I don't own twilight. What I own is my character's behavior, personality, background, and plot of the story.
This is the rewriting of On Solid Ground.
Thanks to my Beta MadMooey18 for making this readable.
There is something to be said about watching a coffin lowering a parent into the ground. The first time it happened she was 16, barely a person. It destroyed her, leaving no rock unturned. It showed her the kind of pain that wedges itself in your wounds and forces your skin to heal around it making it a permanent part of your being. To this day, losing her mum hits her to the core.
The second time is another story altogether.
She can't say she feels pain. Pain would insinuate that she cared even a little for him. Her feelings for him were never high enough to say that she has any affection for him. That doesn't mean she feels nothing toward him. She feels irritation, like a child would if they were sprinkled with itching powder and ordered not to itch. She feels anger, mostly at herself. She shouldn't have been so hasty. She should have had patience. He never got to suffer enough for his sins against her but then there is no amount of suffering he could go through that would ever come close to making up for what he did to her. He could burn for eternity and it still wouldn't make up for it. Another emotion fights its way to the surface as she watches the coffin disappear into the ground: elation. He will never be able to breathe deep enough to make her count hers. Not that the last ones he took were spent counting hers. He had bigger fish to fry. Life is no longer fun when you're not the hunter. She would have liked to keep the cat-and-mouse game they had going on between them, but he had to go and throw a wrench in their plans and she needed to cut her losses; starting with him. After all, it's not about putting him out of his misery. It was about getting herself out of it. It wasn't out of the kindness of her heart, it was out of necessity. He had taken too much out of her life. It is was time for him to go.
She fights the smile that threatens to take over her face behind the huge sunglasses worn despite the gloomy sky that opens its gates. The men start to hastily bury him to outrun the rain. It's no use. This is Forks; nothing but rain happens here.
Let them delude themselves into thinking they can do it. It's fun for someone else to have a disaster for a change.
Someone shoves an umbrella towards her which almost prompts her to say "no thanks" without even looking up to see who gave it to her but she doesn't.
She isn't stupid. She has to play the part of a grieving daughter. A grieving daughter doesn't refuse an umbrella, she mutters a "thanks" while sniffing loudly. She should receive an Oscar for her perfect performance. It's not over the top but it is not underwhelming either. She toes the perfect line in between.
She waits patiently as everyone disperses before the coffin is buried completely.
Fates have a way with things. If you were alive no one would have dared to move an inch, but now that you are dead, you are nothing but a bag of bones in a box under the dirt.
She maintains a face of utter devastation as they finish burying him. Once done she asks the guy who handed the umbrella to her for a couple of minutes of privacy. He tells her to keep the umbrella and jogs a couple of yards towards one of the imposing trees.
Once, sure that no one is close, she drops the mask and smirks as she drops to her knees and whispers, "I hope the devils have been keeping your seat warm 'cause it's about to be a cold day in hell."
She gets off the ground gracefully and brushes off the mud on her knees and buttons up her coat to cover them before she walks towards the car; his car.
The old man would lose his marbles if he were to see me driving his car.
She seriously considered driving his coffin in the stupid truck he forced her to drive around town but realized that such a stunt wouldn't be in her best interest. She hears her name being called in the distance as she opens the door of the car. She looks up and watches as the guy that gave her his umbrella jogs toward her.
He is probably back for his umbrella. Chivalry is dead.
Bella thrusts the umbrella towards him before he can even ask for it.
"Oh no, keep it I just came to tell you that if you need anything to let me know. Charlie was great to me," he tells her.
"Charlie is great to me" tells me everything I need to know about you.
"Thanks, I appreciate it," she tells him sniffing. He opens his mouth to say something but she spies someone in the distance that makes her quickly close the umbrella and get in the driver's seat.
She pulls out of the parking spot as fast as possible then opens her phone and dials the number she knows too well. "In Forks, the sun is hiding," she states when Aro answers her after the second ring.
"It sure is," Aro replies. This is their code. Had Aro said anything else she would have known that the line isn't safe or he can't speak to her because he is with someone.
"Tell me you got the papers squared," she demanded.
"Did something happen?" Aro asks her, sounding concerned.
"Did something happen! Are you fucking kidding me? Is what happened a week ago not enough for you?" she explodes at him in fury.
"I mean, did something new happen, Bella? Of course, I remember what happened last week," he tells her patiently, his voice taking a serious tone. She rolls her eyes at him. She doesn't understand why he feels the need to ask questions.
