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Misery At Best

Summary:
She always had a choice. He however did not. The nonsensical journey of Edward after Bella chooses life and ultimately Jacob over him. There was never a doubt in his mind of where he would be, waiting in the shadows.


Notes:


3. Chapter 3

Rating 5/5   Word Count 1824   Review this Chapter

When you have all the time in the world it’s easy to over-think things. Over the past three weeks I have done little but play back that night in my mind. New details spring forward every time and it’s gotten to the point that I can hardly decipher the real from what I’ve created in my head. I’ve been tempted more times that I can count to go back and be that close to her again, but my common sense has won over and again.

Because despite everything, the way her scent sends that familiar burn through me, how her skin calls out for me to touch it, she didn’t want me. That reality is clearer than any urges or feelings I might have. So I have kept my distance. Allowed myself to watch from just far enough to avoid being seen. I want to say that misery, sadness permeates from every action, but she seems content. Her smiles often reach her eyes and there is no hesitation in her movement. I know I’ve become a stalker and that the level I have sunken to would be unacceptable for most, but it’s all in the name of sanity.

Most days are spent at a small roadside diner that it largely abandoned. I can see her shop clearly from the front window and if I order a cup of coffee they don’t care how long I stay. It’s my compromise with myself. This way I can watch over her most of the time. When she’s not at the shop she’s usually past that all important invisible line so it’s the best I can do. Or at least that best I’ll allow myself to do.

When I enter the diner, the small bell attached to the door rings, but no one bothers to look up. This is why I like this place. No one cares who I am or what I’m doing there morning after morning. That and the constantly changing clientele make it hard to be remembered.

I slip into my usual booth and pick up a menu. She won’t be arriving for another hour, but I watch the door regardless.

There are so many reasons I shouldn’t be here, that I should just disappear again, but I can’t do that. Being near her is like healing a wound you didn’t think would ever close. Even if this is all I can get it’s better than spending the rest of my life as an open sore.

The bell over the door rings again and a family enters. They look apprehensive about the place and they should. It’s far from meeting most health codes and most of the patrons are truck drivers. They have several young children with them who appear to be oblivious to the setting. They pick at each other and laugh. A sudden longing overcomes me.

After she made her decision, I felt I had little choice, but to leave. My family, it’s hard to even think the words, wanted to come with me. Alice all but begged, but I couldn’t do that to them. I love them too much to drag them down with me. It wasn’t easy to leave them, I had to all but swear on my life and that of another I would never harm that I wouldn’t do anything rash. Even then I could feel Alice keeping tabs on me for the longest time, but that had faded.

Being back made me miss them like I had forgotten to during my travels. This place was like home for so many reasons.

I shook all thought from my head and refocused on the task at hand. I watched as she pulled up in her modest compact car. So different from the beast of a truck she used to drive, but no less wanting for repairs. She slammed the door shut and leaned all her weight against it, forcing it into place in the frame. A tower of books and paperwork teetered in her hands as she walked towards the door. There was little surprise as she stumbled and sent the contents in her arms flying. I couldn’t fight the small smile that etched its way onto my features.

The objects were gathered quickly and she made it pas the pock easily, I had replaced it weeks before. After she was inside I could only make out her shadowy figure as she darted about, but it was enough. She was close and safe. I felt my shoulders sag with that realization. My eyes closed briefly and my momentary relaxation allowed the diner to come alive in my mind.

I could hear the cook making eggs and the crackling of bacon. A truck driver to my left worried about one girlfriend in California finding out about another in Wyoming. Suddenly all other sound was overpowered by the radio. Someone had turned it on at a volume that was nearly earsplitting for me. The only consolation being that it played a mellow folk song father than the country I would have expected.

I slowly released a breath and took one back in, now aware of trying to appear human. What I inhaled caused my eyes to snap back open. I felt my throat begin to burn and my mouth to tingle with the entrance of venom. It was the oddest combination of scents and yet it appealed to me nonetheless.

“What can I get you this morning?’

My attention swayed to the young woman standing at the foot of my table. She chewed on the inside of her cheek as she waited for my answer. Suddenly the radio changed to an obnoxious pop song. My eyes darted around to try and locate the machine…nothing.

“I, uh, just a cup of coffee please,” I managed.

There was too much going on. Someone needed to turn off the radio so I could concentrate on resisting the scent. The girl nodded and then reached across me for the menu. The scent bombarded me and I could feel myself instinctively stiffen. Lilly and apple. Who would have thought they would compliment each other so well?

My teeth ground together as I fought the need to inhale once more. She retreated quickly taking her scent with her and to my relief the music faded as well. My hands went to the window next to me and I forced it open gulping the fresh air as quickly as I could. The scent faded, but not completely. I leaned towards the opening to keep a clear head. I knew I should leave, but Bella was still at the shop and I was stuck.

My resolve returned more quickly then I had even hoped. I supposed the practice I had with Bella didn’t hurt. I was more prepared this time for what a scent like that could do to me and even more of what I had to do to stay in control. I stayed as close to the window as a precaution. No need to test myself.

As she came back towards me I stopped my intake of breath and waited. The music was back full force, but slowed once again to something familiar, but not placeable. She pushed the coffee across the table and I forced a smile. Once again the station on the radio switched, this time to an erratic dance beat.

“Is there anything else I can get you,” she asked.

I shook my head, unwilling to risk speaking that I might get another mouthful of lily and apple. She sighed softly before turning from me. Someone must have changed the radio again because the original folk song returned.

Once she was gone I returned my gaze to the shop across the street. The door was now open and I could see others in the store other than Bella. Not that it was difficult to distinguish her from the others. I let my thought fixate in the scene across the street, the diner sinking to the back of my mind.

The sun took its course quickly across the sky and I felt a familiar tug as the girl who would close the store arrived. There was a ritual then. Bella would talk animatedly for a few minutes, the new girl’s eyes fluttering the follow her gestures. Then Bella would embrace her before leaving. I watched the dust her car kicked up in the parking lot long after she was gone.

“You should bring a book or something.”

My surprise made me inhale before I could reply. She was back. My hands gripped the vinyl of the seat cushion beneath me and I fought my breath. My movements to face her were slow, deliberate. She was holding a coffee pot, no doubt thinking I would need a refill after all this time. Her green eyes were expectant. My eyes darted to her nametag, Marley. I tried to focus on her thoughts needing a clue of how to respond, but I could hear was the damn radio again.

“Excuse me?” I replied.

I hate being reduced to asking rather than just knowing.

“You’ve been staring at the bookshop, or if I had to guess someone in the bookshop, all day. If you want to be a little less obvious you should bring a book, an IPod, something to be a cover,” she states. She switches her weight to her other foot before turning to walk away.

“Right,” I breathe after she’s left.

I can’t help but watch as she returns to the counter and slips her apron over her head. She calls out goodbyes before pulling a bag from the back and leaving. Once she’s gone everything becomes clearer. The radio has finally been shut off and the lingering customer’s thoughts are simplistic at best.

A slow breeze passes through the window and clears my head even further. It’s been years since I have been even remotely tempted by a human. Years and millions of passer-bys. Nothing like this since…I wouldn’t even make the comparison. With Bella it had been so sudden so unlike anything I had ever experienced.

My mind whirled back to the conversations I had with my family after I first encountered Bella and Emmet’s words came back in his normal booming fashion. There had been two for him. Two. I had always assumed that Bella’s blood would be the only temptation I would have to endure.

I let my head rest against the ceramic table top and tried to focus on the breeze and the fresh air. It wasn’t the same, not even close. It couldn’t be, that would be too much for me to handle, too much to ask from one vampire. Or at least that’s what I told myself.