N/A – Hello! In this story everyone is already after College, so Bella is 23 and Alice 25. Don't worry, the others will show up soon!
"I've realized in time
that my eyes are not blind
I've seen it before
I'm taking back my life"
Joss Stone – You Had Me
Chapter 1 – You Had Me
I woke up with the golden light of the sun on my eyes. Groaning, I sat up, confused, trying to figure out where I was. I looked around, scanning the lovely bedroom. My clothes were on an unstable pile on a chair, the cream dress I used for the engagement party was on the wooden floor, with my shoes. I frowned, then looked at the bedside table and saw the sleeping pills. How long I was out?
Slowly, I got out of bed and opened the white curtains. Instead of Lake Washington Boulevard, that was the front view of my bedroom, back in Seattle, I was now facing a carpet of gold, red and green under the bright blue sky that was Central Park. I sighed. I love New York.
My stomach growled, letting me know that it would not tolerate being ignored anymore, so I went to the bathroom and took a warm, delicious shower. With a bit of luck, I could catch the brunch hour.
When I got out of the bathroom, wearing a pair of faded jeans and a white T-shirt, I saw my cell was buzzing again. It seemed, in two days I missed a total of 55 calls, between my mom's, Alice's, Angela's and my dad's. There was also a couple from Jacob. Great.
I flipped the phone on and saw it was Renée. Again.
"Oh, Bella!" she cried, "You finally picked up this damn phone! Where the hell are you?"
I sighed. There wasn't an easy way to pass through this, so I said it once "I'm in New York, mom"
"YOU'RE WHERE?" she yelled, "Would you mind telling me why you are in New York and why you abandoned you own engagement party? I was practically calling the FBI, young lady!"
I sat on the edge of the bed, still facing the view. I took a deep breath and said "Because I caught Jacob with another woman, mom. During the party." I hadn't intended to tell her this, but I knew Renée and she wouldn't be satisfied until I justified myself. "So, the marriage is off."
She remained silent for a second. For that second, I thought she had a stroke or something, "Mom? Are you still there?"
"That little…." She hissed something under her breath that I couldn't understand "How dare he? I'll kill him myself!"
"Get on the line, mom." I said, smiling a bit, "I'm sorry about disappearing that way. I wasn't thinking."
"Don't worry about that, dear. Are you okay? Do you want me to be with you?" She seemed sincere, but I could feel the sacrifice on her tone. Renée might be a rewarded actress, but I knew her too well.
"No, mom. There's no need. I'm fine. I just need some time."
"Okay, then." She seemed relieved "Oh, it's nice that you're in New York. You could contact Alice. She's back home. To be honest, dear, I'm kind of worried about her. She seemed so thin at the party, don't you think? Maybe it's because of that rock star boyfriend of hers. Oh, men are such pigs!" I heard someone on the other side of the line. Probably Phil, "Oh, not you, darling!" she yelled cheerfully at him "Bella, dear, I have to hang up. Are you sure you'll be okay there?"
"Right. Bye dear, and pick up the phone, next time, okay? Mom wants to know if you're alive."
I giggled and said goodbye. I quickly dialed Alice's cell and she pick up after a couple of seconds. I think she was asleep. Or drunk.
"Bella! I was worried about you!" she said, while seeming upset. My stomach protested again. I quickly went to the main subject.
"Yeah, I know. Listen, would you like to meet me at the café here on the corner? On 5th Av with Park?"
"Sure! Give me half an hour?"
"Definitely. See you there!"
I could probably wait half an hour, but my rebel stomach certainly couldn't. I quickly grabbed the red coat I wore yesterday and put it on. I groaned when I saw the purse I had brought with me, too fancy for a regular brunch. Just God knows how crazy I may have looked when I arrived at the hotel, in the middle of the night and muttered the name of my account to the attendant – Snow White. I bet the night concierge and the rest of the employees thought I was a runaway bride.
Oh, never mind!
I put my wallet and cell phone on the inside pocket of the coat and left. Fortunately, nobody in reception made any comment about yesterday. I asked them to order someone to press my clothes and clean up the room. I left the keys and went out.
