Chapter Thirty Nine -
The End of The World -
The door to my room bore down on me, already ajar. It made the space mysteriously inviting, whispering sweet nothings in my lethally curious ear. A wafting reek from poisoned lies of security floated around me like clouds of perfume. The entire building crafted with manipulating hands of an evil witch from Grimm's classic tales. It wasn't inviting, I decided, it was luring.
I tried to keep the buzzing hum that had become a permanent fixture in between my ears to a minimum, attempting to keep my head on straight as I entered an enchant forest. I couldn't accept facts that were directly in front of me, they might not be there in truth. I mustn't trust anyone here. Preparedness in any way was impossible, I hadn't a clue of what to expect. All I could hold solidly to my heart was the fact nothing was as it seemed.
I slid easily between the gap of the doorway, a sharp intake of air into my lungs echoed deafeningly around the spacious suite. Any doubts mudding my cautions vanished in that first second, I had most certainly entered a fairy tale. The walls stood proud and tall, bright coral mirroring the sea's gift even in the darkness of sundown. A king sized bed took precedence over a large area of the gleaming chocolate hardwood floors. Several beautifully crafted pieces of furniture worthy of a palace, and three sets of exquisitely detailed doors leading off to unknown destinations gave the room a warm feeling despite its obvious inapproachability. None of it, however, compared to the jewel encompassing my complete concentration. Two ceiling length glass doors dripping in rich material drapes stood open. The icy blue fabric undulated in the Pacific breeze, mixing seamlessly with the pure ocean water in the distance.
I was powerless, thoughtless as it drew me closer, a hand offering a shiny red fatal apple. My eyes closed in euphoria, breathing deep as I allowed the thick briny air to swirl in my lungs, filling me with delusions of better times. My nostrils dilated with the scent of home, of my un-haunted youth. I was transported to a place of freedom and of peace, not yet a prisoner to my own mind. Laughter filled my ears. Memories playing out like foggy home-style movies in my head sang with emotion long forgotten.
I was happy once, wasn't I? Content even? All I had now was a picture of a picture. Recalling the simple idea of joy caused my throat to squeezed close around razor sharp realization. I lifted shaking hands to my temples trying to close my mind. Using all of my power to shut the volt encompassing thoughts of years past. I fear I'd run too far without looking back. I was lost, never to return.
Like a sharp smack to my face, the full, warm feeling in my core vanished. My eyes moist from the pain a hundred times as strong, because I could never go back. This was me. My mind forever tinted. That fact was crippling. This place was hell disguised as the Garden of Eden, and I stood no chance against its magic. I hadn't the will to try, I greedily gnawed at the flesh of my sweet forbidden fruit.
My feet moved forward, controlled by powers more influential then my own resolve. The wind caught my hair, heavy with grease, twisting it and pulling with ease. I kept my eyes shut tight, horrified by how a familiar view might punish me next. The skin of my arms and leg puckered with a new chill as I stepped outside. A solid mass met my hipbones; I lifted my hands and wrapped fluid fingers around the balcony's iron railing. My eyes slid open, tricked by the fright of surprise, enchanted with all the influence a sight from your childhood could maintain.
I was lighter.
Here in this dimension I thought nothing of the future. Nothing of the past. I was free.
My dreamy trance was momentarily interrupted by the crisp clicking of high heeled shoes echoing from below. A tension tugged in my stomach like I'd been caught by a ten gauge fishing hook, causing me to hunch in discomfort. Their voices floated up to me like balloons to the heavens. Starting colorful and desired, but in finality reaching a state of annoying noise transformed, into hazardous litter.
"Once again, I wanted to thank you for your generosity with our girl, Dr. Dore." Carlisle's smooth voice burned like molten lava, tearing me away from the comfort I bathed in second's before.
"Of course, Dr. Cullen. What are old friends for, if not favors?" Her voice changed suddenly, from slack easy banter to one of urgency. "You will be visiting us again soon?" My lips curled with no trace of humor. Another fly caught in the disguised honey of this family.
