Summary: Five years have passed since Edward left Bella in the woods. Both Bella and the Cullens' have experienced great tragedy since they last saw each other, but what happens when they meet again, and what is the meaning of the prophecy? Bella OOC. BxJas
Warning: Rated M for a reason. Violence, language, graphic drug use, suicidal themes, and eventual lemons. Lemon's won't be happening right away, but I'll try to make it worth the wait. :-)
Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight or any of the characters. Stephanie Meyers owns all rights. I just like taking them out to play.
A/N: A huge thank you to jdcoke for her editing skills and always appreciated advice and encouragement!
Chapter 1 - Numb
I'm novocaine, I'm numb and nothing's real – Numb By Pink
I jumped awake, terrified by the bloodcurdling scream. It was several moments before I realized that the screaming was coming from me and it abruptly stopped. My entire body shook as I tried to shake off the remnants of my dream. I wished I could burn the images from my mind. My nightmares had plagued me for years starting with Edward leaving me. Tragedy after tragedy had plagued me and only added to my nightmares. It was only in the last year that I had finally started to grow out of them.
I concentrated on my meditation techniques and slowly reigned in my emotions until I could feel nothing. I looked over at the clock. Six in the morning. Two hours of sleep wasn't enough. Although the nightmares were nothing like they used to be, I still avoided sleep as much as was physically possible.
Finally I got out of bed and pulled on a t-shirt and shorts. I quickly laced up my running shoes and set out on the running path behind my house.
Right. Left. Right. Left. Right. Left. Right. Left. Right. Left.
I concentrated on the sound of my shoes slapping against the forest path clearing my mind of everything else. It was a soothing rhythmic sound.
I'd never been much for sports or physical activity, but over the years since high school, I'd outgrown much of my clumsiness and exercise had become essential to my life. As I ran, the rest of the world melted away. My past melted away. My memories melted away and my emotional pain was replaced with a delicious physical ache in my muscles.
I was still a bit underweight, looked sleep deprived, and had an unhealthy pallor, but my muscles were in shape and I had grown up so my body looked good if you could look past the negatives.
I frowned as I neared the end of the 10 mile loop. It was always over too quickly. I'd been debating adding some length to the forest trail, but it was a lot of work to do. I walked around my yard as I cooled down, squinting in the bright morning sun. It was rarely sunny in Warrensburg, NY, so I should appreciate it, but it mostly just irritated me. I stretched my warm muscles and then went through my yoga routine.
When I finally finished my daily exercise regimen, I went into the house and looked at the clock. It was only8:30. I grabbed a bagel and looked around my small house to find something to pass the time. It was actually a small hunting cabin that had been abandoned for years, but I saw potential in it when I saw that it was for sale. I'd done a lot of renovations on it in the six months that I'd owned it. Most people that used to know me would have laughed if they knew I now spent my time on home improvements. I got a great sense of satisfaction with every project I finished. It was something new and something I was surprisingly good at. It also kept me busy.
I took a quick inventory of the projects I was working on and got to work which put me into a much better mood. I spent the next several hours enjoying the sun while I stained my new kitchen cabinets. According to the weather man, there was a zero percent chance of rain for the next two days, so I knew I'd be able to let them dry outside. I worked methodically and meticulously as I tried to ignore everything but the task at hand.
I'd been feeling a sense of dread that had been increasing over the last week. I just felt like something major was going to be changing. I no longer did very well with change. I liked my routines. They helped me feel stable. As much as I tried to ignore my feelings as I worked, it was always in the back of my mind.
Finally finished up and cleaned up my supplies. I hopped in the shower and enjoyed the feeling of my tense muscles relaxing as the warm water flowed over me. Unfortunately the hot water didn't last more than seven minutes. The water heater was going to need to be replaced very soon. It would have to be done before winter, but as it was still August I still had time for that. When the water turned cold I quickly rinsed the rest of the shampoo out of my hair and got out of the frigid water. I wrapped myself in my big fluffy robe as I dried my hair. I'd recently gotten a haircut so it was much shorter than I was used to and dried much quicker as well. It was shoulder length with layers that added body and style without having to actually do anything with it.
