I was in the park again, by myself this time.
I had some time to kill until the sun went down and I had to be home for dinner.
I laughed inwardly, thinking of how this was so much like high school. I was sitting on a bench swinging my legs back and forth.
I was anxious to go explore the various trails. But, I shouldn't just go off without telling anyone. I didn't want to get lost… or eaten by a bear.
It'd be nice to bring a book here, though. All of the flowers were colorful and the grass was so green. This place is just… pleasant.
The birds were chirping and the bees were buzzing.
I liked it here.
I really, really did.
A wind chilled me and I decided it was time to get back. Maybe I could try and start dinner for Alice and Jasper.
As I was strolling the park I bent down to examine a flower.
My mother used to have a garden full of flowers. It died the month before she left.
That annoyed me to no end. There were so many signs of her leaving, I just never picked up on it until I started leaving places.
I sneered at the stupid, pointless flower. I was trying to not get worked up over it. I was so angry, though. And anger brings on tears.
I so, very badly, didn't want to cry. It was pointless.
I brushed off the invisible dust on my jeans and I walked away.
Not before long, though, I bumped into a garbage can.
My clumsiness should really turn into grace.
"Gees," I mumbled placing the trashcan back into its place. I didn't want to leave someone else to clean up my mess so I bent down and began cleaning it up.
I was picking up a broken Snapple bottle when I sliced my palm open. I cried out in pain and frustration.
I stared down at my hand and I could see the blood gushing out and the deep gash. Damn it.
"Bella?" I heard a voice behind me. It was a suave voice. Very smooth. Very ass-hole. Edward.
There were tears that were down my face. I didn't want to talk to anyone when I was like this.
"Are you alright?" He asked.
Why would he care?
"You're trembling," he said quickly.
"Stop pretending," I tried to stop the shaking in my voice, "to care. Just stop."
I still hadn't faced him and I was clutching my left, bleeding hand.
"I'm not going to leave anyone crying in the middle of a park. Regardless, if I care or not."
"Just don't talk. You make it worse." I mumbled.
"I… I don't have a lot of time. I'll call Alice?"
He was standing so close behind me, I could feel his breaths on my neck. He couldn't see my tear-stricken face, though.
I was staring straight ahead, trembling.
"Turn around," he said firmly. When I didn't he said, "Or I'll call Alice."
I turned around. His eyes went from calm to ferocious in a matter of seconds.
"You're not OK," he stated.
"No, I'm not."
He took in my face with his eyes and I knew he felt pity towards me. Whatever. He saw my bleeding hand.
"We've got to fix that," he said.
"I just need a bandage."
Tentatively, Edward reached for my hand, when our fingers were within millimeters I jerked away. "Sorry," he muttered.
I stared at him with hard eyes. "You don't touch my hand when I want to shake your hand? And now with blood on it you will. Are you mental, Edward? What's your problem?"
His lips turned into a slight smile, but he didn't say anything toward my accusations.
"I can bandage you up at my house," Edward said. "I drove here. We'll get there in two minutes."
"No, thanks." I didn't want to get in the car with him.
"I think you need stitches," Edward said.
"I do not." I knew when I needed stitches, jerk.
"Either way, I'd prefer to clean your cut."
"Bella, I really have to get home. I'm not leaving you here."
"You're an ass hole."
"Thanks," he said sarcastically. "I used to be an EMT. I don't want you to get an infection, alright? Come on."
"You'll have to touch me."
He rolled his eyes, "I'll survive."
"You sure?" I asked. He began to walk slowly and waited for me to follow, I did. "Because I may have some disease that your perfect skin can't handle, am I right?"
"I'm sorry," he said opening the passenger door for me.
"No, you're not." I said crossing my arms across my chest as he sped off.
"You're going to get blood on your shirt," he said after a minute.
I huffed. "I don't care."
We were at Edward's home within sixty seconds; he drove like the maniac he was. He didn't say anything as he opened the passenger door for me.
I was going to say something to tell him to stop being phony, I can open my own door. But he'd probably answer that he didn't want blood on his car.
His home was very similar to Alice and Jasper's and Rosalie and Emmett's. Edward pulled a key out for his house and opened the door for me. I stalked inside.
He shoved a toy car out of the hallway as he led me to the kitchen.
It was bright, open – so unlike him.
Obviously, his mother designed it.
"Hop up," Edward said gesturing to his kitchen counter.
"Excuse me?" I asked. I wasn't about to plop my rear-end on some high end counter. He'd probably have to replace it.
"It'll be easier."
I rolled my eyes as I hopped up on the counter, as instructed.
"You… were an EMT?" I asked while he looked under the kitchen sink for a first aid kit.
"Yeah," Edward mumbled. "I wanted to be a doctor for awhile, but it didn't work out."
I didn't press him any further. It wasn't my place.
Edward straightened up and took out a wash cloth and dampened it with the kitchen sink. "This might sting," he murmured as he applied light pressure to my gash.
I squeezed my eyes shut as Edward cleaned my hand and applied various sanitizers.
"I know why you didn't become a doctor," I said playfully, tying to get rid of the queasy feelings I had around him.
"Go on," Edward replied.
