Id like to dedicate this chapter to Ciara - You showed me FF and fueled me to start one myself. Thank you. Its one of the greatest gifts I could ever be given.
Always The Same
He paced up and down in the hallway. Every so often he'd stop and stare at the white door in front of him, and then even less often he'd take hold of the doorknob and then drop his hand quickly to his side, shaking his head.
Again he stopped and stared at the doorway. Running his hand through his hair, he sighs defeated. Giving up he walks on down the hallway and into the room beside the white door. He opens and enters the room, and stares around.
Smirking, he closes the door behind him.
The date is January 13th 2001. I am 11 years of age and my father has come to visit me for a while. He lives in London and I rarely see him what with his busy lifestyle.
He's brought with him my new stepmother and two half-brothers.
"Mrs New Boobs and the twins" as my mother called them.
My step mum brought me some nice perfume, she seems nice and I stare at how tall she is. She is very beautiful, with long red hair and a green dress that just reaches her feet that I know would drown me.
My brothers are a different story. They don't like that my sister and I are older and can talk to father, so they try to get as much attention as possible. Usually by poking or pinching me and just generally being mean. I don't think I like them that much.
We're all going to a park for the day. I've been told it's a big park, with a lot of different coloured flowers and I can't wait to see them. When we arrive all I can see from the car window is green. I'm immediately disappointed, worried even, that I won't be seeing any colour. Then we get out of the car and I see the big dome in front of me.
It's made entirely out of glass and through the glass I can see colours all over it, like a rainbow was shining through it but never escaping.
I get so excited whilst I'm being helped with my coat on that I don't even bother mentioning I've been buttoned up incorrectly. As soon as father lets go off me, I grab hold of my sisters' hand, and I sprint over to the entrance to the colourful dome.
I can't believe my eyes when I go inside. Flowers of different colours everywhere. Pink and purples, blues and red, even a strangely orange coloured one whose name I couldn't pronounce of the information tab. My sister and I walk around just staring at the beauty of the dome and enjoy the sounds of the birds in the trees and the faint sound of a fountain somewhere in the background.
There's a big butterfly sanctuary in this dome and they flit around it as if completely at home. One lands on my nose, it tickles so I laugh and scare it.
This place is magical, and I never want to leave.
Of course, an hour later father calls us, in his large frightening voice, that its time to go eat and to hurry up. My sister runs to the car as I walk back reluctantly. Glancing back every so often as if to say goodbye countless times. Although I knew I would come back, nothing would stop me.
I climb in the car and fight for the window seat with my brother; I win and smugly smile as I look out the window towards the dome.
That's when I seen him for the first time, the Man with the green eyes.
Outside of the dome stood a young man, around seventeen looking, clearly waiting for someone to come to him. He's tapping his foot impatiently, but it doesn't look angry, it looks adorable.
I giggled as I saw him tap his foot again, and just has it had escaped my lips the boys head turned and stared straight at me through the car window.
I freeze like a rabbit in the headlights, as the full power of his green eyes bore into me. He continues to stare at my shocked face until something grabs his attention from inside the dome, slowly turning away from me.
I continue to stare at him whilst he walks back into the dome, back turned to me. Im completely shocked by the boy staring, I don't even realise we have started moving. The dome slowly creeping out of sight.
We stop to get a bite to eat at a cafe on the way home, my brothers were sat beside me and try to annoy me but I barely notice. I barely notice what I order or eat either. All I can think about is the boy with green eyes.
The date is January 13th, 2008. It's my 18th birthday. I'm out with friends at a nightclub. Ive been to this place before, but not legally. I've had a lot to drink.
I remember Chris buying a round of sambuca and Justin getting me three drinks at once for my birthday present but I don't even remember thanking them let alone acknowledging them. I'm out on the dance floor dancing with a few friends, a couple of them are in the bathroom arguing and two are out the front smoking.
I decide to go for a smoke as well, so I head back to the seats drunkenly to grab my coat. As the night air hits me so does the extent of the alcohol. I feel giddy.
