Chapter Two. Mannequins

Anger washed through Edward, but he felt nothing. Because anger was all he ever felt; it wasn't an emotion; it was more like breathing. To him "happiness" was frankly a bunch of shit. No one was ever really happy, even if they fooled themselves into thinking they were.

"I told you eight fucking times and I'll tell you again, I'm not dreaming. I never have dreams never have, and never will. So good luck freaking interpreting them." Edward yelled, his malicious voice echoing throughout the room.

Dr. Grant didn't even flinch. "Edward, I'm only asking." He said calmly.

Edward crossed his arms over his chest and clenched his fingers into them, squeezing tight. "Whatever." He muttered under his breath.

"You need to learn to control your anger." Dr. Grant showed no emotion on his façade, Edward wondered if he actually cared or if he was just in it for the money. It sure seemed like. Bet it pays an assload of money to talk to kids as messed up as he was.

"I'm not angry," Edward said, a little more relaxed this time. "I'm…annoyed." He paused for a moment. "And anyway, I wouldn't be angry if you guys would fucking let us do anything fun in here." His voice wasn't raised, just factual.

Dr. Grant just nodded.

What a bastard.

Instinctively Edward looked up at the clock. "Time's up." He breathed quickly in relief. Dr. Grant pursed his lips.

"I'll see you tomorrow." He sighed, almost regretfully.

"Yeah, yeah." He muttered as he stood violently and trudged out of the room. This place hadn't changed him one bit. Every time he saw the medicine they gave him he was tempted to save the pills until he had enough to overdose. But he didn't because there was this feeling in his gut that told him something good was coming. He had to wait, just to see what it was.

Edward stomped through the halls until he reached Victoria's room. She was his only comfort, his only place to hide. She, at least, mildly understood him.

She was sitting on her bed, her dyed, shoulder length, red hair straightened and pulled into a messy ponytail. Her fingernails were painted purple and her eyeliner was black and silver. She had almost grey eyes and they were blank, never holding love or caring. All she cared about was her image. Edward wondered why she had even ended up there. He had never asked and he figured there would never a good time to do it. So he kept his mouth shut.

She was reading a magazine, something stupid, gossiping about people no special than anyone else, just overly paid and praised for acting skills.

"Hey." She said in her deep voice. She wasn't surprised he was there. He came almost every day. They broke the rules together, curled up in her bed. Locked doors were a gift earned only by karma, I guess.

"Hello." They kept to single words, never saying anything deep, never showing emotion. It would just get too complicated then. And why ruin something that caused only good things, or, at least, distracted from the bad?

Edward took a step forward, quietly closing the door behind him.

Flimsy, white, lined paper clouded her thoughts. Memories of love notes left to her from Him. Pretty words meant only for her, but said to so many others. Lies laced with stained compliments. She visualized his soft, husky voice, luring her in with remarks of shelter

Voices. Bella heard them; almost quiet whispers, but getting louder. But these were not in her dream.

Her eyes involuntarily fluttered open. At first she was blind, could only see gray, like the static of a TV, but then things became clear.

"Hi." A small voice spoke to her. She recognized it. The nurse, who had led her here, met her at the doors. Riley? The doors were the only escape from this place. She wondered where they were. She remembered walking from them but everything of this place that she had seen looked the same.

Riley was standing next to the doorway, like she didn't want to step any closer. Her arms were glued to her sides and her muscles were tense.

Bella nodded at her, still keeping her lips pressed to a hard line. Words had only deceived her and there really wasn't anything to say.

"It's time for breakfast." Riley seemed nervous around Bella, like she needed her approval for some bizarre reason.

When Bella didn't move Riley hesitated. Bella noticed, so, just to make her relax a little she pulled the covers off and stepped onto the floor. The air greeted her harshly. The wind coming from the hallway was chilly and stung her steaming skin.

When she looked over Riley was gone. Bella sighed as she tugged off her blank black t-shirt and pulled on a new one from her suitcase that they must have brought in while she was asleep. She didn't even bother to look at which one it was.

When she stepped into the hallway she saw what she did not expect. There were people everywhere, hurrying, almost shoving, to get to their destinations. She saw all different kinds of people. Some were thin, too thin, and looked like if air hit them they would fall apart. Others were tan, good looking, perfect, but had a look in their eyes to make her know that it was not enough. And then, there were some who looked like there was just no hope left in the world. She felt as if was looking in a mirror.

