a few related prompts from my december witfit entries.
Edward bustled around the kitchen haphazardly, narrowly avoiding bumping into the small stack of glasses left on the counter from the night before. The kitchen looked like a scene from a bad movie about single fathers and their slovenly, bumbling housekeeping. Dishes were stacked in random piles and the refrigerator door hung open still, though he swore he had shut it.
His daughter sat at the kitchen table, studiously finishing her homework assignments and ignoring her father's mumbling. Second grade math was, after all, very difficult… She was used to the way her father ran about the kitchen two nights a week as he tried to make her dinner. Tonight the menu included French fries and dino-nuggets, because he knew it was her favorite.
"Dad," she said, giggling at the large grease stain now firmly settled into his white dress shirt, "you're gonna burn the house down if you don't slow down."
He glanced over to her, once again struck by just how much she looked and acted like her mother. Her hair fell in a straight sheet down her back as she sat amidst a pile of books. She had his eyes, but her mother's nose. Altogether, she was a startling combination of them both, so heartbreakingly beautiful that it hurt sometimes to look at her. He'd met her mother in the library while in college, where she'd been surrounded by towering stacks of books and papers. She was the prettiest thing he had ever seen.
He missed her mother.
Edward had never gotten over his ex-wife—the divorce papers that had been served to him while he sat in the office of his small town general practice had been a surprise, gutting him completely. He was sure that after the hellish years of med school, endless studying and intern rotations that once they had settled into the life of a small town doctor and his spouse, they would be okay.
Obviously, he had been mistaken.
She seemed happy the first few years of his practice, settling into the tiny community with ease and grace. Her smile, wide and infectious, always his favorite feature of hers, paved the way to the inhabitant's hearts and trust of the young doctor. When she'd gotten pregnant, gift baskets and well wishes flowed like wine.
The practice had taken its toll on their marriage, though. House calls to the elderly or rural came more often than he had anticipated, taking him away from his family. She had grown bored, feeling as if she and his daughter were the last thing on his mind. She'd been so removed, cold, so unlike herself when he'd gone home that night and demanded to know what was going on.
"I'm sorry, Edward," she whispered, looking up to him with tear filled eyes. "I tried, I did. I just… I feel so alone, all the time. I can't live this way. I won't allow my baby to grow up this way."
"Daaaaad," she whined, breaking into his thoughts. "Something's burning."
With a low oath he turned to the stove, noticing the beginnings of smoke that poured out of it. "Sweetheart, go in the living room," he warned, grabbing a towel off of the counter and heading toward the disaster.
Batting away the thick, black smoke when he opened the door, he waited for it to clear before bending in and grabbing the charred remains of dinner out with the towel. He tossed it in the sink and turned the water on. The sizzle of cool water meeting hot metal crackled through the air just as the loud buzzing noise of his fire alarm began to sound.
His shoulders drooped, head hanging down to peer at his feet as he groaned. This was the third time in as many weeks that he had ruined dinner. He wasn't a very good cook; his wi—ex-wifehad always taken care of that responsibility.
Dejected, he turned back to the stove, flipping the dials to 'off' before removing the fries from the grease, too. Once everything was disposed of, he grabbed a broom and made his way down the hall to the fire alarm that was still bleating annoyingly. With a few quick jabs of the broom, silence once more settled over the small two bedroom house that was now home.
He missed his house.
"Sweetie," he called out, heading back toward the living room. "Do you want to go get dinner? We can have whatever you want."
"Sure dad," she smiled up at him, a ray of sunshine amidst his gloom. "Can we have McDonalds?"
It was at least an hour drive to the nearest town that housed Ronald and his cohorts, but Edward shrugged and smiled down at his little girl. "That sounds good. Let me… change first," he grimaced down at his now sooty and greasy shirt.
He passed the spare bedroom, done in an array of girly pinks and purples, Barbie dolls laying in a heap on the floor and made his way to his sparsely furnished room. Save for the care he had put into his daughter's room, the entire house was cold, unfriendly... Lacking. Just like him.
He missed his life.
The phone rang as he was in his room buttoning up his shirt, and he called out for the little girl to answer it. As he reentered the living room, Renesmee held the phone out to him. "Dad, it's mom."
"Bella," he breathed, voice shaky as it always was when he spoke to her now. "Hello."
Bella paced the overly large family room feeling alone and anxious. She didn't like being in the large house by herself, and missed the simple comforts her daughter's presence provided. She was all laughter and endless questions, possessing an energetic sprit to fill the empty void left in her heart. These were the things she yearned for every other weekend, and life wasn't right until Sunday night rolled around.
She'd only ever wanted a simple life. To be a mother and a wife, to care for her home and her family. To be loved and love in return. Her parents had it once, though it hadn't worked out for them. She thought she could do better, could prove her mother's cynicism about marriage wrong.
What was once a girlish fantasy of hers had been set into play her sophomore year of college. One night, as she sat researching a paper in the library, an obscenely handsome boy had stumbled across her. All brazen confidence and angular features, he'd stolen her breath. Without even an invitation, he'd plopped his books down, and sprawling his long legs out had grabbed a seat next to her.