The poor woman seemed to regain some sense about her; I could almost see her straighten her posture, though their bodies were concealed under the stone of my feet. "Visit Bella, I mean. Check up on her… You know, follow up on her case." I bowed my head in respect for her recently buried pride.
"Yes, indeed. I will be returning every couple of weeks. This girl is very close to our hearts. She is our family."
"Take good care of her, Doctor." Esme gushed. There was no way to see them, but here they were drifting in front of my eyes. I saw Esme weeping dryly, then Carlisle wrapping his strong caring arm around her, pulling her onward. I knew these people so well. They were my family.
As if by magic Carlisle's golden head appeared a level down, retreating from under the balcony's conceal. His arm draped over Esme's quivering form. I felt the aftershock of her fingers running through my hair.
Next came Rosalie's shining platinum curls. She looked so much like she belonged here in LA. Almost too beautiful and blond, personality harsh with the complete knowing of her breathtaking looks. Deep down she cared, the people she loved knew it. The evidence was plain in her eyes: it was just a question of her letting you close enough to look. She even had the token boyfriend, muscular and huge. Always one-step behind, chasing after her, even when he knew he already had her. Always smiling like he just heard the funniest joke. His laugh contagious, it was impossible not to relax next to Emmett, he meant you were safe.
Carlisle led his family, just as he always had and always will. The same rented van sat idle in the cobble stone drive, waiting for these amazing creatures. Without warning or trigger, my heart lurched.
As if emotions were controlled by puppeteers dangling strings down into my soul I immediately didn't want to let them go. I became consumed by silent panic.
My heart raced in anxious desperation. How could I've been so thick?! So immature? So obvious? It was an overpowering rush of terror; They were really leaving!
Here, across the country! Alone!
I wanted to jump from this cage, run into their protective arms, be shushed and hummed to sleep. I wanted to be a little child. I wanted my stolen innocence back, I needed to be taken care of, looked after, and overfilled with love until I was screaming for more.
Where were they going? How could they leave?! How could I have let this happen?
My panting was loud, I didn't care when all four heads turned in unison in my direction. Of course they heard me. It seemed ridiculous to forget their powers the way I often did; a result of overexposure.
My fingers ached with pain as I squeezed relentlessly on the metal balcony, channeling all my fear and internal please into it. I wanted to cry out to them. Beg them to come back, release me from this place, to take me with them.
The damsel stuck in her tower. I was being gagged with the scratchy wool fabric of an always present possessing demon. It sewed my lips together, bound my arms together. I was no match.
I watched helplessly as the Cullen's turned away and began to pour into the car one by one.
I bit my lip restlessly. My time was slipping away like water through my desperate fingers. The sight horrifying.
Another set of footsteps sounded from underneath me. My face peered down to get a better view between the lush palms rattling like a snake's warning in the breeze. As if I obtained a vampire's abilities, he became clear as day. The waves of an upset bronze sea suddenly hushed the power of the Pacific Ocean. Edward's strawberry and cream complexion looked so out of place in this tropic. His arms hung wide away from his side as he walked so slowly down the drive. I recognized this position from the months I spent curled close to his cold body. It was an animalistic stance, one of warning. A lion's roar.
He needed space. If somebody got too close, he would attack.
I wondered if his family could read this posture that seemed so obvious to me.
Seeing him I became a lava lamp, my liquid heart divided into two separate substances. Both chemically altered to repel the other. They floated and bubbled filling me with tense indecision that emulated in vast nothingness. One half squirming in pain at the sight of this beauty being tortured. Tortured by my own poisoned tongue.
The other half smiled in the darkness. Satisfied with what she saw crawling towards the luxury van, now full of passengers.
An extraordinarily powerful gust of wind pushed my frail body forward into the banister with force. My hair ripped out in front of my face masking my eyes in sheets of dingy brown. I pushed back against the metal on my hands, attempting to stand straight. I let go and pulled my hair from my eyes, tugging it behind my ears. The wind calmed and I could finally see.
