posted by groovychicklisa
"Leaving? What do আপনি mean you're leaving?" I could hardly get the words out, my insides felt like ice.
"I mean that we're moving away from Forks. Carlisle has gotten a job offer that he couldn't refuse." He avoided my eyes as he spoke, looking at the floor, the walls, out the window. Anywhere but at me.
I tried to মোড়ানো my mind around what he was saying, but couldn't get the words to make any sense. He didn't continue as I unsuccessfully tried to grasp the situation.
"When?" I finally asked.
That's when I got mad.
"What? What the hell Edward?" And then it hit me. "You've known about this for a while, haven't you? Ever since that দিন last মাস when আপনি were late picking me up? That's what's been going on! I knew there was something."
"I'm sorry." He closed his eyes. "I tried to tell you, I really did, but I just… I couldn't. I chickened out every time I tried. And then আরো and আরো time passed, and I knew that আপনি would be mad that I hadn't told আপনি right away, so I pushed it off even more."
"And what? আপনি thought that you'd just let me figure it out on my own, is that it?" I could hear the angry undertone in my own voice. "When আপনি didn't প্রদর্শনী up tomorrow and nobody answered when I called the house?"
"No, of course not." He opened his eyes again, but still avoided looking at me. "I'm telling আপনি now."
"Oh, well, thanks a lot! That just makes it all better, doesn't it?"
"I'm sorry, Bella. I wish there was something I could do about this, but there isn't. Believe me, I've tried."
"Oh really? অথবা maybe আপনি just thought it would be an easy way out of this?" I knew that I was being unfair, but I just didn't care. Anger was better than completely falling apart in front of him.
"Out of what?" He realized what I meant, and started shaking his head. "No, of course not, that's not it at all, আপনি have to believe…"
"I really don't." I ব্যক্ত coldly. "I mean, what did আপনি think would happen? We'd do one of those long-distance relationships until one of us got sick of it? We both know those never work." As I ব্যক্ত the words, every fiber of my being was screaming for him to contradict them, to say that we could make it work. That we would. That this was not the end of our relationship.
But he didn't.
I felt a need to distance myself from him physically, so I moved into the corner of the রান্নাঘর that was furthest away from where he was standing. I wrapped my arms around myself, desperately trying to hold in the tears that were threatening to escape, to hold myself together.
"I guess not." He finally ব্যক্ত in an empty voice. I could feel his eyes on me, but it was my turn to avoid meeting his gaze, and I stared intently at the floor. "I should probably go. They're waiting for me. I'm sorry."
And he left. Just like that, he walked out of my house and out of my life. I was completely alone. It felt like he had taken a part of me with him, like I was completely hollow inside, and I had to struggle to be able to breathe.
I somehow made it into the living room and curled up on the couch, hugging my knees to my chest. That's how Charlie found me almost two hours later.
"Bella?" He frowned as he saw me on the couch. "What's wrong?"
I started crying then. And I just couldn't stop.
I only have vague memories of the week following my breakdown, bits and pieces here and there, nothing solid. I spent the time curled into a ball under the covers in my bed, Charlie alternating between hovering in my room and talking to Renée on the phone, trying to figure out what to do with me. She and Phil were on vacation in Jamaica, and she couldn't get a flight back. I only left the বিছানা to go to the bathroom when I absolutely had to, and barely touched the খাবার that Charlie brought up for me.
The দিন after – at least I think it was the দিন after, time was a little blurry – the phone rang when I was on my way to the bathroom. I heard Charlie answer and paused for a moment when my dazed brain for some reason registered that it wasn't Renée on the other end of the line.
"Hello? Oh, hi sweetheart… I'm sorry, I don't think that's a good idea right now… she's not doing very well, and I'm worried that talking to আপনি might make it worse…"
I came to the conclusion that he was talking to Alice, and closed the bathroom door behind me. I really didn't want to talk to her, not at the moment.
