Jobless Bella is in desperate search for an occupation; she finds one at Forks' Mental Institution and soon enough becomes acquainted with the inmates. How will she get on with the patients there? "We need to feel inflamed, but what sets us alight is what restricts us." Twilight/Cosmopolis crossover. Bella x Eric x cryptic dialogue.
1. Chapter 1
Rating 5/5 Word Count 1668 Review this Chapter
The newspaper lay open on the cherry oak table as Bella circled black ink around black ink. She sat hunched, her hair swept up into an off-kilter bun and her eyes slightly glazed with a heavily buttered crumpet in her hand. After a while, the small letters seemed to blur in and out of focus and she pulled back as her head ached uncomfortably.
"Come on," She said to herself, gazing at the clock that indicated it was 10:45PM. She stood up, gave the newspaper one last look before shuffling into the small bedroom, that seemed to miniaturise the even smaller bed. She lay back with a sigh, staring at nothing while her mind went up and down like a rollercoaster.
She'd just been sacked from her job at the drug store – it wasn't the best but it wasn't minimum wage. And once more she found herself jobless. She had started to wonder if karma had dealt her a bad hand because of that old lady she'd almost run into. With her truck.
She cringed now just thinking about it. Bella was not the best driver and the roads had been icy.
The old lady had survived though. Her walking stick had not.
Sighing heavily, she rolled onto her side, wincing at the hard mattress under her tender ribs.
Clean up in isle four had entailed mopping up mass amounts of protein shakes. She's fallen – of course – and in the process inadvertently knocked over an innocent bystander, causing them to fall into a set of shelves which had then caused a domino effect on the rest of the shelves.
And thus the lowly, clumsy employee had been sacked.
At least the woman she'd fallen into had been understanding. Not at all like the old lady.
Realising that nothing could be solved with bitterness, Bella set about scouring the papers for a job the very next day. The pay had been depressing – the job offers more so. But she was desperate, so she strived to just get on with it as she'd always done.
Now a week later, Bella still found herself jobless. She'd called one vacancy after another with no positive result. Her days were filled with rejections from supermarkets and cleaning occupations. Each time she had to cross out another box with black ink, she felt sick; icy claws gripped at her stomach and never let up. She walked around her quant apartment tired and nauseous.
She had never finished her degree – so it didn't seem to count toward anything; she was living in harsh world with even hasher people.
"How is he, Rose?"
"He's doing well, Bella; improving. There was a new addition to the house last week, and him and Eli made fast friends." She pauses, and Bella feels the silence is filled with expectation. "He's drawing again, Bella."
Bella feels her heart clench within her chest, and tears rise up to well in her eyes. "Yeah?" She asks, her voice a low whisper. "What did he draw?"
Her voice is quiet when she responds. "His family."
Bella's eyes close as a gust of air escapes her. She breathes harshly before she breathes not at all. His family is dead – all dead.
A sharp knocking on the glass case she's in makes her grip the phone tighter. Her eyes shoot over to see a man in tattered clothes staring at her, his fingers tapping on his wrist on a watch that doesn't exist. It doesn't matter, she understands.
"I gotta go," She chokes out. "I'll call back soon." She hangs up before Rose can respond, rushing past the man awaiting the phone booth and darting up the one set of stairs to her flat. Her hand fumbles with the keys before she manages to get it into the lock; and when she does, she slides down the plaster on the wall and cries.
Bella gets dressed the next morning; methodically pulling on clothes and brushing her teeth. She ties up her hair with an assured pull of her fingers; fixes her tattered laces with a definite knot; swirl and loop.
She will not be turned down again. She will find another job; she will earn twice what she was before.
Her eyes look around the dingy flat; one that seems more pitiful inside that the single door on the outside suggests. She thinks, I will find a better place to live.
She'll prove to Rose and to everyone else at that home and the board and the council, that she's able enough to be Eli's carer.
