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Finding Home

When life throws you a bad relationship, you swear off the opposite sex for a time. But what if your friends and family won't let you? And, what if, despite your better judgment, you don't either? An all human story containing all of our favorite TWILIGHT characters. Rated ADULT for swearing.

There will be alternating POVs, but not within each chapter. To tell the story the way I want to, I need to do this. Characters may be a little OOC, but not so much so that it's far-fetched. Lastly, I’m a very musically driven individual. You’ll notice that each chapter is named after a song. The songs a choose are meant to relay the mood for the particular chapter. (I just hope it works. LOL)

4. Chapter 4 - Ready

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Leaping from this cliff in my thoughts
I fly like stones in my heart
Drowning in doubt for what reason
I sit so patiently
Drenched in what you want me to be
I can’t escape
I’m ready now…
Come get me.

- ­“Ready” by Kelly Clarkson

Get up, go to work, go home, call Angela, grade papers, go to bed, and repeat. Not anymore, I thought. It was more like go to bed, close my eyes, and see him dancing before my closed eyelids. Bronze hair, full lips, ivory skin…I was fascinated with a man whom I had only seen once and whose name I didn’t even know.

It had been almost two weeks since that fateful night at The Lion’s Den. As I went to say goodnight to my friends that same evening, I gave Jessica a silent thank you for forcing me outside of my comfort zone. She had been right. I did need to get out and socialize more. I had finally realized, after all these months that keeping to myself all the time was not healthy. Just because I had some misfortunes when it came to relationships, it didn’t mean I needed to cut myself off from all of my friends.

Since that revealing day, I started to hang out with the gang a couple nights a week, sometimes even venturing to the mall with Jessica and Angela, or grabbing a beer with Mike after we both got off work. While I had fun during those outings, I looked forward to Monday nights most of all.

This past Monday, I had returned to The Lion’s Den with my friends, secretly hoping to catch a glimpse of my fair-skinned fantasy but to no avail. I went home that night feeling like it had been wasted, as if I hadn’t gone out to have a good time with my friends, only to find him.

I had felt everyone’s eyes on me as I crossed the parking lot to my car. I knew they could tell that I was mentally preoccupied. I had spent the entire evening nursing a Diet Coke and nibbling on my straw. Everyone kept trying to draw me into the conversation, but I barely uttered a word. Instead, my eyes kept darting to the door, the bar, the restrooms, constantly scanning and hoping to catch sight of my mystery man.

I wanted to tell them that everything was ok, but how do you explain to your friends that your mind is obsessing over a man that, most likely, you’ll never see again? As close as I was to some of them, Angela especially, I just couldn’t justify to myself why I should open up like that. In time, I thought.

After school let out on Tuesday, I went home with every intention of making myself dinner and spending the night curled up in my favorite recliner with a good book. I was at the kitchen counter chopping ingredients for a Greek salad when I felt a little tug. It was nothing paranormal, like the ghost of a child tugging at my pants leg, but more like a puppeteer trying to control my movements. I was suddenly no longer hungry, at least not for food. Instead, I felt myself being pulled from the kitchen in the direction of the front door, clear visions of messy bronze hair floating through my mind, making me determined to get out of my house and see him once again.

I tried to tell myself that I needed to be realistic. After all, I didn’t even know who the hell this guy was. He could have been a total gentleman or the next Jack the Ripper for all I knew. But if Harry was willing to talk to him, he can’t be but so bad, my rational side said. She was right, of course, but my naughty side still managed to put her two cents in. So what if he is a little dangerous? You need some damn excitement in your life. Go to the pub. See if he shows up.

Oh dear…what to do when your inner angel and devil are arguing with one another? I tend to listen to my rational side and tonight was no different. After I grudgingly convinced myself that chasing after a mystery man was a bad, crazy, stupid and obsessive idea, I forced my feet to retrace my steps and I found myself once again in the kitchen, where I finished preparing my salad. I settled myself in the living room and watched the nightly news on my pathetic little 19-inch, non-flat whatever-you-call-it TV while I ate, not tasting a thing.

I loaded my dirty dishes in the dishwasher when I finished my light meal, expecting to feel the soft lull of sleepiness slowly wash over me. Instead, I was wired. I tried to unwind by taking a shower, using my favorite strawberry shampoo and a lavender body wash intended to relax me, but I still felt restless. Try as I might, I could not get him out of my mind. Finally realizing that any further resistance would be futile, I slipped on a pair of jeans and my favorite brown sweater. I tied on my well-worn sneakers before grabbing my purse and car keys skipped out the door.