She hadn't taken the trouble of putting on shoes so her feet felt sticky against the tile, as she turned left, assuming it was the way to wherever they ate.

She stumbled around for about ten minutes, not feeling the need to ask for direction, and finally came upon a large room, looking almost like her school's auditorium, but lacking a stage, where there were long tables lined up one after the another. People sat, eating, some talking, some laughing, some, even, looking joyful.

She took a deep breath and headed in the direction of the line were she presumed the food was. Nothing looked edible, but she knew if she didn't eat they would assume she had an eating disorder. So she just simply got some scrambled eggs.

She looked around, wondering where she should sit, where she would least belong, where no one would bother talking to her.

She couldn't feel any of her muscles and yet, when she thought about it, her legs moved slowly toward a table where four people sat. They looked nothing like her. They looked perfect.

One had straightened light auburn red hair that was cut about her shoulders in a pony tale. She seemed plastic, like a mannequin. She seemed stiff, stone. She was speaking, her perfect lips moving up and down in a rhythm.

When another laughed Bella's eyes were pulled toward him. He was muscular, with sandy blonde hair, pale skin, and big brown eyes. As he laughed his shoulders pulled back and his checks turned red. He was beautiful, too.

The other girl was draped over this boy. She looked at him like he was everything, like nothing else compared, like she loved him more than anything in the world. Most could not see this in a person, but Bella could identify easily, for she had felt it herself. Bella's hands trembled and her lips pressed together. She couldn't breathe. She had to look away before she passed out.

This girl had curled, long, slate black hair and traumatizing blue eyes. Her figure was much thinner than the others, too thin. She looked lost, like she didn't belong here either. But she was beautiful, nonetheless. She bit her thick lips and clenched her tan hands.

Her eyes drifted then to the last boy. He was simply the most beautiful thing she had ever seen. He had wavy dark auburn hair that flowed just below his ears. He had sea green eyes that shined in the aluminum lighting. He wasn't as built as the other boy, but he was definitely muscular. His skin was darker than Bella's, but that wasn't hard to beat. He may not have been more good looking than the rest, but there was something about him, a vibe, that told Bella that he was different, that made him distinctive from the rest.

She thought that nothing else could ever shock her, that she would never be pulled to a boy again, but she was staggered a bit. After she was over her surprise she made her way toward this table. Out of this place she would have been to afraid to approach these beautiful people, but since they were in here too she assumed that they were just as messed up as she was, if that was possible, of course.

She pulled out the brown metal chair four seats down from the four people that sat at the end of the table.

At first they didn't notice her, but after a few minutes the girl with the curly hair turned to her and raised her eyebrows. "Hi," Her voice was soft, understanding. "I haven't seen you before. Are you"—pause—"new here?"

Bella blinked; astonished that she would actually speak to her. Then, finally after a moment, she spoke. "Yeah." It had been the first time she had spoken since she had arrived that this god-awful place. She was surprised at her own mouth. "I'm Bella." She kept her answers short, so they couldn't hear her distress.

She noticed that she was the only one looking at her. The other three just stared at each other, looking like they weren't really seeing anything.

"I'm Alice." She said, in a mater of fact attitude. "I've been here for seven weeks." She must have seen Bella look down, thinking about being here that long. "Don't worry," She comforted her. "It gets better eventually. I promise." She smiled softly. She didn't respond, She couldn't. This kindness was strange to her. She had never seen such a thing before. A stranger caring about a girl she had never met who obviously had serious issues.

She looked up again to, this time, look at the other's faces. The one other girl's lips were pursed, almost angry that she wasn't the center of attention. The boy with sandy blonde hair was looking right at her with no emotion. And the other boy made no movement. Bella's forehead wrinkled as her eyebrows pulled together and she clamped her lips together.

She swallowed. "I just got here yesterday." She informed Alice. Alice shook her head up and down in an on going nod, like she was analyzing her. She came back into reality then.

"Guys," she almost snapped at the others. "Introduce yourself." She hissed.

The boy with the blonde hair was the first to respond. "Bella's a pretty name for a pretty girl." He grinned a crocked smile. "I'm Jasper, and speaking of that what is a cute girl like you doing at a fucked up place like this."

And for just a moment, and for the first time in a long time, Bella found a small hint of humor inside her. "Who said pretty girls couldn't be fucked up, too?" For just a moment it was silent but then Jasper and Alice broke into hysteria. It wasn't that funny. I guess they were just surprised she could joke at all.

Then again, in a place like this, laughter was all one really could reside to, or they really just might go insane.