Like countless times before, he was the first thing that came into focus. Edward's body stiffened in the after effects of the gust. He shut his eyes breathing in deeply, what he inhaled causing his shoulders to relax.
He turned his face towards the sky, towards me. His eyes opened meeting mine. We were locked there. Two puzzle pieces that weren't meant for each other, forced to fit together until our cardboard edges crumpled and stretched. Now, and forever locked to one another.
Someone had to make the first move, break away from its lifeline. No matter how many times it had been said, we would always need someone to say one more goodbye, refusing to believe it was the end.
My heart, swept away in the warm breeze, felt for him. I knew his pain; it was my own, plain as the blood running through my veins. We were each other's everything, leaning back to back, holding each other up from the damnation we should be falling to.
My face hardened; not from the overwhelming sore of my heart having broken over and over again, but because for the first time I questioned myself. For the first time I didn't know what I wanted. I was so sure of everything, who I wanted to be, what lengths I'd take to get there, but here I stood. Still as a gargoyle locked into Edward's gaze. It wasn't fair. The cliché phrase brought immature connotations to mind, but they were the words crying out inside of me. This isn't fair. If I am cursed with rock hard goals that kill off all the softness making up whom I am, then in all right I shouldn't be tortured with indecision and regret. What do I really want from all this?
Silence pressed against my ears.
The choice wasn't my own. I wasn't brave enough to throw a wrench into our machinery, yet somehow the seal broke. With one last look, a second's grace, breathing in the magic of a Cullen I once had, I turned.
I walked forward; I closed my eyes as I listened to Edward's fall from the pedestal we had built together.
I was falling too.
Hard and fast out of love. My body, unable to stop from freezing over, even here in the sweltering heat.
I was unrecognizable.
I hated every inch of myself.
I had succeeded.
I was everything I'd dreamed of.
Too much more.
The balcony doors closed with a soft click, and the walls I had built without struggle shut forever more.
My hands moved quickly, pulling at the baggy fabric covering my body, itching for a fix. Needing the single reprieve I could hold onto, I choked for air. With every step closer to the full length mirror another piece of clothes dropped to the floor until I stood still, taking in my reflection. Fingers running over jagged edges, relieving my soul. I gulped in air waiting for tears, but none came.
I was empty.
My face scared me. A rapid game of tug-o-war of emotion fought over it. I turned away from myself and covered my shivering upper body with wire arms accomplishing little. I noticed my luggage for the first time laid neatly over a lush bench at the foot of the bed.
Halfway to the bags a loud knock sounded from the main door. I coughed from the large amount of air I sucked in with surprise.
"Bella, dear? Are you finding everything okay? Do you have any questions?"
I ran to the door minding my steps, making sure their urgency wasn't detected, and leaned against it so the room was sealed, a natural reaction of late. I was still mostly nude; no one could handle the sight of my truth but myself. A fact that had absolutely no effect on me. Everyone took it for granted and I was sick of it, furious by their complete ignorance.
"I'm fine." The words came out lifeless, not that the doctor noticed.
She bounced back quickly with a chipper, "That's great! Settle in and visit me in my office before you hit the sack. There are some rules and information I have to give you, Sweetie. I'll see you in a little bit."
My eyes rolled back for my own satisfaction in response to this woman's overpowering fakeness. "Awesome.", The words grumbled from between my chapped lips. I listened to her sandals flap against the tile floor until the hallway was silent once more.
My exhausted body protested as I shuffled to my bags. I could have walked two more paces and landed on the inviting bed, but I could smell myself. My back ached while bending over in search of a clean t-shirt and sleep pants. My snow-white hands pushed past several men's sweaters without notice.
It took me three tries to find the correct door, fumbling klutzily with armfuls of clothing. I calmed my ever-ready rage by assuring myself I now knew where two walk in closets were, just in case I had four wardrobes packed away in my luggage. The bathroom was not surprisingly enormous. White tiled floors confettied with soulful mosaics. Large dark blue tile, clear and reminiscent of the sea audibly crashing into sand outside my windows lined the shower walls in orderly sequences.