Can't ,he just do what he is told and what is expected of him?
Maybe 'cause he is a mafia leader that doesn't follow the orders of others?
She keeps forgetting that. Aro isn't one to follow orders. Nor is he seduced with nice words and flattery. He is not one to be caught with vinegar or honey. She can't keep pretending like he is someone she can control.
"The Blacks made sure to give me a strange look right as I entered the car. They are up to no good. I just know it," she finally mutters in irritation.
Her relationship with Aro resembles one between a scrawny cat and its owner. The cat can hiss all it wants, but it can never claim to have put a roof above the other's head, not that Aro can claim that he has put a roof above her head either. His help is a thank you for the services she offered him. Something akin to an eye for an eye. That doesn't mean they are equals. One party is a white male that heads one of the biggest mafia families in the USA, and the other is none of the above. It goes without saying that she isn't the one holding the cards. That's why it's a delicate dance she is balancing, standing her ground without being too offending.
She pulls into the street of her house and parks the car in the overcrowded space before she gets out of it and locks it behind her. There are too many people in here.
She hates it.
She hates how she has to play the perfect heartbroken daughter whose stellar reputation doesn't make a perfect daughter of her. What she hates more is the spineless people who showed up to said funeral. Her dad ruled this town with an iron fist. He put to shame any tornado that destroyed everything in its wake. If a single person in this funeral had dignity, they wouldn't be here.
Karl Max once said that the proletariat have nothing to lose but their chains. He never counted on the people of Forks having a bondage kink.
She opens the door and multiple pairs of eyes land on her. She nods her head at a couple of them and shakes some hands before she makes her escape towards the kitchen where she finds Carmen and Seth whispering to themselves.
"Hey," Bella mutters as she waves at both of them once they look up and see her.
"What's wrong?" she asks worried once she sees the expressions on their faces.
"We are facing a catering problem. Don't worry we talked to the catering company and they will get it fixed," Seth tells her and rushes to the telephone to answer it. Of course he doesn't want her pissed off. It's his mum doing the catering.
She opens the fridge and then bites into a strawberry she just took out of it and asks, "What caused the problem?"
"We underestimated the number of people who showed up," Seth replies.
"Yeah, I didn't know that my brother was that much of a loved mayor in this town," Carmen adds.
"It's not love. They are here cause they know that a meal at his funeral is the most they will ever get from him," Seth replies. She stands back staring at them. She has a feeling that something is off but before she can ask them she hears her name being called from the doorway of the kitchen.
She turns around and finds Aro standing in the doorway so she rushes towards him and hugs him. She knows that people are watching. It's no secret that Aro is her Godfather. It's no secret that Aro and Charlie were friends. It's a no-brainer that both of them would cry over him together, so naturally, she sheds a couple of tears and sniffs for the attending audience. Once a minute has passed of them hugging, they pull back and Aro leads her gently toward the pantry to speak to her.
"Did they say anything or do anything that resembled a threat?" he demands while looking her over.
She shakes her head and he sighs in relief. What they did to her the last time she saw them caused him a fright, to say the least.
"Do I have anything to worry about?" she asks after giving him a couple of seconds of silence.
He shakes his head which prompts her to say, "The will is going to be read in 5 hours. I don't want any surprises, Aro."
He places his hands on her shoulders as he looks her in the eye and says, "I promise you won't have any. I made sure of it. It's the least I can do."
She looks down not sure what to do. She isn't comfortable with this level of physical touch. Usually, a man touching her is a prerequisite to not very nice things. The last time a man touched her in a kind respectful way, her mum was alive.
Noticing her lowered gaze and feeling her stiff shoulders, he drops his hands and puts them behind his back before taking a couple of steps back to give her some space. He rubs the back of his neck not sure what to do next until he remembers what he brought with him.
He pulls a gun out of the fanny pack he is wearing and hands it to her before he says, "All of your dad's guns will be taken. I got you this so you aren't completely unprotected. Before you say anything it is completely licensed, not just here but also in New York too for when you move."
She replies, "I wasn't going to. I think it's a great idea."
Liar liar pants on fire.
It's a gun. Do you realize what kind of a big deal this is?
Do you need the reminder that you are involved in the murder?