Jokes and sly glances led to the exchange of phone numbers that night, phone calls and more library meetings to 'study' over the coming weeks leading to their first date. Bella, having led a somewhat quiet existence until then, was unprepared for his wooing ways and fed head-over-heels almost instantly.
Always more content to watch from the sidelines rather than be an active participant in any given social scene, the college experience for her had been somewhat…lacking until she met Edward. A medical student, heavy into fraternity life and well known around campus, he was the antithesis to her bookwormish persona.
Slowly, she learned to come out of her shell. Thrown into the mix of parties and tailgating, she'd found herself enjoying the life he offered. Though she had never really seemed to fit in, she had tried her best to blend into the scene. The girls were fa more shallow than she, but Edward and his constant, unyeilding love made it all seem worth it.
Throughout the endless tests and studying, she'd stayed by his side, offering freely her attention when he needed a break. More than once he'd snuck into her dorm room after she'd gone to sleep, exhausted and past struggling to wait up for his call, to surprise her with late night take-out and kisses that led to more. Intern rotations had been hard on them. She rarely saw him, and when she did he was so tired that it seemed a chore for him to want much more than a hot meal and a soft bed.
She'd missed him.
Finally, it was over. He got an offer in the small town he'd grown up in, and they'd moved from Washington to just outside of Chicago. A small ceremony when they arrived, planned by his mother and sister, had started them as husband and wife. Only Charlie and Renee had sat on her side for it, the rest of her friends across the country and working on starting their own lives.
All of her friends, her family… they'd all been left behind so that Bella and Edward could go where he was needed. His family was nice, but stuffy. Often, Bella felt as if she didn't measure up to their eyes. Not pretty enough, nor smart. Her parent's decidedly middle class lifestyle, and her subsequent upbringing, were a world apart from the champagne and jazz of this new life.
She found herself missing home more and more.
Missing Charlie and Renee, her parents, who were on opposite sides of the country now. Missing her beastly old truck (which had been given a proper junkyard burial) while simultaneously hating the new SUV that Edward had insisted on purchasing for her. Missing quiet days spent inside cuddled on the couch in place of the socializing and schmoozing that was now expected of her. Add to that the long hours he once again had to put in, and they were back to the hellish years she had thought were long behind them.
Try as she might, she was never happyhere. Even a beautiful daughter couldn't fix the chasm that had been created. There was always something more important than his small family. A patient who needed tending or files that had to be completed. Rounds of golf with the other doctors. Fancy holiday parties hosted at his parents palatial estate. At her wits end, she'd done the last thing she had ever wanted, but what felt as if it was the only thing she could.
Now another statistic, she had joined the ranks of her parents. Alone and bitter, she spent her days keeping up a home that was too large for just the two souls who lived there. She needed to find something to do with her life, some goal that could be achieved.
With a sigh, she turned to the window. Placing her palm on the chilly pane, she watched as the heat seeped out of her to fog the glass—leaching her warmth until she was left just as cold. The snow heaped the lawn in huge drifts, sparkling white and blinding. Here, in the afterglow of a once happy life, she waited for his car. For the only happiness she still had left. For her daughter's return.
Bella sat in her daughter's bathroom, knees resting against the plush pink mat near the tub. Renesmee splashed happily in thebathtub, drawing pictures of trees and houses on the tiled wall with her bath crayons.
"Whatcha drawing there, sweetie?"
"Our house," the little girl giggled, rolling her eyes at her mother's question in a move so like her father.
Bella sat back on her heels, a little puff of pent up air escaping her mouth in a strangled sound. Anytime Renesmee did something that was eerily reminiscent of her father, Bella felt the pain of failure. Fresh and uncomfortable, it felt like knives being shoved under her fingernails.
Listening with half a mind, Bella laughed at the appropriate spots as Renessmee told her how show and tell had gone that day. Tales of recess games and boys making fun of Barbie dolls while they played with their GI Joe's (and wasn't that the same thing) filled the room. But Bella couldn't really concentrate.
She continued to sit with her daughter, needing to be near her. The weekends her daughter was at her father's were the hardest on Bella, and she was unashamedly clingy once the little girl was back. It was an understatement to say she moped around the house every other weekend, and on Wednesday nights. She'd not gotten used to being alone, though.
As her pity party continued to dance a reel in her head, Bella let her thoughts wander to her almost-ex-husband. He'd looked beaten down when he had dropped off their daughter the other night, something that bothered Bella immensely. His eyes had looked so tired, the grim set of his mouth an instant tell to his thoughts. She'd always been able to read Edward, and what she saw made her heart twist.
"You look like Daddy," her daughter's soft, sad voice broke into her thoughts.
"I do?" the observation caught her off guard. "How so?"
"He's always sad. I don't like it. You are too. sometimes."
"We're not sad, sweetie," Bella rushed to cover up her expression with a wan smile. "It's just mommy and daddy stuff, we'll be okay soon."
