Disclaimer to Stephanie Meyer.
A/N: Hello, I'm posting this because I've been working on it for some time. I have a few chapters written so I thought I would post some. I'm going to keep writing it but I don't know if I should post it as I go or if I should post everything all at once. If you find this story, I hope you like it.
With love, - M
Date: February 14th 2006
Subject: Valentine's Day
The snow in Washington today was heavy, a foot was set by the time the sun rose. It's the snow that glimmers, that from a distance, almost looks beautiful. School was cancelled and Charlie spent the entire day helping stranded drivers on the highway. It's Valentine's Day, I'm thinking of you.
Charlie suggested the other day that I move back in with my mother. I can't leave- I know that you're not coming back, that he's not coming back. But if I leave, then, that's it. I don't know if I'll ever be ready for that. He said it would be as if he never existed, but now I feel him just as intensely as before. Except now, instead of warmth radiating from my chest, a pit of nothing spreads throughout me. It engulfs everything. I don't want to forget anything that's happened, but even if I did, I couldn't. I don't have the energy or desire to function. Everyone is being patient with me. They believe time will heal, but I don't know if I will ever be able to exist without this.
He believed I had a soul, and I did not believe him. I might now, because aside from writing these and pretending that you read them, I'm just a walking, hollow version of what I used to be. Maybe that's what I am missing, what he took with him when you all left.
I guess it's a bit ironic.
I miss you.
I woke up the next morning exhausted, as usual. Charlie's cruiser was still parked outside, which meant whatever hope he had of fishing today was officially quashed. I knew that I had made the past few months hard on Charlie, that I needed to make more of an effort to show him I wasn't completely lost, even if I felt like I was.
I lazily got myself ready for a day to busy myself with homework or reading or whatever could keep my attention the longest. I was startled as I booted up my computer and heard Charlie knocking on my door.
He opened my door and did his, now routine, sweep of the room. Constantly fearing the worst, I assume. I thought I had successfully convinced him that I didn't need to leave Forks but seeing the expression on his face made me think that I may have been too presumptuous.
After giving him a quick nod and turning to open my email, Charlie awkwardly stepped into my room and sat on the end of my bed, body turned toward my desk. Realizing he wanted my full attention, I spun in my chair and made my best effort at a carefree smile.
"Hi dad" I attempted to chirp. Even I could tell how forced it sounded. I winced slightly at his raised eyebrow.
"You woke up screaming twice last night Bella," he stated flatly.
"I know-" I started, but he quickly cut me off.
"I'm not here to try and convince you to go back to your Mother. But Bells, I need you to put more effort into… getting better. You can't keep at it like this. At some point honey, you need to move on."
Charlie had given me a variety of this speech nearly every week the past few months. As time passed, the language became more direct and his tone more worried. I was tired of my father feeling the effects of my pain, of forcing him to go through it with me. I needed to better shield him from it.
It was not an uncommon occurrence for Charlie to wake me up in the middle of the night, screaming from the dreams of reliving everything. It was a constant reminder to him of my agony. Between his broken sleep schedule and monitoring me around the clock, I knew that my hell was no paradise for him. What Charlie failed to understand though was that the worst days were the days following nights of peaceful sleep.
Sometimes, I would dream that he was still here. I dreamt of his eyes and the flickers of gold in his iris. I dreamt of the coldness of his skin, hard like marble and glimmering in the sun. I dreamt of his breath against the back of my neck while lying in bed, hand cupped on my waist. I dreamt that he was here. In these dreams my body felt whole, until I'd wake up and become flooded with his absence.
Those days, I felt as though I was a modern Prometheus. And each day, I was chained to a high mountain for a vulture to tear into my flesh, only to heal at the start of night fall. And the healing, though exquisite, would only give the pain a clean slate to redestroy. The only exception, I had no hopes a Hercules would come to save me.
"Actually, I was thinking of going to the reservation today to see Jake." I spit out the first thing that came to my mind that I thought would make him happy. Judging by the way his eyes got larger and his next sentence stopped short, I guessed I had said the right thing.
"I was just booting up my computer to finish my paper for English," I stated, conveniently not mentioning it wasn't due for another 3 weeks, "and then I was going to head out."
He eyed me suspiciously, wondering if I really had any intentions on seeing Jake today. He must have wanted to believe it enough to overlook the fact that the roads were completely iced over and I hadn't spoken to Jake since prom. He nodded, allowing a small smile to spread across his face.
