A/N: Holy shit! So, before I say anything else, I am amazed at how many alerts I got in the FIRST NIGHT! I have NEVER had a story this popular! I am humbled to know how many of you are enjoying my story! Thank you, thank you, thank you.
At first I was a little apprehensive about posting this kind of story so publicly. Usually, I just keep these types of things to myself, saved away on my hard drive only for me to read.
I have to admit though, I'm so glad I posted it so that others could read it. I don't regret it.
Apparently lots of you like Dickward. Yay for Dickward!
Anyway, I just wanted to say that I am absolutely appalled, amazed, GLAD how many people alerted this.
So, last chapter was really just a little intro to the story. I really wasn't expecting it to be so long. I hope I can live up to last chapter's length, and your guys' expectations…
Soo… I'm going to stop rambling now and start writing, so that you guys can read, and go ahead and leave those amazing reviews you all know you want to leave.
Tell your friends about this story! Bring 'em all over!
- - -
Delicious: highly pleasing to the senses.
- - -
"Jesus, is my hand ever cramped," Alice complained from the corner of the back room. She donned her coat, slinging her purse over her shoulder. Then she turned to look at me. "You're lucky you didn't have to do any tattoos today. I tell you…" she said, trailing off. She rolled her eyes and then started toward the curtain partition.
I giggled, zipping my own coat. I grabbed my back pack—which I much rather preferred than a purse—and followed Alice into the lobby.
"Bye, James!" she called toward the reception desk, "bye, Angela."
The both of them looked up from the computer screen they were working over. Angela smiled.
"See ya," James called, glancing between Alice and I. He returned his attention to the computer screen.
"See you tomorrow," Angela called to Alice, "Bye, Bella. See you again, nice meeting you." She smiled kindly before tuning into something James was rambling about.
I really was surprised at how many people had been so understanding and nice to me on my first day. Minus Edward—he'd been kinda tense, but Alice had just told me he'd been having a bad day.
Customers had smiled at me, and Alice had found the time to help me many a time throughout the day, though I was sure she was busy with her own things. I felt guilty about prying her away from her work, and attempted to figure things out on my own.
James had kept me in the back the whole day, filling out paper work, and to practice on my designs. Truthfully, I spent most of the time reading my tattered copy of Romeo and Juliet. I was more of an inverted kind of person. I didn't like people that much. I had always been that way, maybe even more so when I turned seventeen.
I'd read it too many times to count, but I still couldn't put it down. Tragic love stories had always been sort of a clincher for me—a hook and sinker, if you will.
Maybe because it was the story of my life.
Alice pushed open the front door, triggering the clinging of the bell overhead, and we stepped outside.
Rain hammered against the black awning of the tattoo parlour, and I squinted through the gloom, unhappy. I pulled my hood over my hair, tucking it behind my ears so there was minimal wetness, and, after calling goodbye to Alice when she headed to the other side of the parking lot, dodging rain drops, darted to my own, run down truck.
Already, almost an inch of rain had gathered in the bed, and I sighed, climbing into the cab, tossing my bag on the passenger side of the bench.
I started the ignition up and blasted the heat, shaking my hair out of my hood to warm it up—somehow still managing to get wet even though it had been shielded.
While waiting for the truck to warm up, I turned on the stereo. Hey, Soul Sister by Train was playing, and I found myself humming along with the singer as I backed out of my spot, carefully and lined up at the gaping mouth of the parking lot behind Alice's amazingly ostentatious yellow Porsche.
How on Earth did she afford something like that? I mean, she worked at a tattoo parlour for God's sake! I filled my own truck—which I got for free as a homecoming present from my dad when I was seventeen, by the way—five dollars at a time. Alice waved giddily at me in her rear view mirror, and I chuckled, waving back. Then she hung a right, I hung a left, and she was gone.
The torrential downpour beat heavily on the roof of my truck, and I drummed my fingers against the steering wheel as I waited for several red lights to change.
It might just have been my imagination, but I could have sworn that I hit every red stop light on my way to the grocery store.
After gathering the ingredients to the dinner I planned to make that night, I headed home.
Earlier in the summer, when I'd moved from the small town of Forks, down to Seattle, I'd rented a condominium with a nice girl around my age on the West side of the city. It was made of break, and wasn't a very good heat holder, so I kept a space heater in my room at night.
My roommate kept to herself mostly, and kept her part of things pretty organized. We got along well. I cooked, she cleaned—apart from my bedroom and bathroom—and once in awhile we watched TV together.
She was busy planning her wedding, which was two months away, so she was out and about a lot of the time nowadays, but it didn't really bother me that much anymore. I had found an exciting job—which had been my goal in Seattle—so I kept myself occupied now.
I drove down the familiar road to the condominium and when I pulled into the driveway, I found it to be empty. She was probably still out and about.
