It was exactly 6 years and two weeks ago today that I, a heavily pregnant Bella Swan, walked out on my boyfriend, Edward Cullen.
Our relationship had been easy at first, a harmless summer fling. It belonged safe in the warm sunny days and the humid nights of summer. But it was always supposed to have been put on the back bench when college started up again in the fall. That wasn't what he wanted. Our relationship consumed me, it consumed my life. Before Edward I had had the whole world ahead of me, a journalism major with a weekly spot in the campus newspaper, I was on track to secure a great internship the following summer. Instead, a little over a year after I had met him, I was struggling to heave my suitcase down the sidewalk, alone.
I should have left him sooner, it should never have gotten to that point, I never should have let it. The Edward I had met was not the Edward I ended up dating. I should have noticed the change in him, I should have left then. Instead I stayed. Edward made all our decisions, and I, up until that evening, had been terrified to say otherwise.
But I could never entirely regret falling in love with Edward Cullen. He had given my life a purpose, my something to fight for. He was the father of my son Antony, and today was his sixth birthday.
Ever since that night, six years ago-when my waters had broken as I was checking into a budget motel in the Bronx- this tiny, miniature me has been the center of my universe. I was delighted with the fact he bared little resemblance to his father.
I sat across our tiny kitchen table from him now, watching as he tried to shove pancake after pancake into his mouth. His desperate attempt to wolf down his breakfast at lightening speed was not fairing so well. But Antony knew the rules; no opening presents until after breakfast.
"Mommy, I'm finished now." He tried to say, but the sheer amount of pancake mush in his mouth caused it to be nothing more than an incoherent mumble.
"Anty, baby. What has mommy told you, don't talk with food in your mouth, its not a pretty sight." I told him as I wiped his face with a paper napkin before taking his plate and placing it in the washing up bowl.
"Presents!" He exclaimed, running into our even smaller sitting room where his few birthday presents lay in a stack on the floor.
Birthdays and Christmas are always an anxious time for me, most of the presents he had asked for were pretty expensive, I had been living on 1 meal a day for almost two months in order to afford them. Even with this, I had only managed to scrape together enough money for 3 of the presents,Antony had asked for. I hated being the typical, college dropout single mom. Living off the crappy wage that came with working as a full time shelf stacker at Albertsons. There were only so many job available these days to people who dropped out of college. Crappy hours and minimum wage were my only options so I suffered through them. What other choice do I have?
The wonderful sounds of paper being torn brought me away from my guilty thoughts, and back into the moment.
"Mommy, you got me the Ben Action figure!" He said as he cradled the small plastic case, before setting it on his lap and reaching for the next present.
"A Ben 10 Kevin Cruiser! Thanks mom." He said with the hugest smile on his adorable face.
Before I had time to blink the next present was open.
"A ultimate omnitrix! This is soo cool, Tyler's gonna be really jealous mom! That means that I know what this one is." Antony said as he pulled his last, and biggest present towards him. I bit my lip, hard. I knew what he thought it was, and it wasn't that at all. It was time like this that I felt a failure as a mother.
A disappointed sigh followed the sound of paper tearing. It wasn't the fancy, colorful box of the branded toy he had been hoping for. It was instead, a plain storage box with a fragile sticker on it.
"Aren't you gonna open it sweetie?" I said, I lump forming in the back of my throat. Why was I such a terrible mother, I couldn't even afford to give my son a proper birthday.
"What is it momma?" Antony asked me as he tipped the many white pieces of wood onto the carpet.
"Well, this is something very special, it was mommy's when she was a little girl. And she finally got Charlie to send it too her. I'm sorry its not what you wanted. Mommy couldn't afford to buy you anymore toys sweetie. But I promise, if you ask really nicely, Santa will bring it for you."
I could feel tears welling up in my eyes as I gazed lovingly at the only thing keeping me alive.
"Its okay mommy." He said with puppy dog eyes and his adorable smile as he wrapped his tiny arms around my neck. "Next year you can have my pocket money to help buy presents as well."
