When Love Was New Contest
Title of Entry: Something Special
Your pen name: Zombie's Run This Town/anythingzombie
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Right on cue.
I shifted my spot on the rooftop, pulling my legs closer to me and wrapping the blanket around my shoulders tighter. I took a sip of my coffee that had been made ten minutes before. I wiped at my tired, drowsy eyes and prepared for the early morning show that was watchable every single day. As I watched her glide over my lawn, almost as if she were floating, my tiresome body woke up. I straightened my back and stared down in awe.
I was always curious when I watched her walk through the damp grass in my backyard. Wasn't it cold? It had to be. She didn't even wear shoes--sometimes socks though. Her pajamas were always earthy colors, warm and sometimes bright. One time she wore silk blue ones. They looked amazing on her; she looked amazing in them. This late morning she wore a familiar pair of pajamas. Grey sweat pants and a plain-black t-shirt. She didn't even wear a jacket or coat, unlike myself who was drowning in sweaters and blankets. I even wore three pairs of socks. I was often worried about her, wondering if she'd get sick from the cold. I should bring her a coat of jacket, but like always, I never did.
Like a ritual, she headed straight for the old swing set in the back of my house. Like second nature, she took the left swing. Like it was the only thing she could possibly do, she began to swing. I was used to this. Her schedule was my schedule; her early wake was my early wake. I had been following her odd ways since I moved here five months ago. At first it worried me, made me even a little frightened. A girl walking through my lawn, cutting through the bushes; a girl in only pajamas swinging on the swing set that was here before we even moved into this large house. I was going to confront her, I was going to let my parents know, but I couldn't bring myself to ratting on the brunette.
She seemed happy on the swing set--she seemed at home. Another part of me wondered if she was sleepwalking - sleepswinging in this case. I let her be and watched with curious eyes from my rooftop. Every morning she'd show up around 4:15 AM and then leave just as the sun was coming up around five. I had no clue why I watched her. Every day she did the same thing; come, swing, and then go. Every day she would sit on that same seat, swing in that same fashion, and leave without any sudden shock. Every day. Always the same.
This morning was different. She swung for two minutes then came to a slow stop. I couldn't see her well from here, all I could see is that she wasn't swinging. She wasn't doing what she always did. Something was wrong, something was different, something I didn't like. I heard a small noise echo around me from her direction. It sounded almost like a gasp or a sob. I stood up carefully, making sure I didn't slip on the morning dew or the wet tiles on the roof. I climbed through my window, setting my coffee on the nightstand and dropped my blanket on the floor as I made my way to the door and ran out of my room. I took the stairs two at a time, panting as I made my way to the back door. I unlocked it and slowly opened it, being careful not to wake anyone up in my house.
I slipped out the door, feeling my stomach tighten at the sudden coldness. My house felt like an oven compared to the outside. My stomach grew more tense as I spotted the girl ten feet away, still not swinging. It was an odd thing to see. It's like if you had your home a certain way then changed things around. Even like moving into a new home and expecting the bathroom to be on the left, not on the other side of the house. It wasn't a homey feeling. When this girl swung day after day, I was at home. I stood there between my door and her unmoving body, contemplating whether or not I should go to her. Obviously something was wrong; I could hear whimpers coming from her direction.
I chewed on my thumbnail. Thinking. Deciding. What if she was hurt? That swing set had to be many years old; what if a nail came loose? Maybe she had asthma or something. Maybe she couldn't breathe and was petrified to the swing seat. I had to go where she was. If I let her continue to not breathe or whatever was wrong with her, let her die, I'd be an accomplice - or something like that. Whatever the reason, I had to go see what was wrong. I took a deep breath. I kept my head down to make sure I didn't trip and look like an idiot in front of her. I looked up and started to freak out as I realized that I was getting closer and closer to her.
As each step brought me near her, I realized she was familiar. I had seen those warm, chocolate brown eyes before. I had seen that same color of hair, those lazy curls. The pale skin wasn't something that was unfamiliar; everyone had pale skin. But hers was different. It was almost a cream shade. I figured I went to school with her, but I was a new kid. I didn't know anyone well yet. It wasn't that I was having trouble making friends, it was just that the friends I had made were now best friends. I hung out with my best friends only and that's just how things were.
I hesitantly stepped closer to the girl. She was no longer whimpering, she was just staring at the ground beneath her. But she was still upset. Her pale lips were turned down into a frown. Her eyes were wet, pink and puffy. Her hands gripped tightly to the chains that held the seat. Her knuckles were white. I stopped a foot in front of her, hands deep in my pockets. I cleared my throat; she didn't even jump. I did it once again, nothing.
"Excuse me?" I asked, my voice stuck on a lump. She still didn't respond. I stuck my hand out and it landed on her shoulder. She jumped slightly. Her eyes flashed to me, wide and brown. Her lips parted and I could see her teeth chattering from the cold. Her hands gripped the chains tighter, her knuckles turned a white-pink color. I backed away with my hands up and smiled reassuringly. She sniffled and I noticed her nose and cheeks were a light shade of pink. So she did freeze her butt off every morning. I felt suddenly guilty wearing all these layers of clothes. But by the fear on her face, I wasn't going to get much closer.
"Hi," I said softly. She blinked her eyes, the long lashes brushing her cheeks. She looked around, tugging her bottom lip into her mouth. Her hands loosened and she looked at me, worried and frightened eyes suddenly soaring straight into mine.
"..am I?" The first bit got cut off by a loud motorcycle driving through the neighborhood. I guessed she was asking where she was.
"You don't know?" I was oddly surprised. She came here all the time - wouldn't she know? "In..my..backyard," I said slowly.
The girl's eyes widened more and I was sure if they widened any further they would pop out. A disturbing mental image suddenly blocked my vision, an image that sort of made me happy, probably from all those movies Emmett has made me watch. I swear I had no heart anymore. And Emmett had surely sold his soul for a bag of candy.
"This is my backyard," she replied, a small hint of acid in her voice. I snickered, more out of annoyance than anything.
"This is my backyard."
She shook her head frantically.
"This is my backyard. This is my swing. This is my house." Her tone was very child-like. In fact, everything she did was very childish. She nibbled on her lip and her legs began to bounce. Her toes jumped up and down on the damp grass. That's when it came to me. I knew who this girl was. She did go to my school. We didn't share any classes but I knew her name.