It was sunny, but cold. The wind hit my face and I closed the coat, walking fast to the café. It was pretty crowded for brunch and I felt I would scream if I had to wait forty minutes to sit. It seemed I was having a lucky day when a table emptied and I sat. It was too soon for Alice to be arriving, so I contented myself by reading the menu. Shortly after, I heard a movement on the other side of the small table and I smiled at the small pixie sit in front of me.
"Hey you." I said, smiling, as she grabbed the extra menu and opened it.
"Hello, stranger. You scared everyone, you know." She grinned at the waiter, and me whom I had tried to attract since I got here, suddenly materialized beside Alice, palm top and smile ready. "Two complete. Fast, please?" she flashed her best smile and the poor waiter, dazzled muttered a "Right away, miss," and walked, almost changing legs to the kitchen.
"You shouldn't do that kind of thing. The poor guy might be hyperventilating on the kitchen." I giggled.
"If it makes the food arrive faster, I can wink at him, too." She said, giving me a wicked smile. Her lovely blue eyes shinning on her elf like face. But I still could see the marks of a bad nights sleep and, mom was right, Alice was too thin.
"Alice, are you okay?" I asked, putting the menu down and leaning against the round table. "You look awful!"
"Oh, thanks!" she smirked, "You look like hell, yourself, you know. What happened to you, Bella? We were almost calling the police. Everyone could tell that useless fiancé of yours and you were arguing, then you left. And you didn't even pick up your phone!"
"I know. I'm sorry." I muttered, and a wave of guilt rushed over me. I should have called, but I was too scared and too angry to talk to anyone.
I told her the same thing I told my mom. But this time, I also added that yesterday I passed the whole day sleeping. I leaned against the chair "I think I was too tired. It was work, then making the arrangements for the dinner. Then, that."
"I can't believe he did that to you. What did he say?"
"That it was the moment. He just had to."
"Bastard." She muttered, angrily." Do you believe that?"
I shrugged "He can say whatever he wants, Alice. The marriage is off. At least, he didn't wait until we were married to cheat on me."
"Yeah. At least you can see something positive. So, what are you planning? Are you going back to Seattle on Monday?"
"No." she raised her eyebrows. "I don't know what I'm going to do, Alice. I just had this feeling of doing everything wrong."
"Yeah, this whole Jacob story. Okay, we were raised together. Our parents are friends and share a firm. For me, Jacob was mostly like a friend, but it seemed right to me, allowing him to kiss me, to hold my hand. I knew him and I thought that 'why not?' I was never as beautiful as you and never attracted the men I wanted."
"Like Edward?" she whispered. I shivered when she said his name, "Oh, Bella. My brother was an idiot!"
"Yeah, but he was everything I wanted and he didn't want me back. When Jacob said we should be boyfriend and girlfriend, I thought I had found a chance to be happy." The waiter finally came back with the food and I quickly drank the fresh orange juice. My stomach sang, happily.
"Bella, I had no idea. I thought you loved Jacob."
"In some ways, I did. I could see my life with him. We worked together, we moved to the same apartment. Our parents started talking about children. I adopted his friends." I smiled at her apologetically, "I'm sorry about that."
"Forget it." She said, "That is past."
"So, now that the center of my universe is gone, I'm kind of lost." I grimaced, than a sudden thought crossed my mind, "Or maybe not."
"What do you mean?" she asked, after swallowing a piece of omelet.
"I don't want to come back." I said and I could feel the decision being formed. "I don't want to be there. I don't want the apartment. I don't want the cars." She widened her big eyes at me. I changed the subject "My grandmother left me money and a townhouse." I said slowly, while I refined my plan.
"Bella." She started, looking scared.
"Maybe it isn't rented, and Phil said this would be my decision." I said, ignoring her sighs of panic. "I could ask to be transferred to the NY Crime Lab"
"Are you serious?" she ask, impressed.
"Yeah. I guess I am." I smiled at her, "I passed my whole life doing what everyone expected. So, I'll do something for myself, at once. And I want to live here, in New York."
Alice seemed, at the same time, surprised and pleased. She picked up her own orange juice and raised it to me. I did the same.
"Well, then. To a new beginning?" she asked.
"To a new life, I guess."
We hit the glasses and a crystal noise echoed delicately.
N/A – So, how is going so far? Did you like it? Please review!