Angela came over at some point during my own personal week in hell. She didn't try to make me talk, only got in the বিছানা behind me and hugged me tightly. Her presence made it a little easier for a while, not quite so hard to breathe, but the সেকেন্ড she left, the hole inside me opened up again and I wrapped my arms even tighter around my body.
The nights were just as bad, if not worse. I always woke up screaming at some point, but never remembered the nightmare that had scared me so much.
The পরবর্তি time I had contact with the outside world was when I overheard another phone call after a trip to the bathroom.
"Hello? Hi, Renée… no, no change, she's still just lying there… I don't know what to do, she won't eat, she won't talk to me, she won't even get out of বিছানা other than to go to the bathroom… school is starting again on Monday, and if I can't get her to go, I don't… really, tomorrow? Oh thank God. I hope you'll be able to get through to her, because I sure can't. Maybe it would be better for her if she went to Jacksonville with you, got away from everything here."
I realized that Renée was flying to Forks the following day, that she wanted to bring me to Jacksonville with her, and something inside me snapped.
I had no right to ruin the lives of the people who cared about me. I was miserable, and that wasn't likely to change anytime soon, but there was no need to bring Charlie and Renée down with me. And, for some reason which I couldn't quite figure out, I didn't want to leave Forks, no matter how much being here would hurt. So I did what I hadn't done in a week; I got dressed and went downstairs.
Charlie was still on the phone when I came into the kitchen, and cut himself off mid sentence when he saw me.
I could hear Renée's voice over the line, but he ignored her.
"It's OK dad." I said, my voice a little hoarse from lack of use. "You can tell mom that she doesn't have to come here."
It was really all I could muster, so I left the রান্নাঘর and curled up in a corner of the couch, listening as Charlie quietly finished the phone call.
"I don't know, she just came downstairs all of a sudden… well, she's out of বিছানা and actually dressed, so hopefully the worst is over… of course I'll call if it gets worse again… OK… I will… bye."
It took him a few মিনিট to come into the living room after having hung up the phone, and I wondered just how bad the past week had been. When he finally emerged from the kitchen, he sat down on the পালঙ্ক beside me, but didn't touch me.
"How are আপনি feeling?"
"OK, I think." There was no way I was telling him that it felt like I had a hole the size of the Grand Canyon in my chest that threatened to tear me apart completely. I would just have to get better at not letting my feelings show; hide the almost physical pain, so he wouldn't worry.
"I'm glad. I was really worried for a while."
"I'm sorry." I leaned my cheek against my knees and looked at the clock on the দেওয়াল behind Charlie – it was a little after twelve, and since it was light outside, I came to the conclusion that it was noon. "Is today Friday?" I really had no concept of time.
"Saturday." I saw him frown a little. "School starts on Monday, do আপনি think you'll feel up to going?"
"Of course." Getting out of the house might be a good idea, and in school I would hopefully be too preoccupied with other stuff to think too much about… I quickly averted my thoughts and squeezed my eyes shut against the stab of pain.
"Are আপনি hungry? I was just about to make some lunch." Charlie got up from the পালঙ্ক and headed in the direction of the kitchen.
"Lunch would be nice." I really had no idea if I was hungry অথবা not, but eating would be an expected part of the new Bella's-fine routine, so I might as well get started right away.
Charlie made us each two sandwiches with ham and cheese, and I was surprised when I realized that it tasted really good, and that I actually was hungry. I finished the first one and reached for the second, and I could see a relieved look on Charlie's face.
"Is there anything আপনি need for school?" He asked when we had finished lunch.
"No. We…" Another pang of pain. "I got everything in Port Angeles a couple of weeks ago."
"Right." He nodded, and I suddenly felt the need to get out of the house, before he started asking about what had happened that day. I knew that I couldn't deal with that just yet.
"I think I'm going to call Angela, see if she wants to do something." I hurried into the রান্নাঘর before he could object.
"Bella! Hi." I was eternally grateful that she didn't follow her greeting with "how are you?"
"I really need to get out of the house for a while; do আপনি want to do something?"