"You'll say hello to Billy for me?" he asked.
"Of course, I'll call you from the Black's when I start to head home."
With that, he got up to kiss me on my forehead and walked out of my room. He released a deep breath I had no knowledge he was holding. I didn't have a real desire to interact with others today, but for Charlie's sake I would make the trip.
I finished my essay sooner than I had desired and began dressing myself in warmer clothes. I had no idea if Jake would even be available to hang out. Though I wanted to make Charlie happy, it would be a relief to be able to use Jake as an excuse to not be social.
After throwing on my thick cream wool sweater, I made my way down the stairs and reached to grab for my winter coat. I briefly considered making myself something to eat before leaving, but quickly decided against it knowing I had no appetite and wouldn't develop one anytime soon.
"Bells," Charlie yelled from the living room, interrupting the background noise of the basketball game he was watching, "I know it's freezing out, but just remember not to go into the woods at all. We're still dealing with whatever animal is out there."
"Got it, see you later," I yelled back, opening the door to step outside. There had been no "animal" attacks since James, Victoria, and Laurent were in Forks, but Charlie worried the animal was only hibernating. I had no intentions of going in the woods anyway, so it would be any easy promise to make him happy.
As I slid in my truck and started the engine, I sat for a moment giving my truck a chance to warm up. As much as I used to hate the cold, I had come to feel more welcoming to it. It reminded me of how I had felt near him. The coldness of his touch on my hands, my neck, my cheek…
I pushed the thought aside and began backing out of my driveway.
The roads were still slick from all the snow the day before. Surprisingly, I was grateful for the slick ice as it forced me to give my full attention to driving. The drive to the reservation was only 15 minutes, but it was better than nothing.
Almost to the reservation line, the conditions of the road got worse. I slowed my truck down, concentrating even harder on the pavement in front of me. Charlie had installed tire chains on my truck in November. They hadn't been any use until now, but I was thankful.
I was only a few minutes from Jacob's house at this point. I could see the sign indicating the reservation line only a few hundred feet away. Once I crossed, the roads would be better. I mentally cursed myself for the knowledge that I would have to drive back to Charlie's later today. Hopefully, the slush and ice on the roads would melt some.
As I turned a curve on the road, the front wheel of my truck hit a thick slab of ice. The back tires of my truck fishtailed behind me and spun my truck perpendicular to the road. In a panic, I attempted to correct the motion of the truck, twisting the wheel sharply and slamming on the brakes. The truck skidded across the pavement, having no reaction to my futile attempt at correcting its path. I slammed my eyes shut, praying that Charlie would not have a reason to regret encouraging me to go today. Still sliding on the pavement, the truck veered off into the ditch, slamming vigorously against a large tree.
At the realization my truck had finally stopped moving, I opened my eyes and paused. The cab of my truck was now V-shaped, each side curved around the base of the tree. I took a deep breath and tried to shift my legs, relieved that the driver's side was not crushed enough to prevent me from moving. I could feel a throbbing on my collarbone and promptly noted that my entire windshield was shattered. I glanced down to see blood dripping from my shoulder. If I hadn't already been faint from the accident, I was now.
I closed my eyes again. The pain in my shoulder and throughout my body was increasing. The adrenaline was undoubtedly keeping me from feeling the full effects, but the ache in my side and along my thighs indicated that I would at the very least be covered in bruises for weeks to come. The blood from my shoulder continued to flow down my sweater, staining it a deep crimson that would surely never come out.
I began to laugh. This is what should have happened when Tyler's van slid towards me in the parking lot last year. I should have been crushed, left to bleed out until the van could be moved for the paramedics to get me. It would have taken too long and I would have died. He was right, it was as if he had never existed. And just like it was meant to happen a year ago, this is how I would die.
I thought I should allow this to happen, stay there and let my shoulder bleed out as long as it could. And then that would be the end of it. Someone would see my truck slammed against the tree, maybe pull aside to see if I needed help, but I would already be gone. The pit inside my body could consume whatever was left of me.
As I sat there, shoulder still bleeding, the promise I had made to him crept into my mind. A tear slid down my cheek as I opened my eyes.
Sucking in a deep breath, I forced myself to move my eyes from the ceiling of my truck to look outside my now shattered windshield.
And there he was.