Bella--she likes that better.
I felt a sudden pang in my heart. I had always thought Bella was an unusual girl. It wasn't until Alice told me Bella Swan was special-ed, she was a retard, that I realize her unusual ways could be blamed on something, or someone else. I stifled a sad laugh and ran my hands through my hair. What was I going to do? Should I call her parents? Should I drive her home? Should I tell her to leave? What do I do? Obviously Bella wasn't concerned with any of this. She began to swing. I stared at her in shock.
I had never dealt with anyone 'special' and to be quite honest, they frightened me. They were fragile and sometimes short tempered; they threw fits and often caused lots of money problems for the family. I sure as hell wouldn't be able to handle my kid if there were something wrong with him. It would be too much. I remembered watching a documentary with Carlisle once. It was about autism and mental retardation. It was too much. I made an excuse and left.
But now, here I was with Bella. What in the hell was I supposed to do? She stopped swinging again and was doing her whimpering-crying thing once more. I sighed. I wanted to go crawl into my bed and get some sleep before I had to go to school. But leaving her here felt wrong.
"I should take you home," I stated. She looked at me, no expression on her face. She simply stood up and held her hand out toward me. I grimaced slightly and grabbed her hand; I pulled her toward my house. I heard her teeth clang each other and I felt her body drag. I looked back. She was staring up at the sky, her body falling backwards. I tugged her hand impatiently, but she didn't notice. She was just like a kid. It was annoying.
I opened the door and pulled her through my house; once again she dazed off and made everything slower. Suddenly, I felt my hand slipping out of hers. I looked back to see her eyeing the family picture above the fireplace. Her eyebrows were creased and her mouth was set in an oddly shaped grimace, almost as if she were smirking. I grabbed for her hand, but she stayed frozen, just staring at the picture.
"Come on," I said, tugging her hand. But she remained reluctant to go. I sighed and pointed up at the picture.
"That's my family. My father Carlisle." I pointed at the blonde haired man with a bright smile, then at the dark haired woman with dimples."My mother Esme." I shifted my finger to my eldest sibling. "That's my brother Emmett and my little sister Alice." I was in the middle; I didn't fit in. Seeing it now made that pang return to my heart. Emmett had my mother's face while Alice had my father's eyes and ears. I didn't have any significant feature that looked like either. Every family has to have a black sheep I suppose.
"Can we go now?" I asked rudely. I felt her body relax and I grabbed at her hand once more, pulling her through my house. I grabbed my keys off the key holder near the front door. I led her out of my house and to my silver Volvo, a gift I had gotten for Christmas. Then I was struck with a sudden thought. Back seat or front seat? Where do you put someone like Bella? I figured the backseat because she was more fragile, and if she freaked I wouldn't want her to start while I was driving. I wanted to take the girl home, not kill her. Did I even know where she lived? Swan. Chief Swan. He lived a few blocks away, which I only remembered because I saw the cruiser every day as I drove by. I unlocked the car and led her to the backseat, but she shook her head.
"What?" I asked.
"Front," she said then grinned. I rolled my eyes and opened the passenger side for her. She got in without any help. I waited to see if she'd put the seat belt on herself; she made an attempt but couldn't quite get it in the clicker. I sighed and lunged for it, impatiently sticking it in. As I pulled away, I saw a smirk on her face, a smug look. I felt my eyes narrow at her as I shut the door and made my way to the driver's side. I climbed in and turned the car on, almost groaning as I realized I'd have to wait for it to warm up. I buckled my seat belt and leaned my head back, a yawn running past my lips. I should have gotten more coffee.
I shut my eyes, not to sleep but to rest. I couldn't do this. I went to bed at one and then woke up at four. Every day. I was a teenager. Wasn't I supposed to be sleeping until I was close to being late to school or something? No wonder why I was always sleeping during class. It was an exhausting habit and after this, I was taking the swing set down and sleeping for forever and ever. I felt a sudden cold rush through my hair and my eyes snapped open. They moved toward Bella who was staring at me. Her hand was running through my hair. I pulled away but she just moved with me. I kept my eyes narrowed at her as her fingers trembled across my eyes and cheeks, then my lips. She batted her eyelashes and smiled and I felt a buzz of electricity run through me.
Bella was an attractive girl, nothing like Rosalie or Tanya, but good looking. She had a face and a body of a normal teenager. She looked nothing like the other kids in her special-ed class. She could pass as normal if she didn't daze off and spoke more.
"You're beautiful," she slurred. Maybe she shouldn't talk at all. I sighed and turned the heat on. I pulled out of the driveway and began to take her home, where she would no longer be my burden. Even when I said it, I felt guilty. I knew it wasn't my fault that she is like this, I knew I shouldn't treat her like others do, but it's contagious. I couldn't help but to be me, a normal jerk, no matter how much I hated it. She annoyed me and even ticked me off, and I had only been with her for a few minutes. I could only imagine what it would be like if I was stuck with her for days on end.
It was quiet during the drive. I glanced over to see Bella dozing off and I sighed. Well at least she wouldn't freak out and get us killed. I wasn't sure what she had or was. Autism was my best guess but she didn't look very Autistic. I'd have to ask around. I was struck with a sudden thought. Since when did I care? I bit my tongue as I thought about it. It's not like I'd ever see Bella again; it didn't matter and it wasn't my business either. I should just take her home and that would be that.
I pulled up to the house. No lights were on. It was a smaller home--it was for more of the middle class than the wealthy. I sighed and turned my car off and unbuckled my seat belt. I turned and looked at Bella. She was peacefully sleeping, a small snore came from the back of her throat.
"Beautiful...beautiful," she whispered in her sleep. To my surprise I smiled slightly. That was normal; talking in sleep. Maybe Bella wasn't as messed up as I thought, just a little slow. I shook her slightly on the shoulder. Her eyelids slowly opened.
"We're here," I stated. She smacked her lips against each other and sighed, going limp. I climbed out of my side, grimacing at the wetness that was falling from the sky. I trudged to her side. As soon as I opened the door she stiffened. A cold breeze rushed past us and I shivered slightly. I snaked my arm past her and to the seat buckle. She whimpered and I quickly un-did it and moved from her. She was panting harshly, her chest rising up and down. Her palms were up and near her shoulders, as if I had just told her to freeze and put her arms where I could see them. She had her eyes shut and was repeating an inaudible word over and over.
