She loved him. She loved him, but she had to leave him. The pain of it tore at her, she cried while she packed, she cried after leaving her place of work for the last time, and she could barely see through the tears as she got on the plane. She kept asking herself, how could this be right? How could this pain possibly lead to anything good? She knew it would, however. She just had to get through it, and the silver lining would be there, bright and sparkling like wet cement on a sunny day.
She first saw them on a Tuesday. She was walking through the streets of Port Angeles, on her way from the coffee shop she worked at to her apartment, and there they were, walking on the sidewalk. He was beautiful. He had messy bronze hair, stunning golden eyes and a jawline she wanted to lick. The short black-haired girl with him was equally as beautiful, seeming to dance as she walked, she was so graceful.
When she first saw them, she stumbled, awestruck by their beauty. They looked like movie-stars should look. Thankfully she managed to catch herself on the side of a building. She watched as he suddenly sent a sharp glance to the black-haired girl, before he looked around. After a short moment, his eyes settled on her. He looked... confused, maybe. She did not want to acknowledge the fascination that was at the forefront. The short girl was staring at her intently.
She took all this in in a second, before quickly looking away, and started to walk again.
She quickly reached her tiny apartment. Yes, it was in fact tiny, but she loved it, and she could afford it with the money her dad Charlie and working at the coffee shop gave her. There wasn't much decoration, but there was enough that it felt like home. Charlie had helped her with that, as well as her mom Renee. There was a queen sized bed, which doubled as a sofa with many pillows which she stacked up on the floor when she slept. There were enough lamps so that the place had a warm glow, and a soft rug on the floor. There was a small coffeetable by the bed, and a TV on the wall opposite. She had a small bathroom with a sink, shower and toilet and some cabinets, and a small kitchen, which was the only thing she had insisted on when she started looking for an apartment. It was her friend Angela who actually found the place, and Bella repaid her by baking brownies for her and her boyfriend Ben quite often.
All the textiles in the apartment were in warm earthy tones. She had some knick knacks and plants in the window sill, the window was on the wall between the bed and the TV. The kitchen was in a separate room, and it had just barely enough room for one person to cook in, but it did have room for a stove and a full-size refrigerator, so she was happy with it.
She was nineteen years old, living on her own after graduating high school, and in the fall she was going to Oxford. That was in just three months. She had a full scholarship, but she had decided she wasn't ready to leave her parents behind so entirely immediately after high school. So now she was in Port Angeles, getting ready to take that big trip to England. She had moved to Port Angeles the summer after high school, as a way of getting ready for the separation, but with a safety net in Charlie and her friends. Her mom called her often, though.
Bella had lived with her mom for most of her life, but when she was seventeen she moved to Forks, a small town close to Port Angeles, to live with Charlie. That was where she had met Angela and Ben, who made up most of her inner circle. That was also where she had met her ex-boyfriend, Mike. She hadn't wanted to date him at first, but he'd worn her down through sheer determination. He was nice enough, but she'd always felt there was something missing, and so they'd broken up when he left for college.
Her cell-phone rang as she was taking her jacket off. The cell-phone had been a gift from her mother, as Bella didn't have the money to pay for an internet connection, and they had usually emailed to keep in touch. These days Renee called or texted as often as she had previously emailed, which was quite often. And sure enough, when Bella looked at the display she saw her mother's name.
She pressed the talk button quickly. "Hi mom, what's up," she said.
"Hi honey," said Renee, "you are going to love this." She proceeded to tell Bella all about her latest harebrained scheme, involving a pottery class and a most likely misshapen cup, and Bella laughed softly into the phone.
"That's great mom, I can't wait to see it."
"So what's going on with you? How's work? Are there any cute boys yet? Did you get lots of tips today?"
"Work is okay, I got a medium amount of tips I would say, and there aren't any cute boys at work yet, but today I saw two people so beautiful I almost fell down. Now I know it doesn't take much for me to fall down, but still. They were movie-star gorgeous, I swear."
"People, huh? Were they boys? Did you talk to them?" Renee sounded intrigued.
"One of them was a boy, and no I did not talk to him, or his female friend. She was probably his girlfriend, it would make sense. Perfect match. It was kind of weird though, they were both staring at me." Her brow wrinkled slightly as she thought of it.
"Oh honey, I thought you almost fell down, you should have told me you actually did! Are you okay?" Renee sounded concerned, now. Bella was slightly insulted.
"I didn't! I may have ...stumbled, a little, but I didn't fall! I promise."
