"I really miss your cooking, Bells," Charlie said to me as he took the last bite of the last slice of pizza he had ordered. I was glad that he ate 9 slices out of 10 as it already took me half an hour to even chew and push down a slice of the pepperoni pizza he really liked.
I wanted to feel guilty for not cooking for him for at least 5 weeks now because I knew he had already gotten used to and even loved my homecooked meals. Hell, he missed it for 17 years. But more than that reason, I knew that he wanted me to return to cook and act normal again. But it was a crazy assumption.
I would never be the same again. Not the old Bella who came from Phoenix almost a year ago. A big part of me – if not the entire me – had been dead now ever since he had left. I didn't want to even think about his name or any of his family member. It would only make my heart constrict and I would then unknowingly cross my arms and hug myself as if I had stomach pain. I didn't want to feel anything. I once heard that 'indifference is the opposite of love.' So I wanted to do the same. Feel indifferent. Act and think like it had never happened. Like how he had wanted me to think.
"Bells?" Charlie's voice suddenly resonated in my brain. He was asking me a question and I didn't respond immediately. I hadn't been listening to him because my mind was away again.
I pretended to be swallowing a huge chunk of pizza that I had been grinding for eternity to have an excuse for not answering right away. "Yes, Dad?" I finally replied.
"Bella, let's go to Port Angeles tomorrow night," he started again. "It's Friday and I can get off from work early. We haven't had our quality time for so long and I think both of us can do with a new meal besides pizza and Chinese food." He chuckled at his own joke and tried to smile. But I could see in his eyes that he was hopeful. Hopeful that he could cheer me up the best way he could.
I sighed inwardly. He was really trying his best to be a good father. It was sad to note that I grew up not by his side, but he could still love me this much.
I mustered a faint smile and said, "Okay, Dad."
Just two words and I saw his brown eyes lighten up immediately. I felt happy for my decision but regretted it right away. Now this meant that I couldn't just lie down after school and stare at the ceiling...
Friday morning came and my noisy red truck came to a halt at the Forks High School parking lot. I had gotten used to the groaning of the machine when I turned off the engine that it didn't matter to me now how loud or embarrassing it might be when others heard it.
I put on my brown coat and carried my backpack as I opened the door of my truck. I looked up the dark sky and glad that the weather was always appropriate for my mood. I walked as fast as my feet could manage without tripping to the wide doors of the school and saw Jessica and Lauren at a distance. They were already standing outside our classroom for first period and chatting animatedly. Jessica was facing my direction and Lauren's back was turned to me. As I got closer, Jessica saw me and immediately greeted me, "Hi Bella!" Too high-pitched. They were talking about me again.
"Hi," I greeted back and gave a fake smile. It wasn't fake because I was a hypocrite. It was fake because I really didn't feel like smiling but I was still courteous enough to smile.
Lauren only snorted but I just ignored her and quickly entered the classroom. It was History and Mr Walters would always start the class on the dot. I didn't care about missing the start of his lecture. But his voice was so low and monotonous that I would probably catch the class's attention when I walked in and I didn't like that.
I went straight to the back of the room where my seat was. The seat on my right was vacant now since he had left so I had then used it to lay my bag and stuff. But I would only look at that seat at the start and at the end of the class when I needed to get my things again. Even in my peripheral vision, I would block out that seat because I felt that seeing it made me imagine his reddish brown hair right beside me.
I closed my eyes and shook my head violently. Stop! You're not going through that right now. I bit my lip and furrowed my eyebrows as I concentrated on Mr Walters' discussion. With my pen poised on my notebook, I was ever prepared to start taking good notes of the lesson.
After 50 minutes, Mr Walters' bored look suddenly turned into a smile. This only meant one thing. He was going to give us a weekend project.
"For your homework, listen up." He licked his lips as he continued, "I want you to take a specific look on the affects of the American Revolution. I have discussed to you the general overview of the Revolution. Now I want you to analyze a more specific situation."
Several students groaned and slapped their foreheads as he went on about the project. It looked like we needed to do library work.
"Choose a colony and find out its relationship to the Revolution history. And, " His voice suddenly rising as if to rub the wound with salt, "make inferences as to what attitude this colony would have as regards their independence. That's all. Have a good weekend, class," he ended sarcastically.