I decided to try to get some sleep so I set the timer on the coffee pot, set the bedroom alarm and lay down, trying to empty my mind. Eventually the alarm went off without my having fallen asleep. I continued to lay there as I listened to the incessant beeping of the alarm clock and counted along with the beeps. It was a while before I could bring myself to expend the necessary energy to actually turn off the alarm, but by then it had turned itself off. I remained in bed for a while relishing the silence.
Finally, knowing I was going to be late for work, I dragged myself out of bed. Before doing anything else, I poured myself a large cup of coffee and added some flavored creamer. The timed coffee maker was probably my best friend, though I had avoided getting up so long that it had turned itself off and the coffee was merely lukewarm. I quickly downed half the cup.
As I got ready for work, I listened to my iPod, selecting some angry music. I didn't really enjoy my job and I often wondered why I kept going back, but it was essentially the only contact I had with the outside world. I put on a pair of skinny jeans and the tight t-shirt that was my uniform in the club. I took a final look in the mirror. I looked tired with deep circles under my eyes but sufficiently disguised them with concealer. I nodded at myself in the mirror, satisfied I was fit to be seen in public. I grabbed my bag and took off for work, already half an hour late.
I parked behind Midnight and sighed as I thought of the long night of waiting tables I had to look forward to. As I opened the back door, I started getting that tingling sensation of being watched. I looked around and couldn't see anything. I felt cold dread start to seep into my veins, a feeling of foreboding, but nothing happened and I finally went inside.
I heard my boss Jimmy stomping down the dark hallway and sighed as I prepared myself for yelling.
"Bella! You are so lucky we're short staffed tonight or you would be out of a job. I know you don't care about this job, but for my sake, could you at least pretend?" Jimmy yelled.
"No, Jimmy, I don't think I can," I remarked.
He paused and looked me over before coming over to me and putting his arm around my shoulders. "You looked tired, girl. Are you really okay, Bella?" he asked quietly. We had a love/hate relationship that worked well for us. We did actually care about each other, but we usually fought a lot and usually most of our communication was shouted.
"Yeah. I've been having a rough week, but I'm doing just fine," I responded.
"You know I could make you feel better," he said as he leered at me. His eyes slowly trailed down my body.
"Jimmy, do I need to give your wife a call?" I asked sweetly. She knew he slept around, actually, she did as well, but she would still be pretty pissed.
He smirked at me. "I doubt she would mind. She'd probably ask if she could join us."
Yeah, knowing her as well as I did, she probably would. I rolled my eyes at him and dropped my bag in his office. I grabbed my serving apron and began tying it around my waist. As I stepped back out of the office, I felt my ass being pinched. I turned and glared at Jimmy who had the decency to look ashamed…although it may have been more a look of fear. I had a bit of a reputation with guys who don't keep their hands to themselves. "I know you're my boss, Jimmy, but so help me…" I let my sentence trail off and he held up a hand to stop me.
"My apologies, Bella, but you have to admit you have a really nice ass," he said.
"Jimmy, that was a really fucked up apology, but yes, I do have a nice ass," I responded as I shook my ass and walked away.
I greeted my coworkers and then started my rounds to my section of tables. I joked and flirted with the frat boys. I laughed with a table of young mothers who were relieved to be out for a night on the town without the kids. I brought drinks and bar food to my customers. The same thing I did every day. Day after day. What kind of life was this? I wasn't sure why it was hitting me especially hard tonight, but I was getting more and more depressed as the night went on, but I continued to joke and laugh and maintain my carefully constructed façade.
"Bella!" yelled Liz from right behind me just as the music paused between songs. I jumped dumping my tray of beers down the front of my shirt. I glared at her playfully as she rushed to get a towel for me. She had a horrified expression on her face as she tried to pat down my shirt. I couldn't stay mad at her.
"Bella, I'm so sorry," she gushed.
"Hey Liz, relax. It was an accident," I said trying to sooth her. "What did you need?"
