Bella has returned to her family to heal
Edward is at a personal crossroads
With everything working against them will they find happiness with each other? AH, AU, OOC rated for mature themes, violence, and lemons in some of the chapters. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
Disclaimer: I do not own the Twilight world. Stephanie Meyer does. I just get to play in her playground.
3. Chapter 3
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I was able to avoid the stares and questions from the family for most of the week. I busied myself with helping get the kids off to school, people off to work, and helping my step-mom, Esme, with the household chores. It felt so nice just to do something normal, and not have to explain myself. I knew it couldn't last forever.
"You know your dad is worried about you," Esme began when we sat down to take a break. "We're all worried about you."
I look into her face, and the sincerity of her words wash over my thoughts. I know they're worried. I can feel their concern with every look, every movement, and every word they do not speak. I did not need special ability to notice these emotions. "I know," I answer her in a cautious tone. "You don't need to be though cause I am fine." I try to flash a self-assured smile at her, but know I am failing miserably. "Really I am, Esme. I am going to pull myself together, and you'll all see how fantastic I really am."
"Don't give me that bullshit, Bella." Esme's face was suddenly angry. "They may be willing to wait until you're ready to tell them, but I'm not." Under the force of her gaze my resolve to spare them all the details wither. She takes my hand in hers. "You show up out of nowhere, no phone call, or note, or warning, looking like you've been in a car wreck, and then you don't bother to tell anyone what happened." The ferocity of her words hits me like a slap, and I can tell she is trying to be gentle. "Jake knew you were coming, and showed up here just an hour before you did. It really scared the crap out of us, then you get here, and you look like shit." I can't stop the tears from falling, and I hold in the sobs. Without even thinking, I wipe a tear from my cheek. "The scariest part is how you seem to be trying so hard for us to not fall apart. The show you put on is just so painful to watch. What the hell happened to you, Bella?"
I look into her gray eyes. It is impossible to keep anything from her, especially when she gets all maternal. I take a deep breath, and steady myself. "It's a long story, and you probably already figured out some of it."
"I've tried not to let my imagination take over," she responds with a snarl.
I smile at her, because I know the imagination can be worse than the truth. In this case, though maybe I should let her believe what she wants.
"No one is coming home until about 3:00, so take your time."
I inhale a huge cleansing breath in an effort to calm my nerves. There is no way I can express in words what the last couple of weeks have been like, and so I decide to show her. I remove my hands from her motherly grip, and take off my shirt. My eyes stay on the table, and I can hear the gasp from Esme as she sees the trouble I am in.
The bandage on my left shoulder displays a dark red stain where blood has seeped through my bandage, and bruises take over every inch of skin not covered by a shirt. Clear hand and finger impressions look like they could be a child's finger painting project are scattered over my flesh. I turn slightly so Esme can see the back of my right shoulder, and I hear her inhale loudly. She can see the bite marks. I say nothing. There is nothing that needs to be said; the evidence speaks for itself.
"Oh my God, Bella!" she whispers almost inaudibly. Her hand reaches out, touching my bandage. "What is this?" She is trying to control herself for my benefit.
"Ice pick," I answer trying to keep control of myself. I can't look her in the face. I keep my eyes on the table. I don't want to see what she is thinking. I just want to disappear into the floor, and pretend nothing happened.
Esme wipes the tears that flow so eagerly down her cheeks. "Does Jake know?" she finally asks, barely able to spit out the words.
"No, and he isn't going to either," I pronounce with certainty. "This is my problem, my consequence, my..."
"No! No one but the two of us will ever know. " I glare at my stepmother, and know that she understood. Getting everyone else involved would make things too complicated. They all already thought I was a bit too delicate for my own good. Looking into her face I let out a defeated sigh. “Eventually, when I’m ready, I’ll tell him.”
I can see the anguish on her face. The hurt I am causing her by binding her tongue with silence. She really is a good person, and I am happy to call her friend.