Renesmee lifted one bubble covered shoulder and shrugged once before turning back to her picture. As Bella watched, the picture grew to include a pond that was in front of the house, and stick figures of a small family. It broke her heart to see her daughter's obvious yearning for a normal life. One that was gone by Bella's own hand.
Hating that she was unable to hide her unhappiness from her daughter, Bella wet a washcloth and began to smooth it over her daughter's shoulders.
She wished it had turned out differently. That instead of moving to this place, where Bella felt so alone, that they had stayed near Seattle. Edward had been so excited about the job offer though, and being near his family once again that there was no second thought put into how the move would affect Bella.
Not wanting to be selfish and genuinely happy for him, she'd packed her life into the back of a U-Haul truck and had set out on a cross country road trip filled with giant balls of string and lots of laughter. She missed those days the most.
Renesmee rubbed her ear, pushing some of the bubbles out and announced she was ready to get out of the tub.
"Look mommy," she sang, holding up her hands. "I'm a prune."
Bella laughed, her first of the evening, as she began to gather water into a cup to wash the bubbles from her daughter's head. As she watched her daughter rinse her hair free of shampoo she grabbed the washcloth with her other hand and began to scrub the tile clean of what could never be.
Edward straightened his desk for the tenth time in as many minutes. Shuffling loose papers back into their proper files, brushing dust off of untouched sections, tossing pens and prescription pads into his desk drawer. EH glanced at the clock, and registering the time started for the reception area.
As he closed the door behind him and glanced down to kick the cuff of his slacks away from the back of his shoe, a sudden force stumbled into him. A loud oof left his lungs and he unthinkingly put his hands out to catch the brick wall that had run into him.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry," a voice that was instantly recognizable muttered. His hands flexed against soft, womanly hips and for just a second acted of their own volition and pulled Bella closer.
"It's fine," he whispered, glancing down into the harried eyes of his wi—Ex wife and taking a step back.
"She's sick," Bella whispered, nodding at the sleeping bundle in her arms. She staggered a bit, ever-unsteady on her feet and probably more so with the added weight of an eight year old in her arms. "She had a cough yesterday, but when she woke up this morning she had a really high temperature and she said her stomach hurt. She can't keep anything down…"
"Here, let me take her. She's getting so big…"
Bella smiled slightly at him before passing their daughter off to his larger, more steady and sure arms. She followed him into the exam room and shut the door quietly behind her as he laid Renesmee on the exam bench.
Watching with pride, she observed his instant slip into 'doctor-mode' as he looked over their sick daughter for a way to make her feel better. Edward was a great doctor, she couldn't fault him that, and she had always gotten a funny fluttering in her stomach when he assumed his role of healer and care giver. He'd worked hard during school, and was immensely good at his job.
As Edward checked Renesmee's ears and blood pressure, he stole glances at Bella, noting how distraught and anxious she was. Her fingers twisted around themselves worriedly, foot tapping in a rapid beat.
"She'll be okay, ba—Bella," he assured her, hurriedly correcting his almost slip. He couldn't help it though, as he couldn't help his hands earlier finding purchase on her hips. He glanced back down and tried to wake his napping daughter. "Ness, honey. Wake up, it's Daddy."
A groan from the corner of the room told him Bella still didn't like their daughter's nickname.
"Daddy," the little girl croaked, "I hurt."
"Where do you hurt? Daddy will fix it."
"My throat and my belly. And my head, too."
Stifling a laugh, her pitiful little voice at once alarming and absolutely endearing, he got her to open her mouth and checked her tonsils and tongue. "What part of your head?"
Gesturing to her temple and down around her ears, Renesmee lay back before falling promptly asleep again. Edward removed his lab jacket and laid it over her before turning back to Bella.
"Ear infection," he gave his prognosis before heading to sit down at the table in the room. "It's been so windy lately, and she hates to wear a hat."
"Yeah, doesn't want to mess up her hair," Bella laughed tiredly, relieved that it was nothing… worse.
'That's probably Alice's doing," Edward groaned, running a hand over his face tiredly and then through his hair. "She's turning her into a little diva."
"She's a little girl," Bella returned. "They like pretty things."
"You were never like that."
Edward watched as Bella's face flushed pink, a trait he'd found charming and sweet from the very first day in the library. His hand twitched, wanting to curve around her cheek and touch the warmth, but he tamped it back by sitting on his fingers. He wasn't allowed to do that anymore.
"I was sometimes," she finally said, glancing up to meet his gaze before shifting her eyes to their sleeping daughter. "Anyway. What do we need to do, Doc?"
"I'll write you a script, and give you some instructions. If it gets worse though, I want you to call me."
Bella waited while he filled out the little notepad in his neat scrawl, silently betting that the pharmacy around here liked this doctor's handwriting. When he handed her the paper, she tried in vain to ignore the thrill that shot up her arm when their fingers met.
I never did come back to this. Heartache isn't really my favorite thing to write about. And there are people put there that can do it a hell of a lot better than I can, so...
Thanks for reading though.