"You can't handle touching people?" I guessed. I might as well make this horrible experience funny. "I mean, look at you. You're wearing gloves. Which, I don't mind because I am bleeding. But, you wouldn't touch my hand when I wasn't bleeding."
"Good try, but no."
Edward continued to work gently on my hand. I would've just used some peroxide and a bandage, but Edward was diligently working, mumbling about not knowing where that broken bottle came from.
Edward's front door opened and shut with a loud bang and Edward squeezed his eyes shut.
"Dad!" A tiny voice yelled searching. "Dad!"
Dad?, I mouthed.
"Hey, kiddo." Edward said to a tiny boy of about five. His hair was a dark shade of brown and his skin was tan.
"I can't sit on the counter," the child pouted.
I slid off the counter careful not to place pressure on my hand.
"She was hurt, I was just helping," Edward said squatting down next to his… son?
"You're pretty," the tiny boy said to me. "I'm Seth, who are you?"
"She's Bella." Edward told the boy.
"Cool!" Seth said. "Can you make neat-shaped sandwiches like Aunt Alice?"
I laughed and Edward shook his head, "Seth…"
"Of course, I can. But, your father doesn't want me here right now…. So I'll make you a sandwich like that another time, OK?"
"OK!" Seth said. "Can I go outside, Daddy?"
"After you finish your homework," Edward said standing up and mussing up Seth's hair.
"Fine," Seth muttered dejectedly. "I'll be back!"
He ran back to the front of the house for his back pack.
"Wow," I said when Seth was out of earshot.
This was crazy. Why didn't anyone tell me?
"Who's his mother?" I asked. "Does she live here?"
"No," Edward answered softly. "Seth's my son, just not biologically."
Edward was being so nice around Seth and not like the jack ass I knew him to be.
"Can I sit on the counter?" Seth asked dragging his backpack on the floor so he could sit at the kitchen table and do homework there.
"Not now," Edward said to his son.
"Edward?" I asked. "Could you give me directions to get back to Alice's?"
"It's two blocks away," Edward said smiling. "You didn't know?"
"Obviously. And, thanks for bandaging me up," I replied. "See you later, Seth!"
"Bye, Bella!" Seth yelled scraping his chair across the tiled floor and ran up giving me a hug.
After he released me, he replied, "You don't like my daddy do ya?"
I laughed, not answering the question.
"Seth…" Edward warned.
"Grandma C told me to talk to pretty girls so one day I can be married, unlike you," Seth said innocently. But he had a mischievous smile on his face proving he knew what he said wasn't right.
"Did she really?" Edward asked.
"Yeah, she really did, Dad." Seth smiled.
"Well," I interrupted, "you should talk to girls, Seth. But, don't be looking to get married anytime soon, OK? Wait until the fourth grade so the girls don't have those nasty cooties."
Seth shuddered and nodded his head yes to me before returning back to his homework. Edward led me out the door – not touching me. Once we were out on his front porch he told me directions, which were beyond simple. And then he ran a hand through his hair and said, "Thanks."
"Why?" I asked. I hadn't thanked Edward at all today.
"You were really great with Seth. He's always overly friendly and it annoys most adults, but you…"
I looked at him expecting him to complete his sentence, but he never did and instead just shook his head, clearing his mind of what ever compliment he may have given me.
When I arrived home Jasper was sitting at the kitchen table with his laptop open while Alice flittered around the kitchen dancing to the radio.
Upon seeing me, Alice shut off the radio and Jasper closed his laptop. I hated that I was making them change their ways for me. It wasn't right, but I was here to stay and that meant change was inevitable.
"Apply for any snazzy jobs?" Alice asked sitting down into a seat next to Jasper.
I walked over to the cabinet and rummaged for a cup. "Not yet. I'm not really qualified for those 'snazzy' jobs, Alice. Not yet, anyway."
"Oh, hush," Alice said waving a hand. "You're a genius at all things relating in…"
"I know, but I don't have any hands-on experience, so to speak."
"Rosalie said," Jasper interrupted, "something along the lines of pulling a few strings for you if you wanted the job for the police."
"I don't need her pulling anything," I replied. "I need to do this on my own."
And then I felt like a liar, because I wasn't doing this on my own. Alice and Jasper were my cheerleaders.
"Don't act too proud, Bella." Jasper said getting down to the route of the problem.
"I'm not," I lied sitting down next to Jasper.
He sighed at me, but didn't say anything else. He saw me as a lost cause, I knew, and I hated it.
"What happened to your hand?" Alice asked suddenly flitting over to my side.
"I just sliced it open," I replied. "Edward bandaged it up."
"Edward?" Alice asked still hovering over me. "Really. So, you met Seth?"
"Yes, I did. Why didn't anyone tell me?"
"No reason," Alice said too innocently as she skipped away from me.
I looked to Jasper for an explanation, but he didn't give me one, instead he said, "Ask Rosalie for help, alright?"
I shook my head and Jasper grunted.
"It'll happen," Alice replied. "Just give it time, both of you."
I wanted to shake my head and tell Alice to stop believing in me so much. I wasn't this amazing person underneath all of my baggage, but I didn't do that because part of me wanted to prove myself wrong.