Bella's walking past the street corner when she sees it – there, in the middle of the pavement. One more step and she would have walked right over it – on it. It would have been nothing more than any other inconsequential mud and dust and dirt on the bottom of her shoe.
But she sees it – yes she sees it.
Her eyes dart around; looking at the pedestrians that pass by, paying no heed to her. Quickly, her arm reaches down and she snatches it up before the wind can blow it away. She scurries off into a nearby alleyway to hide-away. She pulls her scarf away from her mouth; pushes the hood from off her eyes. Her eyes scan the words and her breath hitches in her throat. Her heart pumps blood and adrenaline around her bloodstream with the assertive phrase: yes, this is right.
FOR OCCUPATION AS PHYSCHIATRIST
AT FORKS MENTAL INSTITUTION
NO QUALIFICATIONS NEEDED
PAID BY HOUR
SEE CONTACT NUMBER BELOW
Bella high-tailed it to the nearest phone booth, and with shaky fingers inserted coins and pressed down on buttons decorated with numbers. She held her breath and crossed her fingers behind her back – even though no one was looking at her.
"You've reached Forks asylum secretary – ground floor; Claire speaking, how may I help?"
Bella took a breath, swallowed. "H-hello. Yes. Hi. I'm calling about the . . . the vacancy available?"
"Okay," the voice immediately responded back with. "I'll just put you through. Please hold."
Bella held all right; held onto the phone with all she had in her.
"Hello," Another voice; much deeper in pitch. "You're calling about the job I presume?"
"Yes," Bella said. "Yes, I am."
She waited for him to say it had already been taken, that they were sorry but they simply couldn't offer it to her.
"Can you come in for an interview later today?"
Bella's mouth gaped.
Pulling nervously at the only suit Bella owned, she stood in front of the institution. It was nothing like what she would have pictured an asylum to look like; no tall, creaking gates or bars on the windows. No ominous wood pigeons cooing in the distance or crows squawking nearby; looking for their next prey. In fact, it was dressed up in such a way that the exterior led the perceiver to believe its insides were cheerful – chipper, even.
Bella might not have known any better and may have been manipulated into believing that the insides were really that bright, having never experienced a place like this before – ever. But the degree she'd been studying – the one she had never fully completed – had been in psychology, and so she knew what these places entailed. And it was anything but chipper or cheerful or bright.
There was also the fact that simply looking at this place made goose bumps erupt on her skin – a shiver tingle unpleasantly down her spine.
She shook her head as she made her way toward the building, the click click of her low heels creating a rhythm to which she attributed numbers, to which she then attributed to the beats of her heart. She was nervous unlike when other situations like this arose – and they often did – because this was something new and different, something that she actually wanted to do – rather than doing something because she had to.
Bella had never dreamed that a job like this could arise and that she might be eligible for it.
NO QUALIFICATIONS NEEDED
She sure hoped that wasn't a typo.
"So, why should I hire you?"
Bella swallowed, looking across the desk at the blonde man that sat, leaning back in his office chair. His cool blue eyes were both expectant and detached. For the past half an hour, he had fired questions at Bella until her forehead started to leak perspiration; her fingers clasped together started to sweat.
She was never good at 'bigging' herself up to any employer – knowing that there were probably many more people more apt and suited to the job than her. But it was something she learned she needed to do, because if you didn't have any confidence in yourself then nobody else was going to – least of all your future employer.
She wet her dry lips before she spoke. "I believe I'm exactly right for this job and in turn exactly what you're looking for. Despite not finishing my degree at college, I studied psychology in-depth and at a high level. I understand things that somebody else might not . . . and I promise you I would give you my one hundred per cent while working here." Bella held her breath then, and waited for what seemed the longest time. She could practically see the most inner-going's on of his mind as he mulled her words over.
Was she good enough?
Was she what they were looking for?
Could she hack it in a place like this?
She could only hope that the answer to all the above was yes.
When he stood up she followed in shaky pursuit. "Congratulations," He said, a smile appearing on his face. He offered out his hand for her to shake. She took it. "You've got the job."