So, it's been a while, but I'm back, with not one but two new fics … maybe three. Two dramatic (this is one of the dramatic ones) and one light hearted. I am not too sure yet of the posting schedule or if there will even be one but I assure you, once I start a fic I will finish it. This one happens to be mostly written. The other ones I am flying by the seat of my pants.
Okay down to business. I do not own the characters in this work of fiction… emphasis on the FICTION part. I am not one of these writers that researches every little detail, so if it is not completely accurate, let it slide. I am also not a very descriptive writer, so there is that as well. But if you want a brainless read that might make you cry, might make you mad, might make you laugh and will end up as an HEA, then I'm your gal. I have no pre readers and no beta, so there will some slight grammar and punctuation mistakes. Just point them out if they are glaringly obvious and I will fix them. I am just not patient enough to wait for someone to look over it before I post. It's not them, it's me. I swear.
I don't want to give more away just yet so let's get started, shall we?
Where The Heart Is
Summary: "I am used to bad days as they make up most of the 365 days that we are allotted per year. This is my life, a series rainy days. And for me, when it rains it pours." But what happens when that bad luck suddenly changes at the hands of a man who rarely feels any emotion other than anger? And will it be soon enough to save the most precious person in Bella's life?
I am having a bad day. I am used to bad days as they make up most of the 365 days that we are allotted per year. It is kind of like rain here in Forks, where I reside. There are three kinds of phases in the weather here- about to start raining, raining and just finished raining. This is my life. And when it rains it pours.
Take today for instance. I clocked in sixteen minutes late, a fact that my boss, Rose, was not happy about. She took her managerial duties at The Lodge very seriously. Why, I don't know. It was a hole in the wall restaurant with subpar food. But for Forks, I suppose it was fancy. I was reprimanded loudly then was told to go prep. Yes!
I hated waiting on tables. I would much rather be prepping and cooking. Okay, I would much rather be anywhere other than here but bad luck, remember?
I was listening to 'Baby Got Back' on my obsolete iPod and I was in the zone- which only means I hadn't chopped off one of my fingers- when Rose pulled me aside, yanked out my earphones, and told me to go wait on table 18. I looked at her like she had lost her damn mind.
"What? I can't. I'm a horrible waitress." I whispered loudly.
"I don't care. Lauren called in sick and Angela is dying out there."
"I am going to mess this up."
"See that you don't." She hissed, before stalking off.
I stomped my foot in a childish gesture and rolled my eyes at Riley, the normal pitch hitter for when we get busy, but he was cooking today.
"Why didn't she ask you?" I huffed.
"I may have accidentally on purpose messed up so I wouldn't have to do it again."
"Great. So all I have to do is piss the customer off but manage not to lose my job. No problem." I snarked.
I rushed into the bathroom, tidied my hair and took a deep breath.
'You can do this,' I told my reflection in the mirror.
I walked to the back of the restaurant to table 18, armed with a few menus. I smiled pleasantly.
There were three men and two women- all seeming to be between their late thirties to late forties. None were dressed casually and there seemed to be a snobbish aura wafting around them. This was gonna be so much fun. I gathered all the bearings I could muster.
"Hello. My name is…"
"We don't care what your name is and we already know what we want", the youngest male of the group replied… rudely, might I add.
I will not slap this man with these menus. I forced a smile and my eyebrows to behave.
"I want the Filet Mignon, rare, with the roasted vegetables and a Caesar salad on a clean plate with a sparkling water in a clean glass. Also a gin and tonic. And hurry up with it, I don't have all day."
I took a deep, but quiet breath. I need the tips. I need the tips.
"Sir, I don't think we have sparkling water. Is filtered okay?" He glared at me. "Sorry, sir."
"I'll just have to endure."
I turned to the next person at the table.
"And for you?"
"They'll have the same. Just go put our order in. Can you manage that?"
"I'll just have the chef salad. No cheese, eggs, ham, bacon or croutons, fat free Italian on the side", the blonde next to Lucifer chimed in.
"So you just want lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers?" I clarified.
