Misery At Best
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.
4. Chapter 4
Rating 5/5 Word Count 3111 Review this Chapter
Humans are incredibly irritating. For more reasons than simply they are they preferred food source for my kind and resisting isn’t the easiest thing in the world, even with a century of practice. More so because I am obviously cursed to be forever driven insane by the female persuasion. Is it not enough that I found one woman who I thought I could not live without, there has to be another even minutely resembling the same pull?
I avoided the diner for two days after the first encounter with the new girl. Besides the fact that being near her was an all too potent reminder that I hadn’t hunted in a month, it was Bella’s days off. No point in holing up there if there was going to be no show across the street.
Hunting was the release I hadn’t realized I needed. I may have overdone it, but I was unwilling to give up my spot at the diner and if I was going to have to be near this new…temptation I wasn’t going to take any risks.
My route back to Mora took me by our old house. It was pointless resisting going inside, but the emptiness of the house only made the void of my family widen inside of me. I wished I wasn’t weak in this way, that I could exist around the obviously bliss of my family and not resent them for being able to be with the person they loved, but it was a major flaw of mine.
All at once the wide spacious walls of the house began to close in on me, the guilt and need the stemmed from thoughts of my family making it hard to breathe. I didn’t hurry from the house, instead I continued at a brutally slow pace back to my apartment.
My time back here had been so different than I thought. I had overestimated my will power in that way. To think that I would be satisfied just seeing her was an oversight I should have been able to see.
Of course just seeing her wasn’t going to be enough. I was ready for eternity with her, I had built myself up to that much. I was both relieved and tortured by how much the same Bella still was. It would have made things much easier for me if she was just a little unrecognizable, if time had had more of an effect on her. As it was it was too easy for me to picture taking the current, older Bella into my arms in much the same way I had done when she was younger. It was almost the only thing that inhabited my mind while I watched her from the diner.
I thought that maybe I wouldn’t feel that same pull to her, that was a lie. That wasn’t something that went away in ten years, lessened possibly, I wasn’t sure yet. The existence of this new girl was throwing everything I had thought before to the wind.
Once again I felt my thoughts pulling towards her. A low snarl built in my chest and ripped through my mouth before I could stop it. The sound echoed in the empty house making it sound more desperate than it began. I wasn’t sure if her presence was making it harder to leave or increasing the urgency to turn and never look back.
I could take myself back to those moments in the diner, smell her distinct sent perfectly as I remembered her reaching over me, chastising me for my blatant voyeurism. My lips curled up slightly at the thought. The only problem is that with her sudden appearance and the blaring radio I hadn’t been able to unlock her thoughts, something that agitated me.
Knowing someone’s thoughts usually made them less appealing. It was rare that human’s thoughts ever impressed or surprised me in the least. They mostly revolved around themselves and the constant worry over what others thought of them. I resolved to focus more specifically upon her thoughts the next time. There was little doubt that they would be the cure to the ailment I now suffered from.
My plan to resolve her appeal to me gave me new resolve and honestly probably a little more bravery than I was ready for. The next morning I entered diner purposefully not looking for her in the room before sliding into my booth and slapping my new copy of John Steinbeck on the counter.
It was only then, knowing I had a good twenty minutes before Bella arrived, that I allowed myself to scan the diner for her. The dining room was hardly full, mostly filled by empty chairs and a few haggard looking waitresses. The kind of women you expected to see working her. She was an exception, obviously in more ways than one.
There was no sign of her, I took an overly deep breath, but her scent was gone as well, washed away by bleach and the odor of black coffee. It was easy enough to mask my slight disappointment. Despite the fact that I was eager to prove to myself that she was little more than a false alarm, her absence would make it easier to do what I had come her to do, pine for a woman who loved someone else. I was a sick man.
The old woman who gave me my coffee today was in no way aware of me. Her thoughts rattled about in her head rarely making sense. It almost pained me to hear such delirium. I understood only slightly why Bella had been so opposed at one point to even approach that sort of age.
The day was unusually warm for the cloud cover and I was rewarded with Bella spending much of the day in her open doorway enjoying the warmth. She turned her face, eyes closed towards the grey sky and my stomach turned. This couldn’t be healthy for me.
