shoulder. He chuckled lightly under his breath before he looked down at me, a mischievous smirk playing on his lips.

I looked at him, confused. "What is it?"

He didn't answer, but not three seconds later I heard a car pull into the driveway. Charlie couldn't be home, he'd only just left...and it wasn't like anyone else besides the Black's dropped around here on a regular basis. I tried to shrug Jacob's arm off my shoulders so I could run out and see who it was, but it stayed locked in place. I could have sworn the temperature of his burning skin flared, making me flinch. "Jacob..." I started to say in a disapproving tone, but he held a finger to his lips, urging me to be quiet.

I shot him an incredulous look, about to demand that he let me go when I heard someone knock on the door. I blinked and in that second, Jacob disappeared from my side so quickly that I stumbled, trying unsuccessfully to regain my balance. I landed with a very ungraceful thump on the hard wooden floor. Jacob's resulting laughter could be heard miles away I was sure. I watched as he opened the door...and came face to face with a very unhappy looking boy.

"M-Mike!" I stuttered in surprise as I quickly scrambled to my feet. Suddenly Jacob's behavior made complete sense.

"Hello," he said, the smile on his lips dying the instant he saw Jacob leaning casually against the wall. Jake's back was to me but I didn't have to see his face to know that he was smiling.

"Hi," I called back as enthusiastically as I could. "How are you?"

"I'm good," he said, the slightest hint of steel in his voice. "I was just about to ask the same of you, actually. I heard that you've been pretty sick and I thought I'd come to see if you were okay..." - his eyes flitted between Jacob and me for a second before he continued. - "...But I guess you're feeling better now, huh?"

"Yeah." I gave him what I hoped to be a reassuring smile. The atmosphere was getting pretty tense. "I'll be back at school tomorrow, and thanks for stopping by. I really appreciate it."

He adjusted his arms and it was only then that I realized he was holding something...

‘I thought you were desensitized...?'

He followed where my eyes were drawn and gave me a shy smile. "I got them for you as a ‘get well soon' present," he explained. "Hope you like the vase, too-it's your favorite color...or at least, I think it is. You like blue, don't you...? It's just that I remember you used to wear it all the time and so I thought..."

"Ye-yeah, I do," I told him, cutting him off before he could get any further. I tried to swallow the huge lump in my throat without much success.

Just breathe...I reminded myself. You're strong. Just breathe...

Jacob's eyes were on me now, watching me very carefully. Mike looked a little uncomfortable as he put the vase down gently on the hallstand. I took a deep breath to calm myself down...and instantly regretted it; the smell of the flowers making my head whirl and my chest ache.

‘Just because I'm refusing the wine doesn't mean I can't enjoy the bouquet...'

"Uh...anyway," Mike started, "I bought you some lavender and freesia. Lavender is supposed to be good if you're sick - it helps you relax. And the freesia just seemed like...your kind of flower, I suppose," he admitted sheepishly. I nodded stiffly, willing myself to focus on my breathing and nothing more. I wanted to get out of there...I had to get out of there, but I didn't want to offend Mike. The raw edges of the hole seared and burned at my lungs. It took everything I had to not crumple over in pain. I knew I should have thanked him for the flowers, but the words were stcuk in my throat.

‘You have a very floral smell...'

Jake was starting to look just as distressed by the situation as I was. I watched as he stood up straight and pushed past Mike, and picked up the flowers. "I'm just going to go and put these in the kitchen okay, Bells? They could fall off that pathetic excuse for a table pretty easily. Wouldn't want that to happen," he smiled at me, then at Mike and disappeared without another word. The incredibly potent scent of the flowers still lingered in the hallway. I didn't dare breathe.

‘It's like lavender or freesia...'

"Okay, well...I just wanted to leave these here for you. I'd better be going-I've got things to do..." - he glared down towards the kitchen where I knew Jacob was sitting, waiting for me - "...And by the looks of things, so do you," he grumbled bitterly. "Anyway, glad you're feeling better, Bella. See you tomorrow at school."

"Alright," I said and ridiculously, my voice broke. Mike looked alarmed for a moment but I just shook my head. "I think I need to go and lie down for awhile. I'm still feeling a little queasy." I lied quickly, averting my eyes. "Thanks Mike."

He didn't look all that convinced but thankfully didn't try and push the matter. "See ya, Bella," he called out over his shoulder. I waved him off, not waiting for him to drive off before I shut the door and made my way back into the kitchen.

The vase was sitting right where Jacob said he would leave it. On the kitchen bench.

‘It's absolutely mouthwatering...'

I can't breathe...it hurts...

‘Yeah, it's an off day when I don't have someone telling me how edible I am.'

I can't stand it...I can't even look at them...

And just like that I screamed.

I didn't know where the anger was coming from...didn't know where the energy was coming from but I violently shoved the vase from the counter, almost relieved when it smashed against the linoleum floor. I stood there, staring and completely dumbfounded for a moment while my mind tried to catch up with my body's actions. Of course I never heard him, but like always Jake was there, hovering protectively over me and trying to hold me together.

He caught my eye and flashed me a timid smile. He chuckled; the sound bearing no humor at all. "Yeah...I don't like Mike much either."

I could help it, I laughed. Desperately so. Jacob didn't seem all that surprised when I completely fell to pieces in his arms a minute later, hiccupping and sobbing hard against his chest. He only held me tighter still; willing the hole in me to stay closed at least for now. He waited patiently for me to quiet down - smoothing my hair and brushing the tears from my cheek - before he started to patiently pick up the pieces.

I tried to help, too only to knick myself on the serrated edge of a particularly large shard of porcelain. I didn't flinch when the blood oozed from the tiny cut. Only stared. I heard Jacob sigh, slightly irritated with me as he ran a dishcloth underneath some water before he wrapped it gently around my finger. "I'll go and get you a band-aid, alright?" I nodded mutely. I took the dirty cloth off as soon as he was out of sight, already hating how it had already started to sting.

It was there; sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor, completely surrounded by a field of shattered porcelain - and the blood now freely trickling down my finger in a little river - that I realized I couldn't ever blame Jasper at all for attacking me that day...I couldn't ever blame Edward, or the rest of his family for that matter for wanting to leave me.

...Because those flowers smelt beautiful.