That was it, the tears I had been holding back came colliding down my face as I sunk slowly to the floor. As I knelt there shaking with rage and shame, I felt my son press a soft kiss onto my forehead. It only made me cry more.
"Please don't cry mommy, its gonna be alright. Maybe Santa could help you." He whispered as he stroked my hair.
I'm struck by a memory of myself, stroking my own mother's hair as she cried about burning my birthday cake. I needed to be stronger, for Antony. He had nobody else. No one. I was all this child had got as far as a parent/guardian went. I couldn't let him see me like this, I shouldn't. Stop crying Bella I told myself Stop it right now.
I obliged, but it took me a while.
Once I had recovered, I pulled Antony onto my lap.
"Well baby. This chair isn't gonna build itself. You wanna help?" I smiled at him, trying to wipe away all traces of tears from my face.
"Yeah!" He exclaimed running over to the box. "But you gotta do the heavy stuff."
I just stared at him for a second, glad he was still innocent enough not to know how else that sentence could be interpreted.
Two hours, a box of screws and 4 ice-pops later, the chair was finally assembled. Antony scrambled onto it.
"What do we do with it now mommy?" He asked me as he sat on his knees, the chair rocking forwards and backwards at an alarming speed.
"Well, now we put it in your room, and go get some lunch. Okay? " I said with a small smile on my face.
"Yay. Can we go to McDonald's, please?" Antony looked up at me, his eyes glistening with excitement.
We were broke, there was no denying that, but it was his birthday, and I could just spare $3 for a happy meal, I would eat when we got home.
"Sure kiddo." I smiled as a ruffled his chocolate brown hair. "Do you want to buy a new DVD to watch when we get home as well?"
His huge grin seemed to swallow his tiny face. "Yes, please mommy! I'll go get my shoes on." He ran to his room, making race car noises like only a small boy could.
I went to my room, slipped on a truly beaten pair of converse and grabbed my bag. Both of them had seen better days, the converse especially had holes worn into the toes. But I didn't care, I'd rather spend money on my son than myself, what was wrong with that?
Our trip to the McDonalds was brief, Antony's excitement over his birthday treat meant that, much like breakfast, he inhaled his burger and fries. The store however seemed to take a lifetime. He spent almost half an hour trying to decide between the latest Disney film and a series of the Ben 10 cartoon. In the end though he settled on the movie, after the plethora of Ben 10 I had brought him for his birthday present I was relieved we wouldn't be watching the show as well.
After walking there and back, Antony was still bursting with excitement when we arrived home. We curled up on the sofa and watched the movie, and then another. Before I knew it, it was 8pm, and Antony was insisting that he wasn't tired. But I knew better than to believe that. After his bath, we sat curled up on the sofa, drinking coca and watching Finding Nemo, until Antony's eyelids could stay open no longer. And he finally drifted off to sleep.
I managed to carry him to his bed without waking him. Today had been a treat for him, and for me also; but I could not deny it, if it weren't for me, it could have been so much better.
Once my baby was safely in his bed, I grabbed the pile of long overdue bills that I kept in the kitchen, and sat on the sofa, with calculator and some paper, trying to work out how much longer I would be able to support myself given my current situation.
After about an hour of checking and rechecking my outgoings against my meagre income I was aware of just how deep in debt I actually was. The way I could see it, I only had two options. I could go to each of my parents, and ask them for financial help. Though there was little chance of either of them helping me, I had been practically disowned when I told them I was pregnant, and that was obviously before I had walked out on the child's father.
The other option was one I really did not want to resort to. It would involve finding Edward, and after six years, I still wasn't ready for that conversation. I don't think I ever would be, no matter how much I prepared for it.
Hi there, if you're a new reader, welcome!
I'm still in the process of writing this story, but I couldn't in good consciousness continue before I attempted to sort out the mess of a first chapter that fourteen year old me wrote.
So here is a rewrite thanks to twenty-one year old liv, and I hope it wasn't too painful to read. I will be re-doing the next few chapters soon but for now, please suffer though them. I can guarantee that chapters 6 onwards are well-written.
Chapter 9 should be up soon, however I have been momentarily set back by the release of Life and Death. I love it!
Thanks for reading,