"Well, I'm watching the twins right now, but আপনি can come over here if আপনি want. My parents should be প্রথমপাতা in an ঘন্টা অথবা so, and then we can do something else."
"That sounds great." I let out a sigh of relief. "I'll be there in a little while."
"OK, see আপনি then."
I hung up the phone and returned to the living room
"I'm going over to Angela's, is that OK?" I wondered if Charlie would insist that I stayed home.
"Of course, go. I might call Billy; he's been nagging me about going fishing all week." I felt guilty, since I was the reason that he hadn't been able to go. Charlie hadn't even left the house in days. "But I won't be late." He hurried to add, and I realized that he must be worried about what would happen if I came প্রথমপাতা to an empty house.
"OK." I suddenly realized that a ঝরনা might be a good idea, and headed up the stairs instead of out the door. I took a quick ঝরনা and put on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt before leaving the house, calling a halfhearted goodbye to Charlie as I headed out the door.
My eyes weren't used to the daylight after being cooped up in my semi-dark bedroom for so long, and I had to squint for a moment on the porch. It wasn't exactly sunny, but the clouds that were covering the sky weren't very thick either. The fact that it – for once – wasn't raining surprised me, as if I had subconsciously expected the weather to be affected দ্বারা my mood.
I started the car, and when I heard the সঙ্গীত coming from the speakers, I quickly hit the eject button and tossed the blank CD on the floor. I violently shoved The Cure's The wish into the stereo instead and headed off towards Angela's house.
I knocked on the door, and she opened it almost immediately, making me wonder if she had been waiting just inside the door.
"Hi." She smiled at me. "I heard the truck."
Of course. Why was I so paranoid?
"Hi." I tried to return the smile, but wasn't sure if I managed to pull off anything আরো than a twitch of the lips. I couldn't really care, either.
"Come on in." She walked ahead of me into the kitchen, where we had a good view of her twin brothers who were building a fort out of chairs and blankets in the living room. "I just made coffee, do আপনি want some?"
"Coffee sounds heavenly." I replied, and it was true. The smell almost made my mouth water.
She poured us each a large cup and we sat down at the রান্নাঘর table.
"Do আপনি want to head down to Port Angeles later?" She wondered, taking a sip of her coffee. "We could go see a movie অথবা something."
"Sure." Just had to avoid anything romantic, and I would be fine. I hoped.
I suddenly realized that Angela might be doing something with Ben that night, and felt bad for just assuming that she didn't have any plans.
"I'm not ruining your plans for tonight, am I? I mean, it is Saturday, and if আপনি and Ben are…"
"No, of course not." She interrupted me, but I wasn't completely sure I believed her. "If anything, you're saving me from another night of poorly dubbed kung-fu movies."
"Really?" I asked skeptically.
"Really! And anyway, Ben gets that I need a girls' night every now and then, so don't worry about it."
I suspected that Angela had called her parents and told them that I was coming over, because they didn't seem surprised to see me when they got প্রথমপাতা an ঘন্টা and a half later. And the fact that they were almost too casual told me that they knew about my little episode.
"Hi, Bella, it's nice to see you." Mrs. Weber greeted me. "How's Charlie?"
"Fishing with Billy, as always." I said, trying to sound cheerful. Even I could hear that I failed miserably, but nobody ব্যক্ত anything.
"Business as usual then." Mr. Weber noted.
"We thought we'd head down to Port Angeles, maybe catch a movie অথবা something." Angela told her parents.
"Sure, sweetie. Will আপনি be প্রথমপাতা for dinner?" Mrs. Weber wondered.
"Do আপনি want to get something to eat there later?" Angela asked me, and I shrugged.
"Sure, that sounds good."
"We won't wait for আপনি then, honey." Mrs. Weber concluded.
We took the truck to Port Angeles; I wasn't sure that I would be able to concentrate on not thinking if I just sat পরবর্তি to Angela the entire way there, and she didn't object when I suggested that I'd drive.