"Bella," I said softly, trying not to frighten her again. Her eyes opened and immediately her soft, chocolate eyes met mine. Her breathing slowed dramatically and her arms lowered. I held out my hand and she took it with no hesitation. I led her, or more like dragged her, to the front her. I was irritated once again because of her ADHD or whatever was slowing us down. I just wanted to place her on her doorstep, ring the doorbell, and then ditch like the house was on fire. But I couldn't just leave her there. Hell, she didn't even know where she was. I rang the doorbell, not once but twice after we made it to the door. I waited for what seemed like forever while Bella gazed off at the trees around us. Finally, the door opened.
A man with a dark mustache and even darker eyes stood in front of us. His eyes looked a bruised purple, as if he'd just been in a fight. He wore a plaid robe that touched his feet, leaving enough room to see the black slippers. He stared at me in annoyance until he caught sight of the zoned-out girl.
"Bella?" he asked, irritated.
"I found her in my backyard," I stated. Those words didn't sound right. It was if Bella was a dog that I had caught and returned to its owner. I actually hated myself a little. I was treating her like an animal, like a stray. This whole time I've been saying, shoo Bella, get out of here you mangy mutt. I was going to hell. As I should.
"Thanks," Chief Swan said as he made a grab for his disoriented daughter. She reached for me instead, gripping my arm tightly.
"Sorry," he grunted as he stepped outside to get a better hold on Bella. He tugged and tugged at her arm, but it stayed tight to mine. She shook her head, repeating a silent 'no' over and over. He sighed.
"Would you mind?" He motioned toward the inside.
"Sure," I lied, walking into the warm home with Bella attached to me. Once inside her grip loosened but tightened again as her father made an attempt to remove her from me. She didn't budge.
"Let go," the man said forcefully. "Let go." He repeated it over, each time growing darker and harsher. I was even at the brink of getting Bella to let go. I pried at her fingers, but they wouldn't come loose. Her nails dug into my skin, hurting me. Her father must have noticed this.
"Renee!" he shouted. "RENEE!" I winced at the roaring tone of his voice. Bella whimpered and pushed herself into me. I looked down. Her frightened eyes stared back. Her bottom lip was quivering and her eyes grew moist. She was scared. Why? The next sound removed my eyes from Bella. A thin woman pounded down a set of stairs, a bothered look on her face. She looked much like Bella, except older and more stressed out. Her hair was a lighter shade of brown and went to her chin.
"What?" the woman asked. She shifted her eyes to where Bella was and I could swear she was trying to not roll her eyes.
"Isabella? What is going on, Charlie?" Renee, Bella's mother I assumed, asked.
"It seems that we don't have to worry about our daughter not being a normal teenager, she snuck out," he stated.
"For the last five months," I added.
The woman sighed and reached for her daughter. "Come on sweetheart, you need to go to bed."
Bella let go of me and went to her mother, keeping her eyes glued to mine. They made their way to the stairs but Bella pulled away and with a worried look, turning joyfully as she ran into my arms and hugged me. I stood there a moment, dumbfounded. Should I hug her back? I asked myself. I didn't wait for an answer. I put my arms around her and pulled her into me, inhaling and enjoying her strawberry scent in her hair. It was nice, comforting even. But before I could get too addicted her mother pulled her away with an apologetic glance. I grinned, only half of my lips rising.
The two of them disappeared up the stairs. I turned and faced the man. I opened my mouth to speak, to leave, but he cut me off.
"What's your name?" he asked.
"Edward Cullen," I replied, placing my hands in his.
"Cullen? Your mother wouldn't happen to be Esme, would she?" he questioned once more.
"That's my mom," I said.
He clucked his tongue. "Huh." Our hands pulled apart and we stood there in an awkward silence.
"Thanks for bringing her home, wouldn't want something worse to happen to her."
I nodded my head. "No problem."
Once again we were placed in silence, an awkward buzz of emotions hanging around. I should probably go home now but for some odd and bizarre reason, I didn't want to go home. In fact, I was actually worried about Bella. Why was she so freaked here? After all it was her parents, her home. But maybe the fear had to do with her condition. Whatever it was.
"If you don't mind me asking, what is that she uh...suffers from?" I couldn't think of a better term. The man sighed and headed for another room, motioning with his arm for me to follow him. I did so, gazing around at the pictures, all of them of Bella and her parents. We stopped once we were in the kitchen. He walked to a coffee maker and pressed a red button. He sat down, making me follow with his eyes. I did it all in a robotic fashion, as if I were being controlled.
He cleared his throat. "Bella had a little fun back in Phoenix where she lived with her mother. She got mixed up with the wrong kids. Something happened, a car accident. Bella was sitting the passenger seat and was hit. Major head trauma. We all figured she'd die, but..she lived, miraculously. But of course, something like that doesn't leave you with no scars.
"Bella was forgetting things; us, friends, even where she lived. She would lash out as us. The doctors ran some tests, did cat scans. Turns out she had gotten Dementia, poor kid."
I cut in, "I thought only..older people got that."
"They usually do. But some young folks, like Bella, can get it, too. And that's just what happened." He pushed away from the table and made himself a cup of coffee. Just seeing it made me tired. I stood up and walked toward the kitchen door.
"Well, I better go. I've got school," I spoke. He nodded his head and said a measly thanks before disappearing out another way. I sighed and headed out, walking into the hallway. Renee was there, sitting on the steps.
"Goodbye," I said. She stood up quickly and reached out to me. I stopped and waited.
"What's your name?" she asked.
"Edward," I stated.
"Thank you," she whimpered, fresh tears in her eyes. I felt my eyes narrow in anger, what did I do? She pulled me into a sudden embrace, and I couldn't help but to hug her back. The woman seemed like she needed it.
"Thank you so much, Edward," she whispered into my ear.
"Uhm. For what?" I asked back playfully, even though I was more terrified than anything. She pulled away, her hands gripping my arms. Her hazel eyes soared deep into mine.
"She hasn't smiled since the accident." With that the woman turned around and headed back up the stairs.
"Bella. Stop, Bella...don't!" I exclaimed, a smile on my face. Bella's hand was drenched in blue finger paint as she walked towards me, an evil grin on her face. I walked backwards, my hands up in the air as I begged her not to do it. But she did. Her hands met my face and she smudged them softly into my skin. The blue covered my eyes, lips and even some of my hair. She stepped back and examined me. My mouth was wide in shock as I gaped at her. She pursed her lips and cocked her head to the side, her eyes scrutinizing her masterpiece. She sighed and a blue smudged hand came forward, dabbing at my nose.
