Rating/Warning(s)/Note(s): T, Homeless Bella
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: Moment
Dialogue Flex: "Stop it," she snapped.

The obituary turned out to be for a Charles Swan, the apparent chief of police for the small town of Forks, Washington. He had been shot while on duty and was survived by his daughter, Bella Swan, of Jacksonville, Florida. I had no idea why Marie would have this, but I knew people with mental conditions didn't always have reasons for the things they did. She obviously was paranoid and had perhaps concocted the idea that whoever had killed this chief might come after her, even if they were a continent away. How she managed to get his badge was beyond me, however. Then again, you can get the strangest things on eBay and Craig's List.

I had promised her food and put the things down to see what I could scrounge up. Neither Tanya nor I cooked, so it would have to be left-over take-out. I could hear Tanya still on the phone with my sister, laughing about me, as usual. I just shook my head when I heard Tanya insist that I must prefer brunettes since I hadn't taken a liking to her or Rosalie. "Perhaps it's incest, Alice. You're brother secretly loves you, so he does not like pretty blondes."

"You know that's not true, Tanya," I heard my sister laugh. "Maybe what he really has a thing for is innocents. You said she looked like a frightened fawn."

I walked over to where Tanya was sitting, doodling on a notepad what seemed to be sketches of Marie in different outfits. "If you two are just going to talk about me, I'm going to hang up the phone on you," I laughed, making as if I was going to depress the hook to disconnect them.

"He is isolating me now, Alice," Tanya sighed. "He does not want me, but keeps me from all others, locked in apartment tower like Rapuzelli."

I heard giggling from the hallway and turned to see a clean Marie, my old clothes hanging off her and making me wonder how they stayed on, with a delighted smile on her face. I couldn't help but smile back at the lightness I saw in her eyes. "Is she laughing at me?" Tanya asked, mirth in her voice. "See, Alice," she whined to my sister who was still on the phone, "he even turns his strays against me."

I could see Marie's cheeks coloring with a beautiful blush that made her appear like an emaciated porcelain doll. Her complexion was like rose milk, clear and delightful and I was taken aback by how my body responded to her. I felt like I immediately wanted to go and wrap my arms about her and comfort her in some fashion. Why she needed comforting was something I didn't understand.

"I'm sorry," she murmured. "I didn't intend to laugh at you. It's just the name is Rapunzel and I thought that since it was a German based story Tanya would know the correct name." I was again surprised at this girl. How did someone as pretty, intelligent, and apparently well-educated as she was become homeless and down-trodden? I knew mental illness affected all facets of society, but she had been genuinely scared of being found by somebody.

"I am Russian, not German, so it seems your education does not extend to accents," Tanya said with a smile and a wink, showing she wasn't offended by the mistake. "Alice, love, I hang up phone now. I have another pretty girl to speak to. Your brother give her his old clothes and she look lost in them. Please to hurry with new vuns."

"I already sent someone with them. They're last year's inventory and I just wrote them off as gifts to the homeless," she called into the phone and I could tell from her tone that she was already shifting her focus back to her work. A timid 'Thank you' was heard from Marie and I could picture my sister's reaction already. She didn't disappoint. "They were going to the single mother's shelter anyway so please think nothing of it." I could hear the handset being picked up on her end, the echoing sound of the speaker phone disappearing. "I've got to run to a meeting. Let me know if they don't fit or need adjusting. Marie, don't think a thing about asking. We do that for the single mother's shelter as well. It helps those girls find jobs if they look nice." She let out a sigh. "I'm off loved ones!"

We called our goodbyes just as a knock was heard on the door. Tanya danced over to get it while I watched Marie. When she saw the door was going to be opened she stepped back into the hallway, hiding from whatever stranger happened to be coming in. I didn't want to cater to her delusions and so reached out for her hand to pull her from where she hid. "Marie, it's just Demetri, Tanya's friend and coworker. You're perfectly safe," I said as I tugged on her.

"Stop it," she snapped, pulling back further; her eyes growing wide when she heard the name. "Please, I can't risk it. I shouldn't have come here, I just felt safe with you for some reason. Please don't make me meet him," she pleaded and I found I couldn't deny her this. Her fear was so evident and I knew Alice's husband, Jasper, who was just finishing up his MD/PhD in psychology, would tell me to take baby steps with her.

"I'm sorry, I shouldn't try to force you," I said trying to placate her. Tears were already beginning to form in her eyes and I knew I had pushed her too far. "I'll just bring the clothes back here to you, all right?" I asked and sighed when she gave a small nod. I could see Tanya going through the assortment that was sent and picking out what she thought would work. Wanting to give Marie a moment to calm down I went to play my role as servant boy. I had no doubt that between what Alice sent and Tanya selected, Marie would look stunning.

While Tanya sent Demetri on to the shelter with the rest I carried the huge pile she had selected to where Marie was still cowering in the hallway. I couldn't stop from shaking my head at her and wondering how I could get her over this apparent paranoia, but I knew force wouldn't work. "Follow me," I said as I passed her and continued on to the third bedroom in the apartment. Both Tanya and I used it primarily as an office, but there was a bed and dresser in there for whenever we had guests stay over. It would be a place for her to change and not feel like she was intruding.

As I set the clothes down I heard Marie's stomach rumbling. I spun around, chagrined. I had been worried about getting her clean and clothed for my own sensibilities, when all along what she probably needed most was food. "I'm sorry. I'm afraid we only have leftover take-out in the fridge. Would you like me to heat that up for you?"

Ah, Edward, it just doesn't occur to you that one who is delusional is you, now does it?

Sorry to be so late in posting lovelies, getshorty and I are working to turn Taking Liberties into a full-length original story, so I spent my morning on that. Please be aware that this behemoth of a story will not have another chapter added to it. Instead, I'll be creating fictionista witfit 2 to continue on with. Please put me on alert if you want to know how the stories end up.

Happy Saturday all! I hope your weather is warmer than mine.