The darkness had descended rapidly that night, bringing with it a light drizzle that raised the oil from the streets and made them slick to those not paying attention to the road, like me. Still, I was fortunate enough to arrive at The Lion’s Den in one piece. The only thing I remember doing was getting into my car and locking my front door. As I walked to the entrance of the pub, I could hear my mother screaming frantically at me in the back of my head.

“You don’t remember the drive to the pub?” Renee would have shrieked. “Don’t you know that driving requires all of your concentration?!?”

Yes, mom, I thought. But at that particular moment, all of my concentration is focused on finding this bronze-haired stranger and sating a tingling sensation down in my…

The Lion’s Den is rarely crowded on the weekdays. Normal working-class people and college students tend to realize that they have to get up early in the morning and a night of drinking usually hinders the ability to do that with any real clarity. I was thankful for the lack of patronage at the moment as it made it much easier for me to search in hope for finding my Adonis. I stood in the darkened entryway and scanned the crowd, all the while convincing myself that he had to be there. I mean, why else would you have felt such a pull to come here tonight? Angela would have told me that I got a “feeling,” that I was following my feminine “instincts,” as if that would make my showing up here, on a school night, alone, sound any less ridiculous.

I continued to check out the expansive pub floor for a good five minutes, only vacating my post to avoid being stepped on by some college kids who looked like they were out celebrating a chess tournament victory. After I finally managed to resign myself to the fact that no one at the bar that night had a shock of messy bronze hair adorning their all-to-perfect head, I sulked my way over to the bar. Despite the fact that I had hung my head, I took special care to watch where I was walking. The last thing I needed to do was call out of school in the morning because I had caught my foot on a barstool and twisted my ankle. Or worse, did a face plant.

The barstool was warm as I sat down. An empty beer mug sat in the space in front of me, condensation and peanut shells surrounding its base. Looking up, I noticed Harry at the other end of the bar. He was desperately trying to wiggle out of the clutches of one of the The Lion's Den's more interesting regulars. "Madame Marie," as Harry and I had taken to calling her, was a women in her mid to late seventies with an obvious passion for the extravagant. She always came to the pub overdressed in one of her fur coats given to her by her deceased husband and wearing what seemed to be all the jewelry she owned. The first time we heard her speak in her forced, fake, French accent, Harry and I had decided to call her "Madame Marie" after the French Revolution's beheaded Queen.

I figured that I would patiently wait my turn to be served. Just then I saw a look of horror momentarily flash over Harry’s face before Madame Marie reached out to clutch both of his hands in hers. I don’t know how she did it, but as I sat there watching, she somehow managed to pull Harry almost completely over the bar, ready to embrace him if he just happened to tumbled forward onto her. At this point, I knew waiting was no longer an option. I needed to find a way to come to his rescue. Hmm, what to do…? Be loud an annoying.

“Damn, what the hell do you have to do to get some service around here?” I shouted, probably a little too loudly. A few of the patrons near me turned to see what the ruckus was about. People who visited The Lion’s Den were typically polite and somewhat quiet or reserved. Bar fights happened once in a blue moon. But my little display of aggravation seemed to break Madame Marie’s concentration for a moment, just long enough for Harry to wiggle free of her death grip.

“Duty calls,” Harry said cheerfully before bouncing over to where I was sitting. I could see the huge grin of relief on his face before he even reached me. Harry pulled off a rag from the back counter and began cleaning up the mess in front of me. “You’re my savior,” he whispered to me.

I blushed at the compliment. “Anything to help. She really seemed to have her claws in you tonight.”

Harry sighed with the relief of a drowning man who had just been pulled from the deep end of the ocean. “You have no idea.” After he had finished cleaning the bar off, Harry looked at me and said, “What’ll it be, dahlin’? You usual Merlot or are ya feelin’ a bit adventurous tonight?”

“Not tonight, Harry. I have class tomorrow.” He looked at me suspiciously and I could tell he wanted to ask me what I was doing here then, but at the last moment thought better of it. It was one of the reasons why I had taken to Harry so much after my move to Portland. While I missed Charlie terribly, Harry had helped to fill a small part of that hole in my life. He didn’t hover, pester, or question anything I said or did. Both men realized that I was capable of making my own decisions and living with the outcome, regardless of what the consequences might be.