The powerful shower jets stroked and knesded the tension from my muscles, but did nothing for the peril in my mind. I distracted myself, moving slowly as I washed musky grease from the lengths of my hair, as I shaved for the first time in a long while, as I rinsed my soul free of the drama plaguing me the last couple of weeks.
I stepped out of the three-person shower feeling more refreshed then I thought possible, but before I could enjoy the sensation a loud squeak filled the room as my wet foot slid out from under me. I hit the floor lightly, and the fall's surprise was nothing compared to the shock of my echoing laughter. I cut the joyful amuse off and listened to it bounce back off the walls. When was the last time I'd laughed at myself? I stood carefully, pulling myself up in a slight daze. My back throbbed were it hit the ground, though the fall was harmless.
I grabbed three large fuzzy towels and wrapped myself up tightly. Warm and properly cushioned I found myself brave enough to skate over the tiled floor, finally reaching the vanity. I grabbed at the glass bowl sink for support before wiping thick fog from a small portion of mirror. I stood still for one endless second, staring at a stranger. I felt heavy weights sewing themselves onto my skin. Stuck here forever more.
I leaned in and blew hot breath on the recently cleared space. I watched as fog concealed my reflection with hallow eyes.
After getting dry, clothed, and presentable; I heaved my impossibly heavy set of luggage into the closest closet. It took me ten minutes to drag each bag the length of the room. Mid lap, I cursed Emmet for abandoning me in a time of actual need.
I plopped onto the bench where my luggage had lain, resting my weakened legs and rubbery arms. I found my eyes wondering about my new quarters with a more acute observation to it's marvelous detail. It really was a room worthy of princess, or a celebrity at least. I felt a tight clench in my chest as the silence beat in my ears. It was too real, I was too alone. How had this happened so fast? Weeks ago I had friends, Charlie, Renee, Jake the Cullens; I had Edward. The memories were unbearable. I had to get out, even if it meant suffering through mindless garble about success rates and proper protocol.
I walked to the main door with a head clouded from inquiries of how one needed to act in a five star rehab. I didn't have the slightest idea.
As I took a step into the hallway, I stopped dead in my tracks. How many times in one's life can their world be thrown into slow motion at a sight so unexpected, so spellbinding? I felt the earth shift beneath me as I traveled in between realities. No longer a number included in the population of the real world, a brand new member of this alternate universe. My ears became heavy, clogging up with white noise. Eyes widening as I attempted to breathe silently, trying desperately not to be noticed. A group of three beautiful beings made their way down the long hallway, the air thick with enchanting power swirled gracefully around their silhouettes swept up in their magic.
A heavy sense of de'ja'-vu sat nauseating in the depths of my bowels. I had been in this place once before. I had been awed into silence by one other group, yet, the difference between these two groups were oil and water.
The absolute carefree way this model-esque group prowled the building gave me an odd sense of optimism. My mind spun into overdrive attempting to figure out their allusive puzzle. Who were they? They couldn't possibly be patients, could they? I ruled against it, how could they be so relaxed? They were all young, around my age maybe a bit older. This made me doubted they worked here.
They moved in unison, a perfectly synced dance of authority. All at once I was reminded of lions, mighty kings of the animal kingdom. The sense of domination, of raw reign over territory between the two was identical. The leader of this pack was a male just below average height. He wasn't comparable to Emmet in bulk or as thin as Edward, instead a common build closer to Jasper. His skin was such a slight pale gold, hardly sun kissed. I wondered if he was actually fair as a vampire if not for the constant sun of LA. His eyes crystal blue contradicting his fashionably askew medium length jet black hair.
Wrenching my eyes away from him, and unto the other two. I quickly realized all three had similarly dark hair, both girls hardly more tan than the boy. I thought they might be related, but besides the hair and skin tone they looked nothing alike. Shortest of the group was a small girl. Small in every way. She was short. Short and so very thin.