"Isn't that what I just said?" She asked, dumbly.
"Of course. Is everyone having the same as the… gentleman?" I hesitantly asked, when no one else asked to change their order.
"Oh, for Christ's sake, will you hurry the hell up!" Lucifer exploded.
"Yes, sir. Sorry, sir." I repeated as I scurried away. People were looking so I just kept my head down and practically threw the order to Riley.
"Please hurry this up!"
"Bad table?" He smirked.
"You knew!" I accused.
"Yep. Why do you think I told Rose I wouldn't do it again?"
"And that battleax listened?"
"Hell no, I had to fuck her." He shrugged.
"You are so disgusting." I groaned.
"Just get that order done, asap!"
I threw together their drinks and carried them to their table… carefully.
"You are making a scene, my boy." The oldest in the group told Lucifer. "There is no need to yell at the poor girl."
"Who cares? She's a waitress, a nobody."
My eyes stung with unshed tears, but I sucked it up and delivered their drinks, before hurrying back to the kitchen for the salad and bread, delivering that in double time. I only checked on them one time to refill their drinks and thankfully, he was on the phone.
Twenty minutes later, I carefully delivered their food. He was still on the phone, yelling at some other poor unfortunate soul.
"Can I get you anything else?" I asked.
"Can't you see I am on the phone? Just go." He waved me off.
"Edward!" The older gentlemen said sternly, looking at me with a look that was slightly apologetic.
So that was Lucifer's name. Edward. Huh. I preferred Lucifer.
I forced a smile. "It's fine. I'll be back later."
Lucifer sighed loudly.
I took the hint and left, making my way to the prep area and leaning against the door facing to pull myself together.
"How's it going?"
I startled and opened my eyes to see Rose.
"Great!" I forced some enthusiasm.
"Yeah, so great you have the customer yelling at you. You'd better not get a complaint, Bella."
I checked on them, quietly, a couple more times- refilled drinks and left them their check then finally, finally, they were done. Lucifer signed the check and I waited for them to exit so I could clear the table.
Angela came to help me.
"What an asshole!" I exploded.
"Maybe he was having a bad day. He's been nice to me before."
"Who cares if he is having a bad day. That is no excuse to be rude and intolerant. Maybe… maybe he is the devil incarnate sent here to terrorize waitresses such as myself and this is my one way ticket into heaven!" I ranted, incoherently. "Oh! Maybe, he can't get it up and he has extra testosterone because he can't have sex with that skinny blonde. Maybe he tortures small children or old people…"
"Maybe, you should help me clear this table so I can get off." Angela interrupted.
I laughed and finished the room and then my shift quickly.
I walked to the bus stop after my shift was over, begrudging public transportation. It was both a blessing and a curse, but it was all I had. It wasn't like I could afford a car. Forks only has one bus and while everything is pretty much within walking distance, I take the bus because rain. All the rain.
I hadn't intended for my life to end up this way. I had a brilliant future ahead of me once. I was financially comfortable, smart, about to graduate medical school- the daughter of one of the most renowned surgeons ever; the world was my oyster. Then a one-night stand had changed my life.
Eight months later, I had become a mother.
Charlotte Elizabeth Swan was the light of my life. She was three: so smart and oh so beautiful.
And she was dying.
A little bit more, every day. She was perfect, but her heart wasn't. We were in hospitals more than we were out of them. Medications, oxygen, surgeries… over and over again. It's like a merry go round. Round and round you go, where you stop nobody knows.
HLHS was my reality now. Words that I had only studied up until three years ago- Norwood, Sano, Glenn, Hemi- Fontane- now were very much a part of my life. Of her life. She knows no difference, but I do. I know it isn't supposed to be like this. All of these surgeries, all the medicine, the oxygen tank that straps to her back, artificial valves- these steps to keep her alive- are only biding time. The only cure for my daughter is cardiac transplantation- a heart transplant.
Yes, I was that person. The one who was sitting around waiting for a call saying that some other child had died and my child could have their heart. What kind of person wishes for a child to die?
One who loves her own child, that's who.