Angela walked up to me as we exited the room together. "Great. Ben and I were planning something for this weekend now it seems we would have to finish this report first." She grumbled. "On top of that, our book review for English is also due on Monday and I'm still not done!"
"You know you can always manage schoolwork, Angela. You even do better than me." I was proud of myself for saying these words of encouragement to her even though I needed them myself.
"Are you done with yours?" She asked with one raised eyebrow.
"Yeah," I replied, "but only because I have lots of time in my hands now." I continued quickly as Angela's face already started to show panic. "Come on. Let's go to our next class."
The day went by quickly with no big event happening – well at least for me. I drove my truck back to the house and started psyching myself about my date with Charlie.
I was expecting his trooper to be parked in front of the house as he mentioned that he would be earlier than me by an hour. But it wasn't there. I saw the answering machine blinking so I pressed the play button and waited. One message.
"Bells, I don't know how to say this. I was the one who made this plan. So sorry. But I need to supervise an incident just outside Forks. Sorry I couldn't tell you more about it. Maybe later. Don't wait up for me for dinner." Click.
I heaved a sigh of relief. I'd be having a grand time with myself. I left my bag in my room and went to the shower. I didn't bother eating dinner when Charlie wasn't home. I saw no need to pretend to be hungry.
After my shower, I dressed up and went to my computer. I had lots of time to do my History homework. It would keep me busy and the sooner I finished it, the faster I could lie on my bed and hide. I smiled at the thought.
As soon as the internet got connected, and my IM logged on, a friend request window suddenly popped on the screen. Somebody named "Macto" wanted to add me. I blinked my eyes and shrugged. It didn't matter who it was. I accepted his invite and started to do my research. I normally would have liked to do it in a real library, with the smell of books around me. But solitude in the confines of my room was more important or even necessary for me. So I'd rather the techie way of doing research this time around.
After half a minute, Macto's message box popped up.
Bella_Swan: Hi. Umm...Who are you?
You can call me Macto.
I'm sorry Macto. Of course that's not your real name. I want to know who you are. I didn't have the time and the energy to start socializing with someone.
I am just here to be a friend. I want to be a friend.
Frankly, I don't want one.
Well, can I at least help you with your History homework?
I was taken aback. It was probably Mike or Tyler. I shook my head with irritation.
Look. Mike. Tyler. Whoever you are. I don't have the time for this nonsense. If you want to speak to me, you can see me in class.
Here's your homework. Accept the file.
Macto would like to send you a file . Accept? Decline?
Are you a hacker and you want to sabotage my computer? Coz look, my computer is ancient and you won't be doing any real damage to it! So go and pester someone else please.
Sorry if that sounded rude.
No virus there, Bella. Just really want to help you out.
I sighed. Well, whatever. I wasn't planning on arguing with the other guy. I clicked accept and the downloading started. It took 15 minutes to finish and we didn't talk during the process. I uploaded the file and opened it. There before my eyes, I saw Mr Walters' questions and thousands of words of answers to them. My mouth formed a big O. I didn't need to read all throughout the page to know that it was well-written and well-researched.
Where did you get this?? Did you steal it from a source?? Tell me! I'm not using this material!
I'm hurt. Couldn't you trust me to write something like that?
Who are you?
I am Macto. I already told you that. I just happen to be good at History. That's my favourite subject.
My brain was racing. Could it be...? But no, he told me he would never come back. He said he would disappear and never intrude in my life again. He said it would be a clean break. It couldn't be... But my heart still longed for an answer.
No answer. I couldn't make myself type any longer. I just waited. I felt my heart beat again when I read the reply.
No. I'm not Edward.
I felt my heart drop on the floor. My shoulders slumped again and I rubbed my temples with my fingers. I was thinking too much again. I expected again. I already warned myself from making even the tiniest, slightest hope about him being back. Because it was so much harder again to start stabilising myself again.
But I'll be a good friend to you.
I shook my head. I suddenly realized that he couldn't see my response so I typed.
Sure you are. Thanks for your help. I'm free from any obligations this weekend because of you.
Then without waiting for his reply, I signed off.