"Perfect," she purred. I eyed the red dot on the tip of her nose I had put it there, which led to this. I heard a few screams and turned around, only to see the rest of the class putting paint on each other.
"Crap," I muttered. I was supposed to be in charge. I wasn't supposed to let this happen. I was in trouble. As if sensing my thoughts of despair, Bella wrapped her arms around me from behind and placed her head on my back.
"It's okay," she hummed. I did feel a slice of ease. Bella always had a way of calming me. That was until Ms. Karen walked into the classroom. Her blue eyes went wide and her mouth dropped.
"What is going on in here?" she growled, making some of the kids stop. Her eyes met mine and they grew dark.
"Edward! What happened?" she asked roughly. I sighed and pulled away from Bella - who whimpered - then stood before the teacher.
"I accidentally got paint on Bella; she thought it was a game and put paint on me, everyone followed after," I stated. The teacher looked around. She stared at Bella for a moment then placed her hand on my back and walked me to the other side of the room.
She sighed roughly. "Edward, I'm sorry but you can't be in this class anymore. It was nice having a new student volunteer but you get Bella too excited." I felt a pang of anger inside me.
"That's only because she's bored! Bella's too smart and old to be finger painting!"
"Shh..." Ms. Karen warned, placing her hand on my back to pull me even farther away.
"I understand. I know Bella. I've known her for years. But Bella can't handle normal classes. The stress is too much. You wouldn't want her to have a meltdown where she could hurt herself, would you?" I looked over my shoulder at Bella who was painting with her pinkie on the easel. She had a slight grin on her face and was at peace.
I sighed. "No."
"Edward. I'm sorry, but I think it would be best if you left and...didn't come back." I decided not to argue. The best thing I could do was leave. She was right. Bella needed to participate in easy stuff and be put in area without the rude and crude kids of the normal high school. However, I did enjoy spending my time with her, and the others. I had quit my soccer team just so I could sign up for this class, to be a volunteer. It had been nice. I only had to worry about them, not myself. I taught them, I played with them, I became their friends. I even learned a lot about Bella. After all it was the only time I had with her since that one morning.
I went to the sink but Ms. Karen shook her head. "Just go. It'll be easier on her." I nodded my head and walked to the desks in order to get my bag, passing by Bella. She saw me. Her eyes stayed glued on me. I didn't look at her. I didn't want to worry her. I grabbed my black backpack, red staining it from where my hands touched. It hung by my knees as I walked through the little paint shop and to the door.
"Edward?" I heard Bella's mousy voice ask. A tight line formed at my lips and raised my right palm up. I used it to open the door and step out, wanting to cry as I heard Bella ask about me and for me.
"Where's Edward going?" - "Edward?" - "Can I go with Edward?" - "Please?" And then the sobs. Each one hit me like a wrecking ball. I hated it when Bella cried; it was painful to watch. She cried at least once a day, sometimes twice. This would be her second time. The first was from this morning, when I was walking into the school for the first time in the day. Bella was already there, walking with the rest of her special-ed class. She spotted me, even though I tried to hide so this wouldn't happen. I said a 'hello, I have to go to class, I'll see you later' and then I heard her cries until I was on the second floor. I had a hard time paying attention in Math as it was. That was just the icing on the cake.
I had spent two weeks being a teacher assistant for sixth period in the special-ed course room. I had learned so much about them, about Bella, about Alec and Jane. I learned that James liked to eat all of Victoria's cookies. Victoria would then cry but Laurent would give her one of his. Every day it was the same, but every day I learned. Jasper nearly flipped out when he realized I was quitting soccer to work with a bunch of 'retards.' I almost punched him in the face. Ever since then we haven't been as close. In fact, I wasn't really close with any of my best friends. The only people I enjoyed hanging out with were in that class, but I was no longer allowed to return.
The sound of me stomping down the hall was heard. Blue covered my face and red covered my backpack, probably my cloths, too. I looked down at my shirt to see a blue smudge all the way around, like a ring. The door flung open as I stormed into the boys' bathroom, dropping my bag and diving into the sink. The warm water was poured all over my face and I scrubbed it with soap to get the blue off. After what felt like hours, the paint was off of me. The bell rang, echoing in the boys' bathroom. I sighed and walked to my last class, leaving behind the hurt, angered boy who watched me in the mirror.
I sneakily sat beside Bella in the cafeteria, peering over my shoulder to see if anyone would notice me. They probably would.
"Edward!" she grinned, putting her sandwich down.
"Hey, Bella!" I said back with matching enthusiasm. She reached over and hugged me, wrapping her thin arms around my waist. I held her in my arms, smiling into her hair. She pulled back and began to eat her lunch once again.
"How are you?" I asked, watching her.
"Pretty good, what about yourself?" She took a large bite into her peanut butter and jelly, making me chuckle.
"Better now that I'm sitting with you."
She blushed and looked down, eating smaller bites. I looked around the round table, noticing that once again she was by herself. I wasn't sure why Bella sat by herself daily. But I was going to find out.
"So?" I began. She looked at me with wide doe eyes. "Why are you sitting by yourself?" Her demeanor changed as quickly as a lightning bolt. Her eyes grew dark, sad. Her mouth turned into a deep frown, making me want to jump on the table and start dancing. She put her sandwich down and took a sip out of her chocolate milk carton.
"I like being myself," she whispered. I nodded my head.
"I understand that."
She turned and looked at me. "You do?"
"Yeah. My sister likes to bug me a lot and Emmett, my big brother, likes to pull pranks on me. My dad is always bugging me about school and my mom, well, she doesn't bother me as much."
She smiled slightly and began to eat her lunch. She stared at a poster in front of her for nearly three minutes. I watched her, keeping my eyes on her moving jaw, her intense eyes, the way she sucked in her cheeks when she drank from her straw. Sometimes she'd stop everything she was doing and frown, narrowing her eyes. They'd grow wide a second later and she'd begin what she had been doing.
"What was that?" I asked. It was mostly to myself but I had said it a little too loudly.
"What was what?" she questioned, eyebrows creased.
