Unexpected Changes and Broken Promises
Edward leaves Bella at the beginning of New Moon. Bella then moves to the East Coast to escape her past. As she takes the final steps to heal completely, the past, both hers and others, comes back to find her.
A huge thanks to Project Team Beta. Without them I wouldn't be here. I owe them more than mere thanks. This is my first fanfic ever so goes easy! Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
3. We are family
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After having a fifteen minute debate with myself as to whom I wanted to call for help, I caved and decided that I would just call Stef and Colin. I wouldn't even bother to ask Casie; that would just be five minutes of my life that I would never get back. It was almost ten in the morning by the time I finally came to that decision. Stef would be up, I could count on that. I didn't want to call the house though. I didn't need my aunt here. She would just huff and puff until I knocked her down, mostly because she liked to meddle. Then again, I guess all mothers were like that. Not that I would know. Renee, my mother, was and always had been more of a child than parent. Aunt Joyce, on the other hand, well she had issues with control and letting go. If I called to ask for Stef or Colin she would come too. It was all the excuse she would need.
I decided the safest way to do this was to text Stef. She still hadn't quite figured out how texting worked so this would be interesting. It was an issue Colin and I regularly teased her about, she was definitely an anomaly, a teenage girl who couldn’t text. I kept threatening her with Ripley’s Believe It or Not, she definitely belonged there!
I quickly typed out the text without checking for punctuation or grammar.
"Need help... This place is worse than I thought Ask Colin Free food involved. See you in hour?"
I hit send and shut my phone. She may not be able to respond but she would come if she could read it. So, that gave me a fifty-fifty shot of her actually showing up on the door step. I didn’t plan on holding my breath.
Forty-five minutes later the door opened and this time there were actually people there. I still hadn't been able to shake the feeling that I wasn't alone in the house. I knew the company would be a welcome distraction and the house would get cleaned to boot. Colin and Stef stood grinning from ear to ear, still in pajamas, with overnight bags in tow and huge smiles on their faces. Apparently Stef had ulterior motives when she agreed to come and help. Ah, well. These were two of my most favorite people in the world. I just had to keep telling myself that this would be fun.
Two hours, seven garbage bags, four beers, and one food run later we were gathered around the old coffee table in the living room eating dinner. "Ground Control to Bella...Come in, Bella." I heard Colin say through my muddled thoughts. I was exhausted. We had only just finished eating after nearly six hours of non-stop cleaning. I felt like I was in a turkey induced coma only I was full of onion rings instead. I had to find somewhere besides Burger King to eat. That was going to get old. FAST.
I must have been daydreaming. I was sitting in the recliner in the living room staring through the small hallway to the tiny dining room and I was watching a Sunday night dinner from a different era. The men were in different stages of suits, the women were in what could only be described as gowns. I could smell the chicken. I could hear the silver clinking against what I could only assume was china. It couldn’t be any later than the nineteen-thirties. I feel like it was even earlier than that. During World War I maybe? I wasn't sure. My thoughts strayed back to Edward. It seemed like a scene from his time. Well, I guess ghosts were possible too. Werewolves and Vampires existed so why not ghosts? Okay, so now I had lost it. I should have been committed years ago and this hallucination was proof positive of it. I was going crazy, but then again I wasn't so sure I didn't like it.
This scene I was seeing play out before me was a dream though. I just hadn’t realized that I had fallen asleep. It had to be a dream because the girl with the wavy brown hair kept glancing toward the door and if this wasn't a dream she would have seen me staring. I couldn’t believe how real it felt though; the sounds, the smells, all of it were too real. I wanted to get off the chair and join them, but I was afraid that this amazing scene would vanish if I did. They were waiting for someone to come home. From a war? Is that what they were saying? It was hard to catch all the words. The girl with the wavy hair intrigued me. I was staring at her. She looked so familiar; like she was a relation. I was engrossed in the scene when Colin pulled me out of my trance.
It hadn’t been a dream after all. I had been wide awake and hallucinating? I was annoyed at him; angry was more like it, because as soon as I looked back at the dining room after glancing at him, it was exactly as it was earlier today. Complete with my book bag and an open box of shoes in the corner. I sighed and tried to join into Colin's and Stef's conversation, pretending I had a clue as to what they were talking about; even though I clearly didn't. I didn't catch what Stef had said, but apparently, it was a question directed at me. I wondered what it was. I really didn't want to endure the teasing that was about to commence when she realized I had no clue what they were asking me.
"Bells...Will you go to the packey? Colin said he'd pay. We'll go to the grocery store and get snacks and to the video store..." she trailed off. Ah, there would be no teasing, not yet, anyway. They wanted liquor and I was 22. Convenient. Well if I was going to break the law, I couldn't do it for two better people. It wasn't as if I didn't drink when I was a senior in high school or a sophomore in college. I laughed to myself. I could count how many times I went to class sober on one hand during my second year at Rhode Island College. I continued to laugh at the fact that I lived on what was referred to as a "dry" campus. I had a fully stocked, albeit well concealed, bar in my dorm room.
