I opened my mouth again, but no words came out, and I stayed frozen on the spot staring at my Mom for a long moment trying to take it all in.
In all honesty I still couldn't believe she was here. It had been almost 4 years since the last time I saw Renee, and she looked a lot different than how I remembered her. Time had most certainly not been kind to her: she had aged considerably, she'd clearly lost a lot of weight, and her face looked gaunt and slightly haggard.
I expected that when the time came that I saw my Mother again, all the hurt and betrayal I felt would come to the surface, and that I would feel bitter and angry about how she had treated me so callously when I'd lived with her, and how she had abandoned me so easily afterwards.
And I wanted to be mad at her; really I did. Except all of my anger somehow evaporated, when I took in her run-down appearance. Uncontrollably, I felt sorry for her. Perhaps that made me weak and pathetic but I couldn't help the way I felt.
Still, I wasn't going to let my emotions get the better of me. I wasn't naïve enough to believe that Renee was here to make an amends after all this time. She didn't do anything without an ulterior motive and I was instantly on my guard as to why she had decided to pay us a visit all of a sudden.
"Mom, this is a surprise. What are you doing here?" I asked wearily.
"Is that any way to greet your mother?" She coolly responded, her expression giving nothing away. "Well, aren't you going to invite me inside?"
"Of course, come in," I said, as I awkwardly stepped aside. She passed me by without so much as a smile or even a hug. Nothing. It felt like we were the total strangers we had always been.
I followed behind apprehensively as Renee went into living room where Gran was eager to see who our visitor was. To say that she was surprised was an understatement. She was actually speechless for a good few minutes while she stared at my mother in surprise.
Renee, meanwhile seemed undeterred by Grans silence and was her typically honest self as she declared, "Well, the old place certainly hasn't changed very much." She looked around the room dismissively before spitefully adding. "In fact I think it is exactly as it was over twenty years ago."
"Why you cheeky so and so. You have some front coming here and criticising this house after all that you have done!" Gran was outraged.
"It's okay Gran. I'll deal with this." I interrupted. I could tell she was getting riled up so I attempted to calm her down. It wasn't good for her health to get overly stressed. Besides, I was more than capable of dealing with Renee on my own so I urged her to go to head upstairs.
"Why don't you go upstairs? I'll be fine," I reassured her though she looked unconvinced.
Reluctantly, Gran made her way upstairs, but I could tell she wasn't very happy about it.
"I see the old bat is as interfering as ever. She never could keep her nose out of anything." Renee's comments incensed me! "How dare you! Gran has been good to me." I defended.
"Don't be so sensitive, Bella. I'm only teasing." Renee replied before turning her smile on me.
"What is it you actually want?" I asked. I'd had enough of her creeping around me when she obviously wanted something, though for the life I couldn't understand what that was.
Renee looked reluctant as she admitted, "I need your help."
"Help how?" I worried.
"You must have known that Phil and I were having trouble before you moved out? Well we split up not long after," she said sadly.
"I'm sorry," I didn't know what else to say.
"Things were tough for a while but then I met Peter. He was charming and handsome; a real catch. We married sooner after- too soon. It wasn't until after we married that I realized he wasn't the man I thought he was. He gambled, and drank a lot which meant we were always struggling. If that weren't bad enough, I lost my job and things went from bad to worse. That's when Peter left me but not before leaving me in even more of a mess. Ever since it's been a struggle to keep up with the rent, the loans and his debts. I'm on the verge of loosing the house. I need your help, Bella. Please, you're the only one I can ask."
"And what makes you think we can help you? As I'm sure you're aware, were hardly rolling in money." I told her honestly. As sorry as I felt for her I had a feeling she was only telling me part of the story to gain my sympathy.
"You've got this house. Things must be pretty cosy if you can afford to have some home improvements," she speculated.
"Yes, improvements that have taken months of saving and struggling to afford." I snapped, my temper getting the better of me. "You know what; I don't have to justify myself to you. I can't believe the only reason you're here is to ask for money!" I sighed, exasperated.
"It's not like I've asked you for anything before." Renee reasoned.
"No, you haven't. You've made it perfectly clear that you wanted nothing from me at all."
"I might have known you'd be so selfish!" She replied bitterly.
"Selfish!" I could barely get my words out, I was so angry. But when I did I could hear my voice rising. No doubt Gran could hear every word we were saying. I worried that she would come down so I tried to lower my tone when I was finally able to continue.
"Selfish!" I repeated, exasperated by her claims. "I'm not the one who left as soon as I was born and was never there for me after. Mom, I haven't even seen you in almost four years! And in that time when did you ever call me or even attempt to get in touch? No phone calls, not even a birthday card. Nothing! And now the only time you come back is to try and get money out of me!"
"I should have known that I was wasting my time asking you to see reason. You always were your Fathers Daughter." She sneered.
"Don't you dare bring Dad into this!" I snapped. Dad was my weakness and Renee seized on it.
"Why not? It's true. If he were here asking you for help you wouldn't have even hesitated!"
"You know, you're right. I would, because unlike you Dad cared for me. He looked after me! He actually wanted me around! Whereas the only reason you are here is for your own benefit. Now go get out. I've heard enough."
I didn't turn around to see if Renee was following me when I headed to the front door, but by the time I had opened it I turned around to find her right behind me looking furious.
"Goodbye Renee." I spoke as I held the door open for her.
"I'm going, and believe me I wont be coming back." She said sorely once she realized I wasn't going to give her what she wanted.
"I hope you enjoy your sad little life alone," she added bitterness spiking her words.
"Sad life?" I laughed at her claims. "I'm much happier than I ever was with you in my life." I retaliated.
"Oh, you mean that man I saw you with earlier?" she laughed as though it was the most funniest thing in the world.
"I don't believe for one moment he'll stick around. I give it a couple of weeks, a month tops, before he gets bored and moves onto someone new. That's if he hasn't already." She sniggered.
"You don't know anything about Edward," I defended.
" I don't have to. It doesn't take a genius to see that he's way out of your league." She looked me up and down in one brief dismissive glance.
"Do you really think you'll be enough for him? He'll be gone, you mark my words. Enjoy it while it lasts!" Those were her parting comments before she stormed outside, slamming the door behind her.
An:First of all I'm sorry that it is a really short chapter today, but I know it has been a while since my last update. I had planned on posting one more chapter before my holiday and clearly that didn't go to plan:( But I'm back now and updates should be more regular from now on I promise.
Thanks to everyone who continues to read and review this story. I'm really happy that so many of you have taken to it so much.
Until next time! There will be more Edward in the next chapter I promise!