I was incapable of helping my step forward, my heart clenching painfully. Her dainty hand entwined within the boy's, linking them together for all to see. Partners, despite his fore fronting pace of obvious authority. Her head was turned down slightly, her face cloaked in a sea of devastatingly long black silk.
The last was a girl rounding up the back, an entire foot taller then the male. She was thin as well, but naturally so. I surprised myself, without realizing the origin of my new talent I could now tell the difference quite easily. A keen eye, trained to pick up the most miniscule of clues.
Takes one, to know one. Flashed through my thoughts.
This girl had breasts, small - yes, but they were there. The shorter girl had nothing between her jagged color bones and the deep wave of ribs. This model sized being had harsh shoulder blades and hipbone definition, but she also had toned arms and legs. Her head wasn't too big for her body, her neck bore no plumbing, her hair healthy and bright, her eyes alert, alive. I noticed the model did have a slight bruising under her eyes; yet it did nothing to hinder her beautiful celery green eyes so exotic, I itched to ask something of her, if only to find out what accent her tongue would provide.
Drawing closer to my door their laughter drowned me in a different world. One where I wasn't quite so alone. I swallowed the teasing hope down quickly. I wouldn't allow such a stupid emotion to attach itself to me ever again.
The urgency swelling in my chest was off-putting to say the least. I wasn't aware of my disparity for company. I closed my door with more force then necessary, resulting in a loud slam. I hoped they would stop, maybe introduce themselves to me.
The boy shifted his eyes ever so slightly in my direction before taking another drag from a strictly forbidden cigarette, continuing his forward march as if I were a painting mounted on the wall he passed five times every day. The tall girl in the back didn't flinch, her laughter at a joke I never heard consumed her attention. The most notice I drew was a hand strung with bone pulling a blanket of hair behind an ear. The smallest girl peered at me with grey eyes brimmed in impossibly thick kohl lashes. The effect was a smoldering smoky eye addictively mysterious. They sent chills through me. They were knowing, sad, and lifeless.
She looked at me with an expressionless face for half a minute. When the group passed me, she turned forward and my view was of their backs. I watched them as they turned left down another hallway, then they were gone. Solidarity filled me once more and it felt too familiar.
* * * * * * * * * * *
Two hours later and I'd given up formalities with Dr. Dore. She sat behind her desk dragging on and on about how lucky I was to be placed here, how much the Cullen's must love me. She blah-blah-blahed endlessly about regulations and what was expected of me. All I heard was restricted exercise and mandatory meals. Surprisingly I wasn't heartbroken with those casually placed words of threat. The three people upstairs gave off a strong odor of raw insolence. If they found a way around rules, it'd be all too easy for my cunning parasite.
Currently, while I was being walked through the average week of treatment, I sat with my bum scooted to the very edge of an uncomfortable chair. My head lulled backwards over the chair's crest while I counted the books around the exit and just behind me to the beat of a loud clock. I counted three hundred and forty seven before I stopped.
My eyes deglazed after I detected words indicating this torture would soon be coming to an end.
"So, that's a quick overview. Any questions, Bella?"
I pulled my head up slowly, "No." I answered dully; my head throbbed painfully as the blood rushed back into it. I didn't care about anything this woman had to say. Dark laughter filled me knowing she truly thought I could be saved.
"Well, if you need anything you can always call the office. The number is on the phone in your room, along with some others including our five star room service". My eyes narrowed as my face twisted in agitation, "just in case." she added quickly. I stood up, face burning with hot rage, my motions, too rash, caused the chair to knock over.
I charged through the oak door into the frigid lobby. I breathed in deeply, inhaling a smooth dose of cooling wary. My eyes squinted in the dim surroundings; everything was dark, completely unfamiliar. I stood still, only slightly aware of how odd it would seem if I were caught, basking in the pathetic reason of simply having nowhere to go. My eyes were too tired for tears, but my chest throbbed. My breathing, now heavy and irregular filling the space around me offered my only company.