"You were calm and then suddenly you looked..confused. What was that?" I spoke. She blushed and laughed; embarrassed.
"I sort of forgot where I was and what I was doing. I always do it around this time. It's so funny."
I disagreed. "Not really."
She nodded, brushing at the crumbs on the table.
"Bella, if it's not too much to ask. Would you tell me about that night?" I asked slowly, un-aware of how she'd feel about this.
"Alright." I was surprised that she'd actually agreed. Bella seemed very timid when it came about talking about her illness. I shifted so I was facing her fully, prepared to her this tale.
"I don't remember much, only the booze and Jacob." I stiffened. Booze and Jacob? That didn't sound like a good combination. "He was a guy I had been crushing on for most my life, at least, I'm pretty sure that he was. There was this party that he invited me to. I remember there being lots of people and loud, obnoxious music. I remember feeling scared, intimidated."
She narrowed her eyes at the table as she tried to remember. Her fingers tapped against the table and her legs bounced.
"There was something about 'the cops' and that we had to leave immediately. Jacob, he'd been drinking before and he was fully drunk now. He told me that he'd take me home. I think I wanted to tell him no but he, he touched my arm, grazed it. I was so shocked when he grabbed my hand that I allowed him to take me home. I knew he shouldn't have been driving but I was too stupid to say no. By the time I actually built up the courage to say no, it was too late. There was a lot of pain, I mean a lot. I thought for sure that I was in Hell or at least being eating by a monster. There was red, lots and lots of red. Glass too, lots of glass. After that everything is sort of black, foggy. It hurts to try to remember."
She let out a shaky breath and continued to eat her lunch. I sat there in shock. Charlie was right. It was amazing that she was still here.
"Wh-what happened to Jacob?" I asked, angry at him.
She stopped everything she was doing and stared at the wall in front of her, not really seeing it.
"Dead, I think," she whispered. Moisture formed in her eyes and she set her lunch down, pulling her arms around her. A small cry broke through her stiff lips and I wrapped my arms around her without any thought.
She hugged me back. She didn't continue to cry or even shed a tear. We just held each other, in peace. I liked it when it was like this. When her and I would just ignore the noise around us. Ignore everyone. When it felt like we were the only two people alive in this world. I think that's how Bella saw it, too.
"Edward?" she asked.
"If I was dead right now, what would you be doing?" I felt like I had been hit. The question was so sudden, so blunt. I was really, really not sure. I pulled away and looked deeply in her eyes.
"Bella, I have no clue. I'm just glad you aren't. I'm so happy you're alive that I could smile for years and never stop." I was smiling as I spoke, so was she.
"Edward, I'm so happy you're my bestfriend that I could smile for years."
I hugged her again. "Me too, Bella. I'll always be your best friend."
She pulled away, kissing me softly on the cheek. The bell rang.
"And I thank you for that." She gathered her things and ventured with the rest of her class to their classroom. I sat at the white table and smiled to myself. It was until a lunch lady threatened me that she'd send me to dention that made me leave. That stupid grin still on my face. And it stayed there. All day.
I didn't think it would be possible to have withdrawls from a person, but I was in desperate need of Bella. It was insane. It was if I was addicted to her and I was going cold turkey. But Bella wasn't hazardous to my health. In fact, she kept me healthy. I needed Bella. She kept me sane, she kept me happy and even better, she kept me..me. I hadn't seen Bella for nearly a week. I'd been extra careful to not pass her in the hallways or even step foot into the cafeteria during lunch. It was hard, staying away from her, but it was for her, not me.
However, I was going out of my mind. I needed to see Bella. I needed to be with her. I had no clue as to why I was feeling these needs. I just wished they'd go away and I only knew one way they would. I had called the Swan's about two days ago, asking if by any chance if I could hang out with Bella. After what felt like ages, many hesitant 'uhms' and a few 'no's', they agreed. A few days later, Bella and I were on our way to a picnic in a beautiful place.
I had my arms full with a blanket and a picnic basket. I kept stumbling over loose roots and twigs as Bella and I made our way to a meadow. I had found the meadow a few months back while hiking with Carlisle and Emmett. Ever since then I'd been waiting to find a perfect reason to go there, and I finally had one. Bella. She needed a place that wasn't full of watchful eyes or things that might set her off, someplace quiet and serene. She was excited, it was obvious. She was a few feet ahead of me, eager to find the place I had been keeping hush about. Every now and again she'd look back and make sure I was still there. I would smile at her and she would smile back.
Bella had just taken her medication before I picked her up. Her mother said to me that she'd be fine for an hour or two before the drowsiness would kick in. That may have been why I was so urgent to leave. I wanted Bella to have time to have fun before she'd be sent back into her permanent state of distortion and broken emotions. There was a break in the trees and I could see Bella pick up her pace. As soon as the sun hit her she seemed to glow. I felt a grin touch my lips as I made my way through the opening. Bella was already out in the meadow, gazing at the wonders it held. I chose a spot directly in the middle of the circular green and laid out the blanket, setting the tan basket above it.
I sat down on it, shifting my weight to my hands as I let them support me from behind. I glanced at Bella, her blue floral skirt floated around her as she continued to switch directions. I could see her wide brown eyes from here. Her wide smile that I hardly ever saw, that I missed. The sun caught her hair. A small light vibrated around it. It made me think of a halo. Bella stopped looking around and kept her eyes set on me. A smaller smile formed but I knew it was bigger than any of the others. She sauntered over to where I was, her head down and cheeks bright.
"What?" I asked, watching her fall onto her knees and sit beside me.
"It's really beautiful here," she stated with a sigh.
I nodded in agreement. "I know. Good thing the weather decided to be nice or else we'd be forced to do an indoor picnic and those aren't as much fun."
"I've had an indoor picnic before," Bella spoke, pulling things out of the basket and setting separate containers full of food on the blanket. I felt my head roll to the side and my eyes bloom with the excitement of hearing a story. She looked up at me and scrunched her nose.
"It wasn't as much fun as an outdoor one." I snorted with a chuckle, reaching for the container with mixed fruit. I grabbed a piece of watermelon and stuck it in my mouth, aware that I had eyes on me. I looked up to see Bella's lips turned up slightly, her brown eyes gazing adoringly at me.
"What!?" I asked self-consciously.
"Why did you want to hang out with me today?" she asked, reaching into the bowl of fruit.