I climbed onto the bus and settled in the back, sending off a quick text on my Nokia. I couldn't afford it but I had to have it. I then closed my eyes and cat napped until I reached the stop near my apartment.
I got home twenty-five minutes later and trudged up three flights of stairs. I kept requesting a ground floor apartment because this building had no elevator but I had been denied, stating I had no valid reason for wanting one. Yeah, cause my kid not being able to exert herself isn't reason enough. So, I carried her. Everywhere. Not that she got out much. Germs are a big no-no.
I opened my door and sighed in relief as I took off my shoes.
"I'm home." I called out.
"Mommy!" Charlotte wheezed as she walked slowly towards me. I cringed at the ashen tint of her face and her lips, but I pushed it aside and gave my girl a big hug, being mindful of her oxygen.
"I missed you so much!" I exclaimed.
"How much?" She asked.
"To the moon and back." I said solemnly.
"That's a lot." She gasped. She settled tiredly in my arms and I closed my eyes, breathing in her sweet smell, committing it to memory, just in case…
No. Not an option. My little girl dying is not going to happen. Not as long as I was alive.
Alice leaned against the wall and smiled at me.
"Hey you. Was it a bad day?" I asked.
"A little. Really tired today. Five breathing treatments. Albuterol is almost out, along with the dobutamine and Lasix, but they have a week left."
I sucked in a breath and let it out slowly. She needed the albuterol for her lungs, which her heart was making worse every day. But that medicine was about fifty dollars, fifty dollars I didn't have because my salary barely covered living expenses. I looked at the calendar. I had five days until her medication allowance started over on her Medicaid.
I nodded and racked my brain thinking about what bill could go without paying this month.
"I can get it for you." Alice said.
"No. I will find a way." I said stubbornly.
"Let me do this. She has to have it, Bella." She reasoned with me.
"I will find a way to pay you back." I vowed.
We both knew she would never take it.
"Okay, I am off to work now." She said, gathering her things. I grabbed her arm and looked up at her.
"Thank you, for everything. I know you work so hard and you don't get enough sleep because of me and I… just… I love you." I said.
"She is my niece and you are my sister. You two are the only family I have. I can sleep when I die. Besides I nap when she naps."
I nodded and she hugged me before leaving.
Alice had always been my rock, which was funny because I was the oldest. But with no mom and a preoccupied dad, we leaned on each other. So when I got pregnant, then disowned by Daddy Dearest- she left everything behind to help me. The money, the cushy apartment, our father… everything. She still finished medical school. I had insisted. She had scholarships so she was set. She was smart. I had messed around way too much in high school and then college to have anyone but Charlie to pay my way so when the money stopped, so did my schooling. But baby Charlotte and I were in the front row cheering on Alice when she got her medical degree.
Alice had been offered a position at Forks General a few months ago and begged me to come with her. I had. It wasn't going to make her career but it would be a nice change of pace for us. A small, quiet town away from the hustle and bustle of a big city but near enough in case Charlotte had an extreme emergency. She had made it clear to her new boss that she needed an odd schedule and he had granted her request.
I looked down at the sleeping little girl in my arms and kissed her forehead. I then gently lifted her up and carried her to the only bedroom the apartment had. It was hers. I slept on the couch or in the chair in her room. I wanted her to have whatever I could give her, no matter how little. My needs ceased to exist once I had her. I would die for her. Literally, if my heart was the right size, I would kill myself so she could live.
That is how much I loved her.
I tucked her in, kissed her cheeks, whispered that I loved her and left the room. I hurriedly ate some Ramen, took a shower, got dressed in my pajamas and settled into the chair in her room with the want ads in my lap, the night light being just enough for me to see them.
There had to be something better for us.
There just had to be.
*HLHS- Hypoplastic left heart syndrome.
Some of you may know, if you are on my FB group or FB friends with me, or have simply read some of my other stories, I am intimately familiar with this disease. It has taken two of my children away from me. It is a vicious killer for which there is no cure other than a transplant. Both of my children died as infants with no hope for one. They would be 17 and 16 today.
For Andrew Charles and Emily Grace.