I allowed my eyes to fall unto what should have been the floor directly in front of me, only there wasn't enough light to make anything out. I concentrated on the dry ache at the base of my throat, the urgent upset in the pit of my stomach. I missed Edward. I'd missed him for days. I longed for the boy who held me close. The boy who wanted me. Wanted me for me. The man with no agenda, no plans to change who I was. No unreasonable desire to hack away the only way I measured myself, to take away the only pride I had. Not the boy I walked away from, that boy doesn't want what I've become.
It hurt so much more, having Edward, knowing things would never go back to when they were touching perfection. The Edward that dumped me on this posh doorstep was nothing but a tease. A shell, the image of what I once had. When I cracked the piñata open there was nothing sweet left inside, just a note covered in words I didn't want to read. Edward had become disposable. Trash sitting on the floor, not taken to the curb purely out of selfish sentimental reasons.
After too many moments alone in the darkness I left for my room. I stammered around the hallow suite turning the lights off, then I locked the main door before crawling in the too-big bed. It was comfortable and the sheets felt like silk against my bare arms and legs, but when I settled and seemed to sink an inch into my down pillow I was blinded by the moon's flair brightly piercing into my window. A white glow that was making sleep impossible. It's power seemed ridiculous at this late hour. Had the moon always been this loud? Or was I simply more accustomed to the dingy skies of Forks?
I groaned loudly punching the pillow in a fit. I rolled over haphazardly knocking a few pillows overboard and squeezed my eyes shut. The reflection of the moon's light danced off the ocean and across my room onto the wall. The blaze seared my closed eyelids with an uncomfortable red-orange annoyance. My fists bunched up as I began to lose what little patience I had managed to grasp unto.
"UGH! Can't anything go right?!" I scooted down deeper into the length of the bed covering my face with blankets. I clamped my hands down on my ears protecting them against the noise of waves. Utter silence filled the blankets with lethal fumes. This room, so beautiful in the day light had turned on me. I'd been cornered here by my fears. A cage, trapped for eternity to ponder what went wrong, knowing I'd find no answer.
I danced on the delicate sheet of tissue paper separating sleep from consciousness. One moment my head screamed with thought, the next second it felt like hours had gone by full of nothingness. Or had that only been seconds? I urged my imagination to flow with beautiful memories and fantasies, begging them to carry me into similarly pleasant dreams. Had they? I couldn't tell.
Hours in, my face grew sticky and hot from my breath trapped under a wall of cloth. I peeled the blankets back squinting in the never dulling light. The fresh air felt amazing on my damp skin. I pulled the clinging hair from my face and peered cautiously out of the far window, careful to avoid any further retina damage.
My breath caught. I settled back silent and slow into the concealment of bedding. A large shadow occupied a portion of my powerful balcony, I squinted my blurring eyes trying to make out the shape. I sat up slowly to get a closer look, but was distracted. My head spun around in surprise as a thunderous set of hurried footsteps passed outside the room's main entrance. Deep laughter swam under the door, filling the room and soothing my cautious worries.
I breathed in a gulp of calm greedily.
Though I never moved from my bed I could imagine the mysterious boy that I saw earlier in the day. It was becoming very obvious he cared little for the rules and regulation speech. According to them no one was to roam after curfew. My mouth turned up, curling into an unexpected smirk. I couldn't explain to myself why this boy's arrogance entertained me so. Why his actions could manipulate my mood as they already had twice, but here in this vast room as I sat alone, they comforted me.
A moment later I sunk back into the swallowing depths of down. The moon's light didn't seem as harsh while I gazed through the balcony's railing to the ocean below, memorizing the ocean's temperamental patterns and wave sets I distracted myself long enough to fall into a solid slumber.
AN - ok, sorry guys. I know it took a million years. But here it is!
and I'm already working on the next chapter.
The song for this chapter is by Carolina Liar. Show Me What I'm Looking For. LINK- .com/watch?v=WkwVTK10cwQ
Also - I will be making Polyvore spreads for the new chapters so check out the links on my profile to view.