We headed straight to the movie theater to see what was playing, and surveyed the posters outside. Among the চলচ্চিত্র that we hadn't already seen were a couple of romantic comedies and dramas, and I waited anxiously for Angela to suggest something. Luckily, she must have realized that romance was not the way to go.
"I'm in the mood for some horror." She said, pointing to a poster for Jeepers Creepers II. "I thought the first one was pretty good."
I hadn't sent the first movie, since horror films really weren't my style. But it would do fine today. Blood and guts might be a good distraction. Maybe I'd even manage to have a different nightmare – one that I could actually remember, and brush off as set off দ্বারা the movie – if I watched something like that.
"Sure." I agreed, and we went inside to get the tickets.
The movie didn't start until five, so we strolled down East First রাস্তা doing some window shopping to pass the time.
"So…" Angela started after a while, and I braced myself for what I knew was coming. "School is starting again on Monday." Not what I had expected, and I let out a sigh of relief.
"Yeah. Senior year." The thought seemed absurd. I forced myself not to think about all the times we had talked about how great our last বছর of high school would be. None of the things we had planned were going to happen now anyway. No point in living in the past.
"A little scary, isn't it?" Angela said. "I mean, college applications, finals and all that. I have absolutely no idea what I want to do after high school."
"Me neither. But I'll probably end up at Seattle U, I can't afford to go to an out of state college."
"I'll probably apply there too." She agreed. "Wouldn't it be fun if we both got in? To enroll together পরবর্তি fall."
"Yeah." It would be nice to know somebody in the city.
The movie turned out to be just as horrible as I had hoped, and both Angela and I jumped out of our seats আরো than once.
"Wow, that was scary." Angela ব্যক্ত as we walked from the theater to Gordy's for পিজা after the movie. "I don't really like horror movies, but I thought আপনি might want to see something… non romantic."
Here we go then.
"I'm not going to ask about it." She gave me an understanding look. "Just… I'm here, if আপনি need me. আপনি know that?"
"I know. And I appreciate it. Just… not right now." I felt a lump forming in my throat, and the hole inside me stung as I touched on the subject.
"OK, good. I just wanted to make sure that আপনি know that I'm here for আপনি whenever আপনি need me." Angela looped her arm through mine.
"That's what বন্ধু are for, right?"
That night, I remembered the nightmare for the first time. I wasn't sure if this was better, though. And it definitely wasn't a result of watching the horrible movie.
It seemed so real. We were back in my kitchen, and he turned to leave. Only this time I followed him out through the door. I ran as fast as I could, but I still couldn't keep up with him. The distance between us just increased, until he disappeared into the woods. And then I woke up.
The pain in my chest was almost palpable, and I started to shiver. I wrapped the cover tightly around my body and waited for dawn.
I spent the দিন cleaning the entire house, from the attic to the basement and everything in between. I dusted, vacuumed, wiped the floor, cleaned the stove, cupboards and fridge in the kitchen, scrubbed the bathtub, sink and toilet in the bathroom, threw out old magazines and মেয়াদ সমাপ্ত food, cleaned out my closet and gathered clothes in a trash bag to donate to Goodwill. The last thing I did was to gather everything in my room and the truck – CD's, books, clothes, ছবি – that in any way reminded me of him. I stuffed everything in a cardboard box and unceremoniously dumped it in the basement. I managed not to cry while I did this, but when I came back up from the basement, I curled up in the old rocking chair in my room, wrapped a blanket around me and let the tears escape.
After ডিনার that night, I realized that the whole school probably knew that the Cullens were gone দ্বারা now, and that I would attract a fair amount of attention the following day. Charlie had told me that he'd called Mrs. Newton, since I hadn't gone in to work the পূর্ববর্তি week, and even though I was pretty sure that neither she অথবা Mike would say anything, আপনি couldn't hide anything in a town the size of Forks.
I knew that I wouldn't be able to face everyone in school alone, so I called Angela.
"Hi, Mrs. Weber, it's Bella. Is Angela there?"
"Hang on just a minute, Bella, I'll get her for you."