"Should we call Casie?" I asked, and I knew the answer immediately. Both of them had looks of horror on their face. Casie would rat them out in a heartbeat. She may be slightly stuck up but she was a Momma's girl through and through. Then I would hear it. If they got caught, I wouldn't see them until they moved out and I knew it. These were two of my most favorite people in the world and so Casie was left out, yet again.
"Of Course not, it was just a passing thought. Just us tonight though? What about Joe and Marisa?" Marisa was Colin's girlfriend of a year and she was a freshman at the University. I LOVED her. Joe, well he was newer. Stef and Joe had only been dating for a few months, and my cousin wasn't one for sharing, so I hadn't formed an opinion about Joe one way or the other. Not yet. But I wanted to; call it what you will but I was still the oldest. I had taken the older sister role on when I moved out here. It had been an obvious fit and it had given me a purpose. I was so used to taking care of my parents that it had just seemed natural. I needed to fill that role somehow, and the relationships I had with Colin and Stef did just that.
"Umm...well...we kind of already invited them and Sean texted me...He's on his way..." Stef got quiet. She wasn't sure if she should have invited everyone over without my permission. Not that she was scared I would be mad. She was just really observant. She realized there had been a reason I hadn't called Sean to help me today. She wasn't sure if I wanted him here. I wasn't sure I wanted him here. This house was bringing my past to me, and I wanted that. Sean didn't have a place in there. I had tried living for other people, and he was a part of that. Moving on for Charlie meant getting a new boyfriend and enjoying my college experience. The more time I spent in this house, however, I realized that it was now time to live for me.
I began pacing back and forth, nervous for the night ahead. My imagination was running away with me and now I was convinced that ghosts were real too. I needed a night off, and it had to be tonight. School and life started up again on Monday, so this was the last chance I would get to hide. I had Biology this spring and I knew the memories would come flooding back. Tonight was a night to put that all aside and get tanked. It was time to be reckless Bella, not the responsible citizen everyone expected me to be. It was time to PARTY!
"Ready for the debauchery?" Stef asked with a wicked gleam in her eyes.
"Cool!" I replied as I plastered a huge smile on my face, hoping it looked genuine. Everyone would be here in a few hours and it was time to perform. At least my acting skills had improved; no one would actually know I was freaking out. This was something I would have never been able to pull off in high school. Back then, I couldn’t lie to save my life, even when it depended on it. I shuddered at the memories. I was just glad those wolves had come along when they did. If they hadn’t, well let’s just say death would have been the best-case scenario. The worst would be a vampire, and facing eternity alone. Nearly a century was bad enough, but forever? At that point in my life, I couldn’t have pretended to move on. I was lonely, I was reminiscing about things I have been trying to forget for years and I just needed to get drunk. Completely and utterly drunk, the kind of drunk where you have to sleep with one foot on the floor just to keep the room from spinning. Maybe some recreational drug use on my part was needed. That way, if I did say something off color, I could blame it on the beer or the weed. You know something like, “Hey guys, have you met my ghosts?” There was only one way to find out if I could pass that off as normal behavior.
“Make a list? Did the Dark Knight come out yet on DVD? Or we could download something from Netflix?” I said to both Colin and Stef, hoping that I hadn’t spaced out for too long.
"We wanted to see Black Sheep or Billy Madison actually,” Colin stated. Leave it to Colin, he worshipped Adam Sandler and was still in mourning over Chris Farley. Although, I think he had been seven when Farley died.
The list getting shoved into my face brought me back to the present. "Colin, Everclear? Really? Are you serious? You know I'm not buying that for you." I may condone drinking, but a trip to the ER with alcohol poisoning seemed like a bad idea. Charlie would drag me home by my ears. Not to mention, the wrath I would endure from my aunt and uncle.
"Had to try." He said, shrugging his shoulders.
"What kind of beer do you want?" I asked with just as much indifference.
"Just get me Sam's," he replied.
"Got it. I'm gonna grab the Captain while I’m at the packy. Can you make sure that Stef gets the stuff to make punch? Call me on my cell if they don’t have grenadine at Stop and Shop, and I’ll get it while I’m there. But really look for it, okay? I don’t want to pay the liquor store price if I don’t have too."
"Sure....Stef?” Colin shouted up the stairs to her, “Let's go...I'm STARVING!"
“Colin, relax she’ll be done in a minute… Give the girl a chance to use the bathroom; can’t you go an hour without stuffing your face?” The look on his face told me the answer to that and I went into the dining room to dig through my book bag for my emergency granola bar.
Two minutes later they were in my Ford, headed to the Stop and Shop. Colin wants to check out my truck, and he thought the best way to do so, was to drive it. I couldn't be sure, but since he was my mechanic, I had to trust him. Besides, if he broke the thing, he knew how to fix it. Luckily, I had a mechanic on each coast.
I walked out through the garage, tapping the automatic door opener on my way so that the door came down just before I was completely out. It made me nervous but it was just yet another thing I needed to get used to. Hell, there was a whole houseful of things to get used to. With my grace, it was only a matter of time before that thing closed in on me.