That statement shut the parts of herself that feel uncomfortable owning a gun. She takes it from him and stuffs it in her waistband then changes her mind and hides it in one of the storage units. The shirt she is wearing is form fitting. Then with nothing else to do, she takes the elbow Aro stretches towards her and walks out with him. Everyone stares as they enter the living room. They both smile at anyone that looks at them as they both make their way towards the corner of the room. Both of them are paranoid as hell and need to be able to keep an eye on everyone and everything. Him, due to the job he holds, and her because the last time more than one person came in she had to resort to using a gun.
She watches as people mingle around in the living room. Some stare at paintings and others touch objects and she feels her knuckles crack as she fights the urge to go after everyone with a disinfectant and yell at anyone that touches something for too long. She hates what she isn't in control of. If it were up to her she would not have bothered inviting anyone to the wake but Aro insisted and claimed that it would be suspicious to not do so. The last thing she wants is to waste another second in this town. Personally, she thinks it's Aro reminding her of who is in control.
As she surveys the people in the room, she notices through the reflection of a mirror, a certain someone looking around sneakily before taking a step toward the stairs. She keeps her eyes set on the mirror as she watches her climb the stairs.
She nudges Aro and looks towards the mirror as she says, "some people really think they are ninjas."
He stares at Lauren as she climbs the stairs and mutters in a low voice, "What are you going to do about it?" Bella would have thought he was asking about the weather if not for the little sound he makes akin to a giggle.
She turns towards him smirking and tilts her head as she says, "A little bit of this, a little bit of that."
She winks at him at the end and walks away until Aro pulls her back and whispers, "Be careful, she is Jacob's fiancée."
Her expression hardens as she mutters, "I always am." She then removes his arm and walks towards the stairs.
That little shit, proposing to me when he is already engaged!
Out of all of the things he has done, this is the one you choose to call him a little shit over?
It's one thing to be shitty, but this level of shittyness is just a low blow and pitiful. I can excuse trying to steal my inheritance but I draw the line at leading me on.
What? Pulling legal maneuvers over me, that I know how to handle and strike back against. Throwing low shots? How do you react to that?
You don't. It's not worth your time to do so.
You are boring.
And we are about to deal with someone trying to break into our bedroom.
"What do you think you're doing?" Lauren jumps in fear and turns around to find Bella standing at the top of the stairs with her hands in her pockets as she stares Lauren down. For the first time in her life, Bella is thankful for the impeccably made stairs. She used to hate that Charlie's step would never make any sound and that she had no way of knowing when he was near but now she thanked God for these stairs.
"I'm looking for the bathroom," Lauren mutters, stuttering halfway through the sentence and tucking her hair behind her ears nervously. Bella raises an eyebrow in silence as she stares Lauren down. Lauren shrinks back in fear as she stares anywhere but at Bella. Bella doesn't bother to point out that Lauren knows her way around the house since they were friends in high school for a while. Bella doesn't bother to point out the locked door or the bobby pin in Lauren's hand either.
"I will just look for one downstairs," Lauren says and then walks slowly toward Bella who is standing beside the stairs.
A leg shoots in front of Lauren as Bella raises her foot to the opposite wall to block the stairs.
"Lauren," Bella states as she leans her back against the opposite wall and looks her in the eye, "Don't forget your way around again. You won't like the consequences." She winks at her in the end and allows her to pass.
She waits behind until Lauren goes down the stairs before she follows her. She pauses at the top of the stairs and watches everyone mingle on the first floor from afar. She has never felt more alone in her life than she does at this moment. It's easy to tell that everyone here knows everyone. There is a privilege that comes from being a part of a community that she was never afforded. They tried to embrace her but she was too much of a city girl for them. She tried to melt her tough edges but she was a square trying to fit in a round hole and not before long her dad stepped in and it was too late for that.
She occasionally wonders what it must be like to be a part of something greater than one's self. She would have never survived. It would have never made her happy. She is meant to shine, not blend into the background like she has done for the last five years. It doesn't stop her from imagining. It doesn't stop her from daydreaming. What would it be like to be happy with less? To want ordinariness? In another life, she hopes she is someone happy in being someone else because being herself is exhausting. She hopes her soul doesn't have to carry this burden in all of her other lives. It would be unfair. No one should be her.
Aro catches her eye and she decides that she has had enough daydreaming for the day. She takes a deep breath and then walks down the stairs with her back straight and her game face on
I hope you enjoyed reading it. Flip to the second chapter. It's already up, but not before leaving me a review with your thoughts in it.