"Okay, honey, I believe you. Maybe they were staring because they saw you stumble, though. Or hey, maybe they thought you were cute! Do you look cute today? I bet you do. You did remember to take that little apron you have to wear to work didn't you? I know you forget sometimes."
Bella looked down, dreading what she knew she was going to see. Sure enough, there the black apron was, the logo of the coffee shop sitting merrily on her hip proclaiming "Jason's".
"Shit," she said quietly.
"Bella! Language! ...I guess you didn't take it off, huh?" Renee sounded mirthful.
"No," Bella said quietly.
"Well, at least you know why they were staring now," Renee said placatingly. Bella sighed. This was just so like her. She didn't know how many times she'd forgotten she was wearing her apron when she left work, but she knew it was often.
"I guess. I just got in the door mom, so I haven't had dinner yet. I should probably get on that. I'll talk to you later, okay?"
"Okay honey. I love you."
"Love you too, mom. Bye."
Bella hung up, then looked down at the apron and sighed again. She took it off and folded it before placing it on the coffeetable. She headed quickly for the kitchen, deciding she felt like pasta. It was easy, and tasty. She'd make a cheese-sauce to go with it. She made it quickly, without thinking much about it, before going to sit down on the bed and watch some TV while she ate.
The next day was much the same as usual. She got up early and took a shower before eating breakfast and then she walked to work. Jason, the owner, was there, as he usually was in the morning, as he didn't trust anyone else with the keys to the place. He would be there in the evening too, to lock up, but he usually let the staff have free reign during the day. He didn't mind if they told anyone off, as long as they got the customers their orders in a proper and timely fashion. As far as he was concerned, getting a dress-down from a waiter or waitress was a part of the charm of small coffee shops like his. He credited his continuing success to the fact that he actually had a wait-staff as opposed to just baristas. Of course, everyone who worked there knew how to work the coffee machine, they just waited tables also.
Bella had a reasonably uneventful day, chatting with the regulars and for the most part acting respectful towards the newcomers. The only exception was when some fool in a suit snapped his fingers at her from across the room. This happened every so often, but it never failed to make the wait-staff absolutely furious.
She stomped over to him and waited for him to look at her.
"Yeah," he said, "I'll have a-"
"Do I look like a fucking dog to you," she asked him peevishly, interrupting him before he could order. He looked at her in shock, but the shock quickly turned to anger.
"You can't talk to me like that! Get your manager, now!" He looked a bit smug, probably anticipating watching her get reprimanded, and who knows, he might have expected his order to be on the house as well.
"Hey, Marsha," Bella called. The regulars looked on in amusement.
Marsha, a sweet redhead with curly hair quickly made her way over. "What's up," she asked Bella, twirling a lock of hair around her finger.
"This asshole just snapped his fucking finger at me," Bella told her.
"Oh fuck! I hate it when they do that. Did you give him what-for?" Marsha clenched her fingers into fists.
"I was just about to when he asked to see you."
Marsha turned to Mr. asshole in a suit with one eyebrow raised expectantly.
He spluttered. "You can't talk to me like that," he exclaimed, sounding more like a broken record by the minute.
"I think you'll find we don't take kindly to being treated like misbehaving dogs," Marsha told him coolly.
"I'll take my business elsewhere! The customer is always right," he said.
"In this case I think you'll find the customer doesn't have a leg to stand on," Marsha told him.
"And as for taking your business elsewhere," Bella added, "please do."
He sat there for a moment, and then seemed to deflate. "I'll have an espresso," he said meekly.
"Coming right up," Bella told him cheerily. Marsha quickly went back to the other end of the room, and Bella made him his espresso and brought it to him in a timely manner.
Other than that little incident, the day had been quite boring really. Working at Jason's had made Bella grow a backbone and some coarse language pretty quickly. She'd always been a shy, quiet girl, but that shit simply didn't fly at Jason's. Renee had called her rude wake-up call 'blossoming'. Charlie just quietly disapproved. But he would always love her no matter what.
When she got home she had some left-over pasta. She always made too much for one person, so she never had to cook more often than every couple of days, which she wasn't too pleased about as she loved cooking. But she didn't mind eating left-overs, and she would never throw out perfectly good food, so she dealt with it.
Thursday passed even more quietly than Wednesday. Everyone was courteous towards her, and when she got home she had more left-overs. Friday, however, was a bit different. At around noon, the two beautiful people she had seen on Tuesday walked into the coffee shop and sat down at a table close to the counter, which was mostly used for take away orders.