After handing the cashier forty dollars of my hard earned money; I struggled out of the store with the case of beer and the handle of rum in my left hand while I tucked the change in my pocket and searched for the car key with my right. This excursion called for automatic door locks. No such luck with this car. I got the party essentials in the vehicle and miraculously didn’t even stumble. Score one for the klutz!
I pulled into the driveway an hour later. I went into the house and wondered how long it would take Colin and Stef to get back. Joe and Marissa would be here in half an hour, Sean too, probably. I briefly debated texting him and telling him that the plans had been cancelled. Then I realized that would just cause more trouble than it was worth. I would have to face them sooner or later. I just wished it was much later.
I walked in cautiously, afraid of what I might find; I knew this place was making me crazy. I was hearing things, smelling things, even seeing things. But more importantly, I was remembering things. It was starting to scare me. I thought I was mentally competent, but you never know. I wondered if anyone in my family had been nuts. I wasn't sure. I had almost lost my mind once before and now I felt like I was having a relapse. Heart racing, palms sweating, I turned the key and waited impatiently while the garage door groaned to life and slowly inched up towards the ceiling. As soon as I was able, I ducked under the door and ran in to the enclosed porch between the garage and the dining room. As I reached to turn the knob on the old glass door, I saw that same dinner scene from earlier, only now I could see all the participants. The tiny room was overflowing with the seven people, all with the same shade of coppery bronze hair. A very familiar shade of bronze hair. Hair that I had only ever seen on one other person. The person that had been the cause of my mental breakdown.
I saw them all clearly. Like they were real and actually sitting there, but that wasn't right, they couldn't be. It was not possible. As I went to open the second door, and wondered to myself why there were two doors to open to enter one room the scene disappeared. The scent of roasted chicken, however, lingered. There was no stove in the house so I didn't even bother to investigate. I knew it was just my imagination again.
I was growing very impatient. The creaks and groans of the house were getting to me. I went to sit in the old recliner and kept stealing glances at the dining room. I kept telling myself it was because I wanted everyone to get back. That it was because I was worried about their safe arrival. Although, I couldn’t kid myself into believing that that was true. I kept thinking back on the scene that had unfolded in the dining room, it had almost felt like a movie. It was one that I wanted to watch again. That's what it had felt like, a scene from a period movie. However, it was only the introduction, the opening scene, of what felt like an intense drama. It intrigued me and I wanted to know more. I know that that seems crazy, but that was a good word, because I was crazy. The insane asylum must have a place for me.
My phone beeped and I jumped. It was Colin; he could text and drive. I was impressed. He needed Stef's keys. I opened the door and called out to him. I knew what was coming. I had left them in the car. As I shut the door, I froze. It was the same scene and this time I thought the girl was looking at me. My skin grew cold and clammy. I couldn't move. I wanted to run, maybe even to scream, but I did nothing. She could see me, I was sure of it. I knew it was fear that was rooting me to this place. I didn't know what to do, but I had to do something. She kept staring. Eventually, I could see that the scene was dissolving into a misty fog. Yet she was still there, in that chair. I thought I should speak. Say something. Anything. But I was frozen in fear. I shut my eyes, counted to three, and opened them. It didn't work. She was still there. My heart was racing now. Pounding in my chest. I felt sick. I couldn't breathe. Is this what a panic attack felt like? Or a heart attack? I was having a physical reaction to my insane mind. Welcome to the asylum. The breezeway door opened just then and I saw Stef and Colin freeze. They must have seen what I did. I wasn't going crazy.
"Bells...you okay? Bella? ISABELLA???" Stef’s voice trilled to a higher octave. She was freaking out, so apparently, this was just me. I looked briefly at my cousin and then back to the empty chair. "Sorry guys...I guess I was having a daydream, or a day-mare might be a better word for it.”
“You sure you’re okay Bells?” Colin asked as he pulled the blender from the cupboard.
“Yea, why?” Was I really that obvious?
Stef looked at Colin like they we were staging an intervention. “You’re not acting like yourself.” Then again, maybe they were.
“Stef, I think this is just a lot to handle you know? I swear it’s just the lack of sleep. I’m good. I swear.”
With that I got down three shot glasses and poured us all a measure of Captain.
“Salud?” I meant it as a toast, but it came out as more of a question. They both mumbled a Salud in response to my toast, and exchanged another look. I knew that look. They thought I was losing my mind again. I decided to prove them wrong, even if they were so very right and plastered a smile on my face. I hoped my acting skills would be enough to bluff through this night.
It was a good call on Stef's part to buy the Solo cups. The dining room table was small, but it worked. And the punch was a much better substitute for the beer. We should have put a sheet under the table. Thank God the carpet was brown and old. It would have been pink by the time we were done with it. At least I hadn't gotten around to cleaning this room yet. Although in that moment, I decided that it would need to be done by the end of the weekend. I didn't need any more unexpected visitors, especially those of the rodent variety.
It was a fun night. Or it may have been the rum. Whatever it was, it took my mind off my lack of sanity. I felt normal at least for a night. That was all I ever asked for anymore.