I waited as she called for Angela.
"Hi, Bella. What's up?"
"I was just wondering if আপনি mind meeting in the parking lot tomorrow before school? I'm not sure I could deal with everyone staring if I'm on my own."
"Of course." The fact that she didn't contradict my assumption only strengthened my fear that everyone knew. News traveled fast in Forks.
"Great, thank you." I let out a sigh of relief. "I totally owe আপনি one."
"Don't be silly. I'll see আপনি tomorrow."
All my fears were confirmed when I got to the school the following day. I could see people turning in my direction as soon as I pulled into the parking lot. I cursed the loudness of the truck as I desperately searched for a parking মহাকাশ and desperately hoped that they at least wouldn't linger to get a look at the dumped girl.
Of course, hoping didn't do much.
Angela was waiting দ্বারা Ben's car, and I parked in the মহাকাশ পরবর্তি to it.
"Hi." She greeted me with a hug.
"Hi." I mumbled back. "Thanks."
"Come on." She looped her arm with mine and we headed towards the school, everyone in the parking lot staring after us, whispering to each other. "Ignore them." She mumbled in my ear as we passed a group of girls from our year, including Lauren.
"I heard that he didn't even tell her they were leaving." I heard Lauren say when we had passed them; she was speaking so loudly I could only assume that she meant for me to overhear her. "Seems like she's not so special after all, doesn't it?"
"God, she's such a bitch!" Angela exclaimed quietly, and I gaped at her.
"Angela!" I had never heard her use words like that before.
"What? She is!"
"I know." I completely agreed with her. "I just didn't expect আপনি of all people to call her on it."
My hopes that the distraction of school would keep my mind occupied didn't work as well as I had thought. Sure, I had a lot to think about with a new schedule, new locker combination, new classes. But at the same time, there were so many things, too many, about the place that reminded me of him. Everywhere I turned, there was some reminder; the টেবিল we used to sit at in Bio, his old locker, the place where I'd slipped and broken my wrist the পূর্ববর্তি winter, the spot where he'd used to meet me and Alice after Computer Science.
When Angela and I walked into the cafeteria for lunch, my eyes automatically traveled to our table. My হৃদয় almost stopped when I saw that there were people sitting there, but then I realized that they were new freshmen.
Angela seemed at a loss about what to do when we had paid for our food, and stood hesitating in the middle of the room.
"Why don't আপনি guys sit with us?" Mike came out of nowhere, and I could hear Angela let out a sigh of relief.
"Sure." She quickly agreed, and we followed him to his usual table, which was already occupied দ্বারা several people, among them Jessica, Eric and, unfortunately, Lauren. Jessica seemed less than thrilled to see me there, and whispered something to Lauren, who glared at me. Not that that was anything new.
"Hey guys." Angela said, sitting down পরবর্তি to Eric.
"Hi." I echoed, taking the আসন পরবর্তি to her and trying to focus on the খাবার in front of me to avoid Lauren's evil looks and Jessica's annoyed glances.
"So, Bella, my mom wanted to know if you're interested in working a couple of afternoons a week and maybe a Saturday here and there." I was surprised at Mike's question; I had assumed that Mrs. Newton wouldn't want me anywhere near her store after the পূর্ববর্তি week.
"Sure, that would be great." I happily welcomed any distraction that I could get. I was already dreading the moment school would be over, and I would have to go প্রথমপাতা to an empty house.
"Great. Just stop দ্বারা some time this week, and she ব্যক্ত that আপনি could work out a schedule together."
"OK, I'll do that. Thank you."
Mike turned his attention to Jessica, who didn't seem to like that he talked to me. I realized that she saw me as some kind of competition now, and the idea would have made me laugh if it hadn't been for the fact that it brought with it thoughts that I was desperately trying to avoid.
Ben joined us a মিনিট later, and I spent the rest of lunch focusing on the conversation with him and Angela, trying to keep my mind so occupied that it wouldn't accidentally stray into unwanted territory.