"So, what are you going to do now?" Her uneven voice breaks the uncomfortable silence.
"I guess I am going to have to get a job, and find a place to live."
"You know you can stay here as long as you like." The smile on her face is lined with pain, and I am not sure how I can make it better.
"I know, but I am not a kid. I can't just run to daddy's house when I get into a little trouble, not to mention it is a bit crowded here." I try to inject a little levity, but know that I am failing. "Besides if I have to room with Rosalie, I'll never get to sleep."
Esme smiles as she wipes another tear from her face. "What are we going to tell your Dad?"
"Tell him whatever you like or tell him nothing. All he needs to know is that this time I am not going back." I look Esme in the eyes for emphasis. "I am not going back."
"Good, cause I don't think we would let you anyway."
I put my shirt back on, and the silence creeps back into the room. Now I have to figure out how I am going to deal with my overprotective big brother.
I stare at the computer screen. I have been sitting here for over an hour and have exactly two sentences written. I try to concentrate on what I need to do, but I am failing. I can't seem to concentrate on my paper, and it feels like the more I try to concentrate, the more my head hurts. What is wrong with me? Is this what it feels like to go insane? Maybe Emmett is right. Maybe I need to get out, get laid, and mingle with some people. I just don't think I can.
When did I turn into this guy? When did I become the reclusive student afraid to go into the sunlight, the vampire student? I have to laugh at myself. That is exactly what I have become, a vampire student. The guy that works nights, spends his days inside dusty libraries and classrooms, and never sees the light of day except when passing from building to building. God I am a pathetic beast, aren't I?
I look back to the computer. It is a futile effort to even try to write this history paper. My heart and mind are just not in it right now. I click off the screen, take a deep breath, and lean back in my chair. I have to find a way to get out of this slump.
My eyes take in the swamp we call a living room. What a fucking mess! Well, if I can't concentrate on schoolwork I can at least clean this place up. I get up from my seat and start collecting the dirty dishes that decorate every flat surface in the living room. I walk them into the kitchen and unceremoniously dump them in the sink. Picking up the garbage can, I go back into the front room. Empty potato chip bags, straw wrappers, paper cups, bits of trash from the floor all find their way into the trashcan.
Lifting the sofa cushions I see a toxic waste dump. A black banana peel, candy wrappers, dirt, change and who knows what else decorates the sofa like a sick treasure chest. Then the smell hits me. Holy Crap! What the hell is that? I sprint back into the kitchen to grab the broom and the dustpan, and bring them back to the couch quickly scooping the nastiness into the dustpan. There is just too much. I am going to have to get the vacuum out.
Cleaning provides me with the distraction my afternoon needs. No thoughts about mysterious dead girls, no Emmett hammering his concerns in my ears, no homework, nothing but busy hands as I clean up the joke of an apartment.
No self-respecting girl would ever want to come back here. Not that there is any hope of that happening anytime soon. I can't remember the last time I brought a girl home. A year? Two years? Maybe longer, I don't remember. The last girlfriend I had was Tanya, and saying that ended badly is an understatement. She left me for my own cousin, and they were married three months later. It still hurts to think of it.
I let out a heavy sigh, and continue to clean. Dusting the entertainment center, I let the memories wash over me. The depression, the throwing myself into my studies, my abandonment of self all play back like a movie in my mind. I am going to try harder. This moping and non-living has to stop.
"What did you do grow tits while I was at work?" Emmett's voice boomed behind me.
"I thought I would clean up before the Health Department condemned this place." I throw at him.
"Cool, as long as I don't have to do it." He throws his jacket on the couch.
"Do you mind?" I say taking his jacket off the couch and tossing it back to him. Emmett rolls his eyes at me with an incredulous look.
"Well, if you're going to get prissy about it," he takes his jacket and walks towards his room. "Hey, since you're in a cleaning mood would you mind doing my laundry?"
"Fuck off!" I can hear his chuckling as soon as the words escape me.