Having such unlimited access to seeing her only fed my addiction. By the time her closer arrived I had already resolved to do something I had avoided to this point. I was going to follow her home, or at least as far as I could. Stupid, I know, but reason failed me at this point. I almost wished that the new girl had been her, her presence, while a nuisance would have occupied my mind enough to deter me from this action. Even the blaring radio could have helped, but it was missing today as well.
I gathered my book as it became clear that Bella was about to leave. I dropped more than enough money on the table and pointed myself towards the door. The new girl popped into my head once more and I hesitated and looked towards the gaggle of old women behind the counter. I approached them quickly and listened to their thoughts turn from work and tearing each other apart to me. I felt the need to squirm at the some of the more sexual images that entered their minds. Disgusting.
It was the oldest one, the one without much thought at all that had her bearings first.
“What can we help you with darlin’?” Her accent was thick and most likely fake. I smiled tersely, I didn’t want to ask this question, but it wouldn’t get the hell out of my mind. I had to know.
“When will the younger girl, the one with the green eyes, be working again?” I asked hurriedly.
Maybe I should have asked slower. Their minds had a hard time wrapping around the pace of my words. I resisted rolling my eyes. I did not have time for this. As they finally grasped the question they were replaced in their degrading fantasies with the green eyed girl. They smiled knowingly at each other. They thought I had a crush, or something of the same nature, only less innocent.
“Marley? Oh she’s off today, but she’ll be here tomorrow. You want us to give her a message?” she asked.
Possible messages swirled in their minds. Good Lord these women had dirty minds. I shook my head quickly. I had already wasted enough time on this. I was out the door before any of them could carry their thoughts any further and good riddance I felt dirty having just heard them.
Once outside I slid carefully around the side of the building. I had to be careful about following Bella, not too close. She slid into her car and slammed the door, the edge of her skirt flittered, caught between the door and the frame. The motor sputtered to life and I readied myself. Knowing the pace her car was going to keep this would not need to even break a run, I could probably jog along aide of it,
She eased out of the parking lot and I ducked into the trees following close behind. She didn’t enter the reservation immediately like I had thought she would. First she stopped at a small market. I wanted to follow her in, but even I had limits, even if they exceeded most other’s.
When she reappeared the bags in her hands were full to the seams, ready to burst at any moment. Another thing that had not changed, her ability to ignore the obvious disasters ahead of her. Once she was back in her car I Could feel my reason regaining control. Running, even at a slow pace, had always cleared my head.
The nagging voice that had become my companion was back. The same one that had told me to leave her human, give her the choice was now urging me to turn around. Damn moral compass. It was supposed to have turned of after I was changed. My pace slowed and I eventually stopped her car building the space between us gradually. Not that I could have gone much further. The border was close, closer than I should have risked even for her.
For a moment I was tempted to cross the line, bring the wrath of the wolves upon myself. It would be a quick end if I allowed it. No more self-loathing, no more pining, no more anything. The idea appealed to me very briefly until I thought about the satisfaction that would bring the dog. Not going to happen.
I allowed myself the satisfaction of speed on the way home. There was no real need to hold it back and who was I to deny myself some small pleasures. Why I felt the need to even have the apartment was beyond me. The time spent there was a formality of appearing to have some limits to my needs for her. Mostly it served as the backdrop for pacing and the futile fight to keep my memories from taking me over.
The closer I got the faster and more painful the memories became. Little jolts of the past. Mostly sensory things. Her fingers dancing across my chest, the feel of her face in my hands. It was self torture and I craved it. Again, sick, sick man. By the time the sun rose I needed to go to the diner if only to escape my own mind.
This time when I entered I didn’t toy with the need to pretend I wasn’t looking for her. My eyes searched every corner of the room before I had even fully opened the door. No sign. I gritted my teeth with annoyance. Good for nothing hags. Couldn’t even give me the right information after I weathered their degrading thoughts.
I landed in the booth with such force I could feel it splinter underneath me. A small smile of satisfaction curved its way onto my face. Destruction was therapeutic. I flipped open my book and tired to focus on the familiar words. In the 70s I had gone through a Steinbeck phase and memorized most of his work, but the familiarity was something I needed.
The words took me over for a moment and I almost didn’t see her rushing through the door. Even if I hadn’t seen her the force at which she entered plowed her scent into me. I took it in gratefully this time prepared for the burn. She rushed to the counter sputtering apologies the whole time. Her hair was disheveled and her face flushed from her exertion. She wasn’t entirely horrible to look at, for a human.