"I wanted to. Why else would I be letting you share my favorite fruits?" I retorted.
She sighed. "Maybe you felt obligated or maybe someone paid you."
I shook my head and ate another piece of watermelon.
"Bella, I like you. You're my friend. I'm going to hang out with you because I want to."
"That's good to hear." A sudden smile grew on her face."Too bad it's not for money. I'm making thirty bucks for hanging out with you."
I gasped. "What?"
She giggled and ate more of the fruit. I sat there in shock. She smirked and looked up at me, her brown eyes shining in the light.
"You're joking, right?" I asked.
She shrugged. "Maybe." She smiled wider then, keeping herself from laughing.
"Oh, you just think you're so funny, huh?" I teased.
She nodded. "Yes I do. Dad says I can be a comedian or at least one of those actors who do all those skits."
"Oh really? I think you'd be better off playing the troll under the bridge than anything!" I joked. She scoffed and her eyes got wide. I could still see the smile so I knew she wasn't taking it to heart.
"Well, you can be my welcome mat when I get a large mansion!"
"What are you saying?" I began. "That I'm a pushover?"
She shrugged again. "Maybe a little." She brought her hand up and pinched her index and thumb fingers. I shook my head.
"Meany," I pouted and looked down, eyeing her slightly.
"You'd make a good dog too," she noted. I chuckled and threw a grape at her, making her jump and squeal. I burst into laughter, her own magical giggle joining in with mine. We laughed for a good five minutes before it turned silent. We started eating some of the lunch I had packed. I felt Bella's eyes on mine and I looked up, only to meet a more saddened expression.
I felt my eyes narrow. "What?"
"Edward," she began, "never mind." She shifted her eyes down, a very sad look in them.
"What is it?" I asked.
"It's just...I'm scared," she admitted, looking up at me with wet eyes.
"Scared of what?" I questioned with concern.
She shrugged her shoulders. "The future. My life. You know..everything." Her hands moved up to her face, blocking my eyes from hers. A quiet sob was released and I felt myself start to panic slightly. I pulled her into a hug, brushing her hair back.
"Bella. Don't cry," I begged. I felt her body shake in mine. I heard the cries that seemed so wrong and I witnessed Bella's pain. I hated being in this position but I hated her being like this more. I continued to hold her, to run my hands through her soft hair and rub her warm back. She calmed in my arms. Her cries came less and less. Bella's hands roamed from my back to my arms caressing my shoulders. Bella pulled away. My hands fell down to her waist as her hooded eyes locked with mine.
I felt my breath kick up as Bella's face moved closer to mine, as her lips slightly touched the skin above my lips, as they moved down until both of our mouths became a puzzle, fitting perfectly together. She took in my bottom lip and slightly nipped it, making a tremor run through my entire body. She took it back in and pressed a soft, gentle kiss on my shocked lips. Her eyes shut as she did this, a look of bliss reaching through her quiet expression. She pulled away, her full eyelashes revealing a sudden passionate color had taken over her chocolate orbs.
"Bella..." I began but her lips took mine again. I was surprised to feel my own pressing back, to feel my hand roam across her back and to her neck. Bella gasped slightly and pulled me closer to her. Our mouths opened. I took in her top lip while she took my bottom. Together we repeated the cycle. With each touch she fell back lower and my body pressure climbed onto her. Bella was on her back, her hands running through my hair as I fed from her lips. My legs were on either side of her and I could tell she was feeling my growing excitement. My lips went faster, my hands gripped tighter. I had never tasted something so sweet, something so pure. I had kissed only a few girls in my life but none of them were like Bella. None of them felt like Bella. None of them could make me as happy as Bella.
Part of me wondered if this was wrong, being with Bella. I had never thought of us as the romance type. In fact, I never thought of us as anything but friends. When Bella was like this, she was so normal. When she spoke without the slur and could concentrate on something without getting bored or distracted. I knew she wouldn't be like this forever and eventually it would get worse, but right now, she was a normal teenage girl who I was seriously falling for. I knew it was wrong. This was like taking advantage of her, but it also wasn't. Bella wanted this, I could tell.
At least it seemed that way in the beginning.
Bella's hands were becoming loose. It didn't seem like they were even on me anymore. Her lips became stilled but I could still hear the pants. I pulled away, opening my eyes. Bella lay underneath me, her eyes wide and frightened. I removed myself from her immediately, flying as far away from her as the blanket would let me. She stayed on the ground, her hands by her shoulders and her knees touching. She stared up at the blue sky, her breath coming out in quiet gasps.
"Bella. I'm so sorry," I muttered. I should have known better. I should have known that Bella wouldn't stay normal for longer than the twenty minutes given.
"Home," Bella whispered. "Home. I want to go home."
I slowly crawled over, placing the food back into the basket.
"Okay, Bella. Home. We'll go home."
As I held Bella's hand as we walked back to the car, I thought. I was angry at myself for doing this, for putting her in a vulnerable spot and making sudden emotions fly through her. I was also angry at her because she shouldn't have put me in the situation to make her that way. Then I felt angry at myself for blaming her. Bella wanted it, that much I was sure, she probably needed it too. From what she'd told me, she'd never kissed a boy. Bella had needs that she'd never felt before, only because I was the only boy daring enough to go for it. I wasn't in love with Bella - at least, not yet.
I wasn't sure if I wanted to be in love with her. I wasn't sure if I wanted her to be in love me. What I was sure about was that I wanted to be in her life. I wanted to be there for her when everyone else gave up on her. She might have annoyed me to begin with. But like I always say, it wasn't her fault. Even though in some sick, twisted way it was. I'd be there for Bella, for as long as she needed me. I glanced at her then. Her head was down as both her hands gripped my own. Her arm was pressed against mine and her drowsy eyes blinked. She looked at me and smiled. I think she knew that I'd be there for her too.
"Can anyone please draw me the diagram on page twenty-eight on the white board?" Mr. Banner questioned, his eyes roaming the classroom.
Mike Newton raised his hand cheerfully and jumped up. He began drawing some stupid picture from the stupid biology books. I let my chin fall onto my crossed arms and I stared out the window, waiting for last period to be over so I could go see Bella. Every day got harder and harder. It had been two months since the meadow incident and I'd felt the need to be with her more and more. School became unbearable. I spent most my class time like this. I didn't even bother going back soccer. After all, I wasn't passionate for it like I used to be.