“Well how’s about I make you something girly and frilly that will keep the boys away?” Harry winked at me which left me somewhat confused as to what he meant. Noticing this, he held up one finger before he turned back to the bar to work his magic.

A few moments later I was the proud owner of some cotton candy pink concoction with a teeny, tiny straw and cherries bobbing along the bottom. It was my turn to raise a suspicious eyebrow before taking a sip. Mmm, Shirley Temple. “Thisa way you ain’t gotta worry about them boys tryin’ ta buy you a drink…’cause ya already got one,” Harry winked again.

I smiled and took another sip of my drink. “Harry, you’re the best.” He smiled again before he walked away to refill another customer’s beer.

I was sure that Harry could tell I was feeling a little less than sociable that evening. Normally he would have yakked my ear off for the better part of an hour about some crazy patron he had had to serve or what I happened to be teaching that week. But tonight, I just felt like a piece of me was missing. I tried my hardest to resist scanning the room again and failed.

Why don’t you just give up for the night, Bella? If he was going to come here, he would have been by now.

Instead of listening to my pessimistic inner monologue, I remained seated, taking a sip of my fizzy concoction, giggling softly as the sudden surge of bubbles tickled my nose. I speared one of the cherries with my straw and munched on it happily, remembering happier times in my life. Birthday parties with my friends, the first day of school, when I got my college acceptance letter…

“You alright there, girlie?” I snapped back to reality, not realizing that I had been gnawing on my straw. Harry was leaning on the bar in front of me, watching me intently. His brow was furrowed and there was a look of concern passed over his face.

I quickly glanced up at the clock over the bar and was shocked to see that it was coming up on ten o’clock. I had been sitting there, daydreaming, for almost two hours.

I sighed heavily and felt the tension of the evening slowly began to slip away with the rise and fall of my shoulders. Harry frowned again and opened to speak before he closed it again, reconsidering. Instead, he let out a small grunt, as if to say, I know something is wrong. If you wanna tell me, fine, but no more sulking here.

I turned around and, one last time, took a quick survey of the pub. People had slowly begun to trickle out the door. Nowhere did I see his tousled bronze locks. It looked like tonight was a total bust.

I circled back around toward Harry. I knew I owed him some sort of explanation. I took a deep breath and said, “Sorry, I was hoping to see someone here tonight.” I tried to make it sound like it was no big deal, but I knew he could see right through me.

I stood and pulled my coat on, reaching in one of the pockets for my wallet. I placed a ten dollar bill on the bar. “See you later, Harry.”

“Later, doll. Be good.”

As I pushed the pub’s door open, bracing myself against the chill of the night’s air, I heard Harry call out my name. I turned to see him smiling at me from across the room. He walked from around the bar and came up to place an arm gently around my shoulders. “Bella, you be sure he’s worth it first, alright?” He then gave my shoulder a gentle squeeze before he walked back to his post.

I didn’t know how he had figured it out, but I knew I could never put anything past Harry. The man had been reading people for a living for the last twenty-five years. All I could think was, Leave it to Harry to unravel the mysteries of Bella with just a few looks. I really am as transparent as everyone tells me.

I got into my car and cranked the heat up with hopes of chasing away the shivers that were running down my spine, even though I knew they weren’t caused by the chilly night air. I didn’t know what had gotten into me. A few months ago, a decent man had wanted to share his life with me. For some reason, this had terrified me and I had run away. Now, after just catching short glimpses of him one night, my mind had been overpowered by thoughts of this bronze-haired mystery man. Hell, I was even going out on a school night, which was something I had never done before, even when I was a student, just with the hope of catching another glimpse of him.

What was it about him that makes me so crazy, wanting desperately to see him again? I thought. Is there something that’s telling me I’m ready to move on? Or have I, at long last, completely lost my mind?

Whatever it was, I felt alive for the first time since I had walked out of Jacob’s door. I remembered when I resolved to come to The Lion’s Den earlier in the evening. My pulse had raced at the prospect of seeing him again. I never felt that with Jacob, or anyone for that matter. Maybe there was such a thing as inescapable physical attraction, because it couldn’t be anything else, could it? I mean, I had never even spoken to the man before. I didn’t even know his name.

I was uncertain as to what the future held for me, no did I know the answers to all of the frenetic questions that had risen since the moment I laid eyes on him, but I knew that that wasn’t going to stop me. I was determined to meet this man. I was going to tell him my name and in turn, I would learn his. All of this, I was going to do to know if he was worth it.