As soon as she pulled her coat off I turned my mind towards her, it was time to eliminate any lingering curiosity. Just as I focused the damned radio came back full force. She had disappeared to the back and the connection was surged in my mind. She was obviously the one with the penchant for music.
I eyed the others in the room. No one else seemed to be bothered by the throbbing bass line. I tried to shake it from my head and refocus, but the closer I got to where her thoughts should be the louder the music became. Did this girl carry a boom box in her back pocket?
I forced my head down and back towards the book. The music still played becoming clearer when I tried to read her.
‘ Is this the real life,
Is this just fantasy?
Caught in a landslide
No escape from reality
Open your eyes
Look up to the skies and see ’
Obviously she had a thing for older music. I turned my eyes up towards where she was and watched as her movements followed the beat. Once the song became part of the background noise I tried again. I kept my eyes on her as she tied the apron around her waist and talked quietly to the fossil of a woman next to her. I could hear their words perfectly, but still not her thoughts.
This coincidence would be too great. There was no way she also was immune to me. The conversation turned to me and I listened as the old woman explained to her our conversation yesterday adding embellishments that made me sound more like a serial rapist than a possible suitor.
Her eyes flitted towards me and the song of the radio changed abruptly. Gone was the heavy guitar. It was some sort of relief. The vocalist was softer, more timid.
‘ Please forgive me
If I act a little strange
For I know not what I do.
Feels like lightning running through my veins
Every time I look at you ’
She tore her eyes from mine before grabbing an empty cup and a pitcher of coffee. I didn’t advert my gaze as she walked steadily towards me, the music growing gradually louder.
“I see you brought a book today, Nice choice. I’m guessing it’s going to be just coffee again?” she asked. I nodded keeping my eyes on her. The melody and words were even clearer and I wondered for a moment where the radio was on her body. I scanned her quickly and didn’t notice any obtrusions.
I wasn’t as subtle as I thought and she caught the tail end of my assessment. The song changed quickly again. This time to another song before her time.
‘ I saw you once, met you twice
Oooh your presence feels so nice
Your silent, get your tongue untied.’
She hadn’t moved to change it this much I was sure of.
“You really like music don’t you?” I asked. Suddenly the music was gone. She looked at me, a little fear in her eyes. It shocked me a little.
“What?” she rebuked. Still silence, how was she controlling this?
“You’re the only one who turns the radio on,” I observed. I added a smile to try and seem less obtrusive. She tilted her head slightly and bit down on her lip. I prayed that she wouldn’t break the skin.
“We don’t have a radio in here, no matter how many times I beg,” she explained slowly. This didn’t make any sense. My sense of hearing was beyond flawless.
“But the music, it follows you,” I offered. Another incredulous look.
“If this is some kind of pick up, I’ve seriously heard much better,” she stated slowly.
The music crept slowly back into the scene. This time sounding like something out of a horror film. The stuff that plays right before the mass murderer jumps from the bushes and kills the girl. Appropriate I would guess. It was my turn to be confused.
“Just a mistake I guess,” I stammered. She bit her lip as she poured the coffee slowly and then walked away quickly. I breathed a sigh of relief as the music changed again, back to the original Queen song.
My mind flipped back through every moment I had spent near her. There was always music, constantly changing erratic music. I covered my face with my hands and leaned forward. She was taking the order of another customer not far from me. His thoughts were indecent as I imagined he visually groped her.
The horror music returned. My head snapped up at the change. As she back away the music changed once again. There was nothing wrong with my hearing and she wasn’t immune to me. The music was her thoughts.
The revelation brought a sense of accomplishment and at the same time an obnoxious sense of curiosity that tugged at my attention. I couldn’t take my eyes off her movements as I watched her move through her duties, the music changing between songs as her mood and perceptions changes. I’d never heard anything like it.
The sputtering that could only be Bella’s car broke my watch. I felt panic and just a little of what I could only define as guilt as I refocused on my real objective. As Bella sank easily into her routine with the normal amount of clumsiness, I wished I could say that she was on the only thing in my thoughts as I watch from just over the top of my book, but the music played lightly in the background keeping me aware of Marley’s every whim, or at least what I could guess were her whims based on the song.
This was going to be a hell of a lot more complicated than I originally thought.