I felt something touch my arm. I roamed my eyes to side of me to see Jasper looking at me. I rolled my eyes and glanced back out the window.
"Dude, what's your deal?" he whispered.
"Nothing," I replied with a sullen tone.
"I know there's something."
I shook my head. "There's nothing. Leave it."
He sighed and stopped talking for a moment. "Is it that retarded chick?"
I couldn't control my actions after he said that word. My chair scraped against the linoleum floor as I stood up. My hands went directly into Jasper's side, pushing him out of his chair. I heard a few gasps and even a "whoa." Jasper stared down in shock before realizing what had happened. He jumped onto his feet and threw his fist into my direction. I moved slowly and he nipped the corner of my eye. My own locked knuckles lunged for him and rested in his gut a moment before Tyler got between the two of us.
"Break it up!" he shouted.
I glared at Jasper. He snarled at me. But all that anger vanished as a sudden noise touched our ears. A siren. We all looked behind us and at the window that scaled alongside the left of the classroom. An ambulance rushed through the parking lot and pulled up to the near end of the building. Paramedics jumped out and pulled out a gurney from the back before rushing inside.
"Looks like one of the 'tards had an accident again," someone joked. But to me, it was no joking matter. I felt my stomach grow tight and my palms begin to sweat. I moved around Emmett like a natural, dodging Jasper's accusing glare. I ran out of the room, ignoring Mr. Banner's call for me. I skidded through the hallways, my shoes squeaking and teachers yelling at me as I passed by classrooms. I didn't stop until I reached a group of students and teachers in the 'A' hallway. Most of the students were from the special-ed class. My hands were drenched by now. I looked around for Bella. She wasn't there. The end of the gurney came out of the classroom; bit by bit, it reviled a body, then a face.
I gasped at Bella's still body. Her eyes were wide open, but lifeless. I could see the rise and fall of her chest and I felt a sudden relief pass by, but that was gone as soon as I remembered she was still on the moving cot. I spotted Ms. Karen and walked up to her. She noticed me and frowned.
"What happened?" I urgently asked.
She shrugged her shoulders."I'm not sure. She was just...not responding to anything. She was just staring, that's all she would do." I patted my pockets and made sure I still had my car keys on me - I did.
"I should get back to class," I stated and walked away, feeling the teacher's eyes on me. As soon as I was sure that I was out of sight distance from her, I began running again. I pushed past the front doors and lunged for the parking lot, for my car. Once inside I pulled away and drove straight for the hospital, worry sickening me. It felt as if I'd never get there, almost like the road kept getting longer. I almost laughed as I felt tears build in my eyes. Who would have thought that I'd be this worried about someone? Someone who probably would forget me in a matter of years..months - if she made it that long.
I sat in the waiting room; waiting. I wondered if they used to call it something else, something more complex. Then suddenly someone just renamed it accidentally. It was a stupid thought, but it kept me from thinking about Bella. I wasn't able to see her when I got here. I didn't get a chance for the doctors to speak to me either. I guess it wasn't my business. I was waiting for her parents, waiting to know. Charlie, Bella's father, walked past me and directly into the hospital room. Renee followed, giving me a sympathetic glance. The next person to follow had me standing up.
"Esme?" I asked. My mother was dressed in a black power suit, her hair neatly pulled into a fancy hairstyle.
"Edward? What are you doing here?" she asked, panic in her voice.
"I should be asking you the same thing," I stated. She sighed and looked at Bella's door.
"I don't have time for this, Edward, go home. I'll talk to you there." With that she disappeared into the forbidden room, leaving me even more puzzled then before. I sat there for what felt like twenty hours when in reality it was actually ten minutes. Charlie walked out of the room, a dead look on his face. He slowly made his way into the room, taking a seat beside me. I sat at the edge of my seat, waiting. He didn't say anything.
"So?" I pressured. He sighed and looked at me before looking away.
He shook his head. "She's gone."
I felt my heart stop. "What?"
His eyes got wide. "Not like that. She's still alive." I let out a deep breath and blinked back tears.
"That is," he continued, "if you count never being able to do anything for yourself ever again living."
"I thought she had a few years before the Dementia would get too deep," I retorted.
"Me too. Guess her body decided different, huh?" he questioned lightly with a soft chuckle. I didn't feel like laughing. Bella was too young for this. She shouldn't be doing this until her sixties or seventies. This wasn't fair. Bella still had time do things, normal things. I wanted to take her to Seattle next month for a big concert that the Symphony Orchestra was holding; that was no longer a possibility. She was gone. Not physically but mentally.
"Do you think I could see her?" I asked.
"To say your goodbye, yes."
I turned to him. "Goodbye?"
He looked at me with Bella's eyes, a serious look on his face.
"Yes. I don't want you to see Bella anymore. For your sake."
I was speechless. I was no longer allowed to be with Bella? To have at least any hope that she'd get better? I had to...break up with Bella? All I could do was nod my head lifelessly and get up. I walked slowly to her door, a hollow feeling going through my bones. I didn't want to say goodbye, not like this and I definitely didn't want to see her like this. I continued to walk, feeling as if death was on the other side of the door. It opened and I nearly fell. Renee and Esme walked out, both glancing at me.
Renee patted my shoulder. "It's only for the best, Edward." I nodded my head, watching her tears fall free as she walked past.
"You're Bella's therapist, huh?" I asked, remembering the times my mother had talked about her. I never listened though.
"Yes. And if I knew that Bella was the girl you were spending all your time with I wouldn't have ever let you out of the house. Say goodbye and let's go home." My mother was acting rude. But it's only because she was upset. Esme was serious about her work. It was a passion of hers. Her beloved patient was gone, almost as if she'd lost a child. I nodded my head and continued the long walk.
The door was wedged open. I kept my eyes on the ground. I looked up slightly, only to take a peek. Bella was looking at me. Before I could get any hope, I knew that she didn't realize who I was. Long-term memory loss was a part of Dementia. I sighed and continued onward, preparing myself for the goodbye. I slowly stopped beside her bed, picking at the loose thread on her blanket.
"Who are you?" she asked, a slight slur in her voice.
"Edward," I mumbled.
"What are you doing in here?" Her tone was harsh and I recoiled. I let my eyes roam up to hers. They were dark. They didn't even look like Bella's.
"What do you want!?" she demanded.