Bella quickly made her way over to them, as she was closest. "What can I get ya," she asked them, wishing she had some gum to chew to really complete the image.
They both looked up at her and smiled. "Two coffees, black," the girl said.
"Small, medium or large," Bella asked, smiling back at them.
They exchanged a baffled look, as if she had just asked them the current worth of yen to the dollar. Bella's smile faltered. "Uhm, small," the girl seemed to almost ask her.
"Sure thing," Bella told her, looking at her quizzically. "I'll bring them right over." She started to walk away, but the girl quickly called her back.
"Wait," she said, "what's your name?" She looked at Bella like the answer would solve world hunger.
"Bella," she told her cautiously. "What's yours?"
"Oh, I'm Alice, and this is my brother Edward." They both smiled at her again, and again she smiled back, a bit warily this time.
"So, Bella," Edward said, still smiling at her, "have you worked here for long?"
"Nine months," she told him.
"And where are you from," asked Alice.
"Uh, Forks most recently, but before that I lived in Phoenix." Bella was a bit curious as to what they wanted, but decide they were probably just curious people who were not as interested in coffee as walking into a coffee-shop would imply. Perhaps they preferred tea, she mused, but thought it was a sissy thing to drink.
"Really? We live in Forks. Well, actually just outside it, but we go to school there," Alice said.
"Oh? Are you skipping?" Perhaps that was the wrong thing to ask. Edward was now giving Alice a mean look, while Alice looked down at the table. "I mean, are you new? I don't remember seeing you there before," Bella quickly amended, hoping to stop the awkwardness.
"Yes, we just moved there from Alaska last summer," Edward told her.
"Oh cool. Well, I should go get your coffee," Bella said, giving them another smile. Alice quickly looked up at her.
"We'll see you soon then," she said, smiling.
"Uh, yeah. I'll be right back." Bella quickly backed away and then turned and headed for the coffee machine. She made their coffee quickly, wondering a bit at Alice and Edward's forwardness. Sure, she chatted with her regulars, but usually that was about the weather or the current coffee of the day or something. At least in the first conversation. But then, none of their questions were all that odd, really. It was just the context that threw her.
She quickly made her way back to the table with the coffee, and set the cups down in front of them. She noticed they both grabbed their cup, but neither drank. Definitely tea drinkers, she thought to herself. She was just about to leave again when Alice once again stopped her.
"Wait!" When Bella turned around Alice smiled a little smile at her, looking embarrassed. "How old are you, Bella," she asked.
"I'm nineteen," Bella told her, looking at her, and then at Edward, and then back at Alice again.
"And what was your GPA," Edward asked Bella. Bella raised an eyebrow at him, and Alice smacked his hand. "That doesn't matter," she hissed at him.
"And I wouldn't tell you even if your sister did think it mattered," Bella told him. "That's none of your business."
Alice glared at Edward, and he looked ...awkward. "Of course, I apologize if I offended you. I was just curious as to why you were not attending college," he said, clearly fishing.
"Okay," Bella said, nodding, not giving in.
"College isn't your thing, huh," Alice asked, looking sympathetic.
"I am going to go to college actually, just not right now." Bella smiled at Alice in a friendly manner.
"Oh," said Alice, "okay. Where would you like to go?"
"I'm going to Oxford, actually. In the fall."
Alice's face fell. "You're leaving?"
"Um, yeah, in about three months," Bella told her, slightly uncomfortable.
"That's not nearly enough time," Alice mumbled, seemingly to herself. Edward quickly cut in.
"But Oxford is a really good school. You must be a good student," he said, smiling at Bella. Alice suddenly jumped for no obvious reason, and then glared at her brother.
"I guess, yeah. I've always liked reading, so I guess that helped. And Oxford is a dream come true for me," Bella said, smiling dreamily.
"Did you get a scholarship," Alice asked her, seeming a bit more up-beat now.
"Full scholarship, yeah. I could never afford it otherwise, so I'm really grateful," Bella told her.
"That's great! You must be really smart," Alice exclaimed.
"I wouldn't say that," Bella mumbled, looking down. "Anyway, I should get back to work."
"Okay," Alice chimed, her voice sounding like bells. "See you!"
"See ya," Bella told her, and turned to go deal with another customer. Alice and Edward stayed for another five minutes, and then left. When she cleaned up their table she saw that their coffee hadn't been touched. Poor self-conscious tea lovers, she thought to herself.