The rain had escalated to needle-point-like force, nearly piercing the pavement below with its pushiness. After I'd removed the keys from the ignition, I grabbed my back pack and groceries, flipping my hood up again, and darted out through the rain, and up the slippery porch steps.
Surprisingly, I didn't slip. These new converse were like a God given gift. After unlocking the front door, I slipped inside, dropping my bag on the floor. I moved through the small main floor of the condo, flipping on lights as I went, my shoes squelching against the floor.
I set the two bags of groceries on the granite island in the kitchen, sighing, finally home. This was probably my favourite house in the whole condo. Granite countertops, state of the art appliances—what wasn't to love?
I unzipped my coat, shrugged it off and slipped my feet out of my sneakers, moving to unpack the groceries. I shoved the plastic bags into a drawer where we kept our bags, pulled out a pot and filled it with water after setting the chicken and a cutting board aside.
I sprinkled a bit of salt into the water, washed my hands, and cut the chicken into cubes.
When the water had boiled, I dumped a few handfuls of fettuccini noodles into the bubbling water, and set the timer for nine minutes.
As I was melting butter in a pan, the phone began to ring. While stirring the butter around in the pan, I reached for the phone, pressed 'talk' and brought it to my ear.
"Bella?" my roommate asked, nearly having to shout over the background noise.
"Rose?" I called into the phone, "where are you?"
"Um," I heard her heels click on the floor and the background noise recede. A door slammed, "we're at King County, trying to get our marriage licence, but it's really busy."
I could basically hear her pouting over the phone lines. "We got our cake ordered today, though. And we've been running around all day trying to choose our decorations, and there was a crisis with the flowers..." she cut herself off, and took a deep breath. "What are you making for dinner?" she finally inquired.
"Chicken Alfredo. Is Emmett coming over?"
She hesitated. "Probably," she finally admitted, "he's starving."
I nodded, glancing at the boiling pot of pasta. "Kay. What time do you think you'll me home?" I asked as I rested the fork to the edge of the pan and dropped another handful of pasta into the pot.
"Six thirtyish?" she guessed.
"Okay, see you then."
"Yep. Bye, Bella." She hung up, and I set the phone on the counter beside me, swirling the butter around in the pan a few more times. I tossed the chicken in to sauté it.
I flicked on the TV, changing it to the news while I whipped up a quick side salad, meticulous about the ingredients. Rose was trying to stay thin for her wedding day.
I, on the other hand, believed she could have eaten that whole pot of Alfredo and not gain one ounce. Her metabolism was like quick fire.
I set the salad aside, and turned my attention to the beeping timer. After I'd drained the water from the pasta, I set it back on the burner.
I was combining the cheeses and creams in a sauce pan when the front door opened.
"Jesus Christ," Rose called from the entry way. "It's pouring out there."
"Welcome home," I called, glancing out the window. It really was raining hard.
A few moments later, Rose and Emmett stumbled into the kitchen—soaked.
I couldn't hold back the laughter that burst through my lips. "What did you guys do? Walk home?"
Rose glared, shaking her head. She walked past me to pop a stray noodle, which was hanging from the edge of the pot, into her mouth. She groaned when she saw her reflection in the dark reflection of the back window. "It's just raining really hard."
Then she disappeared upstairs, probably to primp and fix her hair.
I was left alone in the kitchen with Emmett.
"So," I started awkwardly, "how's the wedding plan thing going? Lot's of fun?"
He shrugged, slipping into a bar stool, fiddling with the straps of Rose's abandoned Gucci. "Sure. But Rose has it pretty much covered."
I smirked, pouring the melted sauce over the noodles. "Well, you better not tell her that. She'll have your head if she finds out you don't really care what's going on."
I added the chicken to the noodles, and as I was pulling plates from the cupboard, Rose came bouncing back downstairs. She'd pulled her hair up into a ponytail and switched her pencil skirt and red blouse for a white tank top and a pair of spandex sweats.
Once I had served everyone their Alfredo, we sat down to eat.
"So," I said, after swallowing my first bite, "how's the planning going?" I asked, gazing pointedly at Emmett.
He sent me a patronizing look as Rose took a sip of her water, unable to see over the rim of the glass.
When she set it down, she rolled her eyes. "God, help me, Bella. It's so stressful. I feel like there's still a million things to be done, and the wedding's only eight weeks away!"
I mulled this over, chewing a piece of chicken thoughtfully. "Well, I know you can pull it off," I finally assured her.
She smiled kindly. "Thank you, Bella. That means a lot. Only if it is a little input. That's more than you'll see from him," she chuckled, poking Emmett in the arm with her fork.
"Ouch!" he yelped, pulling away from her.