"Did you see them? Three gorgeous guys, although one of them is here with someone," she said with a dreamy look on her face.
"No I haven't seen them, but look at that blush!" I teased. "Too bad you have a boyfriend."
"Yeah," she responded looking truly upset by that fact. I just laughed at her and shook my head.
"Hey, can you do me a favor and watch my tables for a couple minutes while I take a quick break? I'll just be a minute or two," I asked before she could walk away. She nodded. I stopped at the bar to tell the bartender that I needed replacement drinks and then I quickly headed for the back door before I could get stopped by anyone.
I took a pack of cigarettes out of my apron and lit one up. I could feel the relief in my body as the nicotine hit my bloodstream. I only smoked at work. I wasn't sure why that was, but I just didn't crave them when I was at home.
"Don't you know that smoking will give you lung cancer?" I heard from someone standing in the shadows. I took several steps toward the person and picked up on his crimson eyes. My mouth spread into a wide smile.
He grinned at me and stepped out of the shadows. "Bella, dear. Seriously, you'll end up getting lung cancer. How have you been?" he asked in a teasing tone. I could see some concern in his eyes as he looked me over, but he covered it well.
"It would be a miracle if I lived long enough to get lung cancer," I joked in response to his first question. "I've been fine, Garrett," I said. I steadied myself from the swift stab of pain in my chest thinking of the last time we had met. "How have you been?" I asked to change the subject.
Garrett regarded me carefully before responding, "I've been fine, but you have not been taking care of yourself, Bella. You are far from fine. You look like you're in better shape than the last time I saw you, actually you're getting quite toned, but I can see you haven't been eating or sleeping."
I scowled at him. "I'm doing just fine. I'm still here aren't I?" I snapped angrily. "No thanks to you," I mumbled, forgetting for a moment the sensitivity of his hearing.
With that reminder, his face fell. I could see he was debating what to say next, so I quickly changed the subject.
"What are you doing here?" I inquired. "It's been a while." We'd met the previous year. He'd saved me from being assaulted in an alleyway late one night after work. We'd gotten to talking and I think he'd found me amusing. I'm the fucking vampire pet.
"I didn't know you worked here until I caught a hint of your scent inside. I'm in town visiting my friends that just bought a new house just outside the city," he said with a smile. "You'll like them."
I cocked my eyebrows at that. "You say that as though I'll be meeting them," I said, making it sound more like a question.
"Of course, Bella dear. We felt like getting out of the house, so we decided to catch up on the city's night life for a little while and I thought they'd enjoy meeting you. We'll have some drinks, do some dancing… too bad you don't have karaoke here." Garrett looked quite excited. I just shook my head at him.
"Have some drinks?" I said with a chuckle. "I don't think we serve anything here that will…uh…quench your thirst…unless…" I let my sentence trail off as I smiled sweetly at him.
Garrett looked almost mournful as he looked down at me, "Bella, dear…no." It was his turn to change the subject. "Your boss is about to come back here looking for you."
I jumped slightly when Garrett disappeared from my sight. I was no longer used to vampire speed.
The door opened behind me and Jimmy came out. "Bella, god damn it! We're getting slammed out there and you're taking a smoke break?"
"Yup," I responded flatly as I crushed the cigarette butt and pushed past him to go back inside.
"Bella, one of these days I'm going to be forced to let you go," Jimmy threatened.
"Probably." I didn't wait for his reaction but he didn't follow me. When I got back out to the bar, I looked around and we were most certainly not 'getting slammed'. It was actually a really slow night for a Saturday.
I brought a tray of beers to the table I'd been going to before my impromptu break and then started toward the table where I saw Garrett sitting. I was almost there when I saw who his friends were. I could feel the pain in my chest get worse, but I forced myself numb and apathetic again. Garrett's three friends all turned to look at me at the same time with pure shock on their faces. Finally one of them spoke.
Hope you enjoyed the first chapter. Please click on the little button below and let me know what you think. I love comments and suggestions and constructive criticism (just please be nice about it). Thanks for reading!