"N-nothing," I stuttered. "I'll leave." I turned around and headed back out of the room. I paused at the door. If this was my last time I'd ever see Bella. I needed to get my closure. I glanced over my shoulder at her.
"Goodbye, Bella." Her glare lightened up and I sighed. I turned back. I took a deep breath and let a fresh tear fall. As I took a step out, I heard her speak.
I walked away. A sob deep in my chest just begging to be released. I shook my head and blinked back my tears. I passed by my mother and Bella's parents. I didn't stop for a goodbye. I walked through the hospital, ignoring everyone who I saw. I held back my tears until I made it to my car. I slammed my door shut and turned the engine on, punching through the radio until I found a song I enjoyed. "Stay" by Safetysuit came on just as I hit the station. I turned the volume up very loud and let the tears fall free. I let my head hit the steering wheel and my sobs escape for freedom. I nearly screamed them.
The pain was barbaric. It wasn't from this world. It was if I was slowly being murdered in a tortuous way. I was being tortured. Hearing the echo of my loud sobs made it a million times worse. I bit my lip as I realized how weak I was and how I could let something like this control every fiber of my being. The pain stayed securely in my heart though, doing what it always did, just with a painful burden. I felt my heart, my lungs. The beating sent a shockwave of pain that made me nearly scream and shove my hands into my head. Bella was no longer in my life. Just thinking about it made me want to puke, made me want to yell, made me want to cry like I've never cried before. Kind of like what I was doing now.
It was then that I realized it. Why saying goodbye was so painful and why I was crying like this. I, Edward Cullen, was in love with Bella. I never thought that I could love someone like her, someone with special needs. I never thought that I could get my heart broken by someone like her either. It was insane. I'd never felt like this. I'd never dealt with pain like this. It was horrible. I could feel my heart beat. I could feel my breathing come out in gasps. It was if someone was smothering me. I tore my jacket off, hoping to get more air that way. It didn't help. If anything, it made me feel worse. Bella loved that jacket. She loved the blue color; she said it looked like the ocean.
Bella was gone. She was out of my life and I never even got a chance to tell her how much she meant to me. I never got a chance to be there for her. Bella and I were over before we even got a chance to be together. What was I supposed to do now? Move on? No. I couldn't do that, I wouldn't that. I wanted to go back into that horrible hospital and take her away. I wanted to be by her side, to stay with her forever. I would be there for her, something no one seemed to really want to do for her. I'd be patient and I'd teach her, even when she forgot me day after day I'd stay by her side.
I pushed those thoughts away. It was too late. Too late for her, for us. I could only hope that one day Bella would remember me, remember that day in the meadow. Remember the things I let her do when she was bored at home. I'd sometimes bring Emmett's video games over, letting her beat me. I'd act sad as she danced in thrill and made fun of me. Often times she'd cook for me, telling me how her parents wouldn't let her because she might forget that the stove was on. It was little thing that I let her do, but they were far bigger then she'd ever experience.
I pulled out of the parking lot, glancing at the second story floor.
"I love you, Bella," I whispered.
I knew she'd say it back if she had the chance.
I glanced at the red lights on my alarm clock. It read 4:14 AM. I sighed as thoughts of Bella flooded through me. It had been five months. I hadn't heard anything about her. I haven't even seen her at school. I talked to talk to Esme and she said something about Phoenix. I couldn't get much out of her. Even Carlisle tried.
"Leave it be, Edward. Leave it be." That's what she told me. She even told Carlisle to tell me that. It was ridiculous. I gave up asking questions; it was probably better if I didn't know. I was getting better at not thinking about Bella. I went back to soccer; that took most my time. But it was this time of the day that had all thoughts of her coming back. Her brown eyes, her mahogany hair, her cute skirts she liked to spin in. Bella was a beautiful creature. I was glad that I at least had my memory of her still with me.
I groaned and turned on my side, facing away from the tiny clock that seemed huge. I stared at my open window instead, wondering why I never kept it shut. Even when it was storming it remained opened. I had ruined many books, but I didn't care. It's not like I was going to read them again. Books didn't interest me anymore.
A creaking noise stopped all my thoughts. My breathing came to a halt and my wide eyes stayed locked on the window. I didn't hear the creaking noise again. I shook my head and flopped on my back. Great, not only did I have to re-live my last months with Bella, but now I was starting to hallucinate sounds. I shut my eyes and waited for sleep. I never got it. Instead, I heard the same creaking noise. I got out of my bed and walked to the window, the creaking noise becoming louder. I looked around the yard, stopping at the swing set. Bella's swing set. I guess that she lived here before my family and I moved in. She'd grown up here. It was nice knowing we shared something together.
A dark shadow on Bella's swing sent my heart into overdrive. Someone was sitting in Bella's seat. I ran out of my room and flew down the stairs, determined to murder whoever the person was. It was probably Alice. She'd been swinging there more and more since summer. I wouldn't murder her, but maybe I'd stick worms in her food. I slammed the back door open and rushed out the door. My feet started to slow as I realized that it wasn't Alice. I came to full on stop as the body looked at me.
"Bella?" I breathed. It was indeed Bella. Her brown locks came down just below her chest and her doe eyes stared at me. It was Bella. She was here.
She smiled widely and stood up. I stared in shock. Clearly I had gone insane. I was sleep deprived, slap happy as some say. She ran over to me, slipping her arms around me. I slowly put mine around her, feeling joy as I realized that she was definitely real.
"Bella," I purred, pulling her in closer. A sob climbed out as her strawberry scent overwhelmed my faded memories.
She nuzzled her head into the base of my neck.
Softly she said, "I forgot to tell you that I loved you."
A/N - That was very, very long. But I had to tell one story in one shot. Hencing the one shot thing. Big thanks to the beta's over PTB who made this probably a million times better then it was. It could be better but then I'd be going over the word limit. Thanks to Starrynytex who attempted to beta but real life got in the way. She's still awesome in my book. Thanks to my girls on skype and twitter who put up with my shit as I complained about this oneshot. I love you.
A review is worth a million words.
Future Note - It's been nearly a very long time since this oneshot has been out and I would like to say something. I apologize if I have offended anyone with this story. I have fully intended to do what I did, to have my characters think certain ways and act. It may be offensive but sadly it's true. And Bella isn't cured, she just had a relapse of sorts.
P.S - I may be writing a sequel/outtake sometime in the future.