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.
2. Chapter 2
Rating 5/5 Word Count 1602 Review this Chapter
Bella stares at the bills scattered out in front of her. At each one she had read, she'd winced. She had to put them down and take deep breaths as she reminded herself: I have a job now. The thought was comforting, until it dawned on her that she'd never asked about the pay. Her heart rate alleviated once more. Chewing her lip, she sank down onto the floor as she contemplated what the advertisement had said about being paid by the hour. This suited Bella better than being paid by the week or month because the sooner she got a job, and in-turn money, the sooner she could pay bills and buy better food and a nice flat.
The sooner she could get Eli back again.
"And down there is the lobby, and across from it is the patients dinging hall. You don't have to eat with them as there's a staff room, but I would advise it – at least for the first few weeks – so you're able to build up some kind of stability, trust if you will."
Bella nods, storing the information in her brain, and in her nerves and anxiousness, wishes she had a little paper pad to jot all this down.
"Your office is on the other side of the building. I'll get Janine to show it to you later. Now," Jasper says, suddenly bringing his hands together in a single clap, "do you have any questions before we go and meet your patients?"
Bella tugs nervously on her pencil skirt as she thinks. "Do you know all the patients here?" She asks, her eyes darting around her surroundings. They've ended up located in a blue room with large windows allocated on each wall. "I mean – on a personal level?" Her mind goes back to his remark about eating with the inmates.
"A few," Jasper replies, motioning to the chairs; they sit. "There are different levels, you see? Different floors depending on the extent of the patients . . . vivacity." He raises his eyebrows.
Bella nods. Oh. "And how many levels are there?"
"Four," Jasper responds, holding up four fingers to indicate. "Each carer is assigned a floor or level. Mine is four."
Before Bella can ask what each of the floors mean, what one has to do to end up on one, two, three or four, Jasper is speaking again. "So, are you ready to go?"
Bella swallows, her stomach churning with burdensome butterflies. "Sure."
Jasper starts leading them out of the blue room and down a long corridor. Bella notes how soft the carpet is underneath her feet, how even her heels sink, sink, sink into the plush comfort. She also notices the windows as she did in the blue room. There are many, and the size they all seem to favour is big.
"The windows," Jasper says without turning around, seemingly reading Bella's mind. She starts slightly at his sudden declarative. "You'll notice there are many. We like to make the patients feel . . . free."
Bella nods, her eyes darting around. "I like them. It makes the place seem so light and open."
They come to a pause and Bella realises they've reached another door. Jasper turns around briefly. "Exactly. We don't want to make them feel trapped, when in actual reality . . ." He trails off.
"They are," Bella finishes quietly; the conversation taking on a sombre tone. Jasper sighs and Bella takes it as a signal to the end of this specific interaction.
Continuing on, he leads them through the door without a word. They're entered what looks to be another lobby-type room. It's wide and spacious, and the room is decorated in a kind of green that makes Bella think of nature. Her subconscious contemplates the freedom of nature and its inability to be truly entrapped.
There are more doors that Bella assumes lead into more rooms, and to the left she also notices a large veranda; decorated with potted plants and colourful flowers.
It's not at all what she had expected.
"Where are the patients?" She asks, noticing the quiet and lack of life in the lobby.
"Their rooms," Jasper says, indicating with a flick of his head to the closed doors. He lifts his wrist to check his watch. "They're being given their medication. It usually tires them out for a bit, so maybe we can have a group session to introduce you in about half-an-hour or so? – If you're okay with that."
Bella nods for what feels like the hundredth time that day. "That's fine."
"Well," He says, rubbing his jaw thoughtfully. "In the meantime, I've got a little business to take care of. You'll be alright for a little bit on your own? Just give the front desk a shout if you need anything. And explore the grounds – get comfortable with the place."
"I will," She says. "Thank you so much for all of this."
Jasper gives a little shake of his head before he turns to exit. "Don't thank me yet," He says, voice nearly a mutter. "You still need to meet them."
Immediately after Jasper had left, Bella darted out into the veranda; irrevocably drawn to the vivid splashes of colour against the backdrop of an earthly and vibrant green. She touches petals softly and brings them to her nose to inhale their soft, sweet scent. It's freezing out; the onset of winter fast approaching and she can see her breath as it floats about the space in front of her, feel the wind chapping her lips and nipping at her exposed nose. But it ceases to matter as she caresses rose-buds and watches stems and leaves dance in the breeze; pure, natural, free. Her eyes dart over to the interior of the building, and she thinks choosing green was a good choice.
Renee used to make flowers – she made all beautiful things but most especially flowers. She made the arrangement, that is. She could have the most withered selection of flowers but could always and undoubtedly turn them into something beautiful. Everything she touched seemed to blossom. It was if she had Kings Midas' touch herself – right on the very cherry oak table that now resides in Bella's flat.
"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet," A voice coos from behind her. Startled and skittish, Bella accidentally plucks petals off in her grasp and feels a pang of remorse for doing so. Her heart races in her chest as the voice speaks again. "That's a stupid line, isn't it? As if the name does not matter but only what interiorly it is. We are defined by names constantly. That flower you hold is defined by its name – Rose. Just as I am defined not by my being, but to which tag my being has been allocated." The tangent pauses, and Bella swallows. "The line does not make sense when embedded in a world such as ours; filled with a sickening nano-second judgement that lasts no matter how many more seconds are spent together. We need to feel inflamed, but what sets us alight is what restricts us." Another pause, like time itself has paused to accommodate speech. "Perhaps Shakespeare wasn't such the visionary, after all."
Bella's body is tensed and the petals are now crushed within her grip. The voice's speech is quick but calculated, formal but spoke with an air of formality. There are no voiced pauses, indeed no pauses at all except to breathe, maybe to let the words they speak sink in and settle in the air before they start again.
When Bella turns around, the voice is gone.
She's still standing outside on the veranda when Jasper comes back. "Bella?" He asks, and she turns around to face him. He must see something in the taut lines on her face because he asks, "Are you okay?"
Bella plasters a smile onto her face. "I'm great." She responds, though in actuality, she's not very sure. Her quick encounter with the person whom she has now dubbed so creatively 'the voice' in her head has sent her through a loop. Her mind has whirled and contemplated, and in the present she just wants to go and find these people out. She's in shock and excited, she wants to analyse and interpret.
A Rose by any other name would smell as sweet . . .
"Right," Jasper says, fishing her out of her thoughts. "Would you like to go and meet them now? I've gathered them into the room we were in earlier." She nods, and they set off once more.
To Bella's surprise, they come to stop in front of the blue room. Just before Jasper whirls around and blocks the door in front of her in the process, she catches a brief flash of pale. "I know you've never worked in a place like this before," he says, gesturing with his arms to the space about them. "And I know this is all brand new to you," He hesitates. "But don't be put off by the people in there," He gestures with his thumb behind him. "Or what they might say. Okay?"
"Okay," Bella responds dutifully, but she's not so sure.
Jasper eyes her carefully for one more moment or two before turning back around and muttering something Bella can't catch under his breath. She closes her eyes, and when she reopens them again, Jasper's opening the door to something she's both unsure and excited to face.