Dragging on the cigarette does nothing for me, I still need a smoke. So I light up another. And then another. Until I start chain smoking – knowing tomorrow Il wake up and not be able to breathe or speak.
My friends are around me talking about a girl in the club they don't like. I ignore them, I'm usually the one that avoids those situations, and tonight no matter how drunk I am, is no exception. I just stand there, pretending to listen, dragging on my cigarette fruitlessly and staring into space.
There's an eruption of laughter. I assume at the girl inside when my friend nudges me and says, "Seriously Bella, you're getting checked out!"
I look up for the sake of it, I'm not really interested in the idiots from around this town and my mouth falls open.
There, standing across the road, staring just like the last time and every time I saw him, was the man with green eyes. I lower my eyes from him, feeling his stare, blushing profusely.
The girls around me starting whooping and calling for him to come over. I hesitate towards the door, blushing almost-impossibly more.
Despite being called by my friends, I sense no change in the group and look up to find him still standing in the same position, staring, but this time, he's smirking.
I smile awkwardly towards him, embarrassed to have friends like the ones I had and uncomfortable being stared at. Again. Excusing myself I toss my cigarette into the ashtray and head inside quickly. I go back to where we were sitting, sober now from shock and embarrassment, and grab my bag, needing my phone.
As I'm reaching inside, I find something I didn't place in my bag in my rush out the door this evening.
I know what's inside of it, so there was no need to open it, but I do anyway.
It's a card. The same card I receive every year now.
Happy Birthday Bella
The same message, the same card, every year since I was 12. At first I thought it was from my sister or a friend but they came, every year, on my birthday like clockwork. My sister denied it adamantly, and I didn't surround myself with friends long enough for this.
I put the card back into the envelope and place it back in the bag. Searching through it again, I find what I need, and with my phone in my hand I head to the bathroom.
I needed to speak to someone, someone who understood me.
The line rang four times until someone picked up.
"...hello?" a voice croaks down the line.
"Andrea, oh thank heavens your awake, I need to talk to you."
"Bella? Bella, its 2 AM, I have work in the morning...are you alright?"
"Yes, yes, I'm fine, I'm at that club in town with friends, I just..I needed to speak to you."
I realise I'd woken my sister for nothing, she knew about the cards and the man with green eyes. Immediately I feel stupid and guilty to have woken her.
"Bella?" she asks, I didn't realise how long silent Id gone for.
"Yes, I'm here, look sorry to wake you, I've had a few drinks, I'm sorry, go back to bed and Il call you in the morning, okay?"
"If you're sure, get home safe ok? And call me when you wake tomorrow, IF you wake"
She laughed roughly and then hung up.
I slip out of the bathroom quickly, just as two girls enter shouting at each other. I had to get out of here, I wasn't in the right state of mind and I desperately needed to be alone.
I grab my coat and bag and leave the club, sending a text to one of my friends saying I got called elsewhere and that I'd buy her a coffee tomorrow. I felt bad, it was my birthday and she'd went to such effort to arrange it all, but I just wasn't in the mood anymore.
As I stepped outside I looked around, finding no sign of the man. Sighing with relief I hailed the nearest taxi and got in. Heading home, in the back of the cab, I pulled out the card again to examine it more.
The cards were always the same on the cover as well as on the inside.
It was a plain white card, with a red rose printed on the front. No wording on the front, no manufacturing signature on the back. Just plain and the message inside.
Happy Birthday Bella
Always, always the same. Even the lettering, the style of writing hadn't faded or changed in anyway. I knew this from the past 6 years of staring at the writing.
I knew I'd recognise this writing anywhere.
Just then the taxi driver interrupted my train of thought by clearing his voice, alerting me Id reached my destination. Home.
I apologized, giving him an extra tip, and got out of the cab quickly. I walked up the stairs to my front door cautiously, I wasn't used to high heels just yet, and as confident Id been with a few drinks in me, I wasn't now.
Stepping inside, I kicked the shoes off at the door and turned the light on. Leaving my bag and keys by the door, I stepped into my dark living room. Taking my coat off and draping it over the sofa I sighed.
"Happy Birthday Bella indeed." I thought to myself.