I giggled awkwardly, twirling noodles around on my fork.
"You're gonna pay for that," he basically growled, reaching over with his own fork to stab at her noodles.
"Emmett!" she squealed as he pressed his body against hers unnecessarily seductively.
He grinned into her face as he chewed, and once he swallowed, locked his lips with hers.
I decided that that was my cue. I picked up my bowl of half-eaten pasta—suddenly not hungry anymore—and dumped it in the garbage can.
After setting the dish in the washer, I headed upstairs.
Love. It sort of disgusted me now. It wrenched a hole through my chest every time I had to witness it. I didn't know how I would get through the wedding.
I'd only been in love once; with a guy named Mark.
But, like all good things, it'd had to come to an end. A very bad end.
I went into my bedroom, flopping onto my unmade bed. The piles of sheets and the coverlet nudged at the small of my back, a little uncomfortable, but I tried to ignore it as I stared up at the ceiling.
I used to be a very angry person. I used to wear thick rings of eyeliner around my eyes which would always be beyond smudged by the end of the day. I used to wear obscene clothing and have a filthy mouth.
But that changed when I met Mark.
I had been in the hospital, getting some blood work done—some testing. I had been with my mother, Renee, at the time, and both of us were terrified of what the blood work would show.
I had gone to my physician earlier in the week with a chronic sore throat, unexplainable fatigue, and a menagerie of unexplained bruises in strange places. He had referred me to a clinic in the Children's Hospital, and that was when things started to go downhill.
With a cotton ball taped over the inside crook of my elbow, my mother and I headed down to the cafeteria to get something to eat—though my stomach was in knots.
And there he was. Passed out in the middle of a secluded hallway. My mother gasped, and froze in her place.
I, on the other hand, rushed forward toward the boy. There was a worrisome blue line around his mouth, and his eyelids were tinted a strange color of gray. His pallid complexion reflected the fluorescent lights unhealthily.
Carefully, I lowered myself to the ground next to him to check his pulse.
"Go get a doctor," I told my mother, placing a hand against his cheek. It was cold—even against my own clammy skin.
As soon as Renee left, the boy opened his eyes. And blinked, focusing on my face. Then he smiled.
Shocked, I could mouth only a small, 'hi'.
The boy began to sit up, but I pushed on his shoulder. "Maybe you should stay down," I suggested—nervously but firmly.
He squeezed his eyelids shut, and then listened to my orders. "Yeah," he agreed, rubbing his forehead, "maybe."
Some color had returned to his cheeks.
"Are you okay?" I asked.
He sighed, rolling his eyes. "Yep. I do this all the time. It's more annoying than anything. I was headed to the cafeteria to get something to eat—the doctors let me off." It was then that I realized he was wearing a hospital gown. He was a patient here. "I guess it was a combination of my weight and the medication. They don't mix well," he noted, grimacing.
"W-why are you here?" I mused aloud.
He sat up, slumping against the wall. I quickly moved out of the middle of the hallway to sit beside him. There was a foot of space between us.
"I have cancer," he informed me, staring down at his hands as if they were suddenly the most satisfying thing in the world.
The shrill ring of my phone startled me, and I opened my eyes, realizing that I'd fallen asleep. I shot up atop the sheets, disoriented by the sudden darkness that had fallen across my bedroom. When I'd gone to sleep it had been light out.
I scrambled for my phone on my nightstand table—in the process knocking a menagerie of things to the floor, pressed 'talk' and brought the phone to my ear.
"Hello?" I asked, my voice a little thick from sleep. I cleared my throat.
"Bella!" my mother cried on the other line, and it felt odd suddenly. She'd been so close in my dream/memory, and now, she was all the way in Phoenix.
"Hi, Mom," I replied, propping myself up against the headboard. I was still a little sleepy from my quick nap. "How are you?"
"I'm great!" she replied, "what about you? How did your first day go?"
I sighed, biting down on my bottom lip. "Well," I huffed, "everyone was very welcoming."
"Uh oh," she said, catching on immediately, "tell me all about it."
I rose from my bed, making my way to the adjoining bathroom. "It doesn't even matter," I protested, grabbing a towel from the linen closet.
"Yes, it does, honey," she countered gently.
"Um," I said, hanging the towel beside the shower, "I'll talk to you later. I've got things to get done."
"Okay," she replied, "I love you."
"Love you, too," I mumbled, and then hung up.
I started the shower, not daring to glance at my reflection in the mirror. I was willing to bet twenty bucks that I looked a mess.
After shedding my clothes, I stepped beneath the spray of the water, closing my eyes, wrapping my arms around myself. The warmth felt good, raining down over my skin, and I felt my worries and tensions begin to drift away as the water rubbed and soothed all the kinks and knots from the muscles in my back and neck.
I washed my hair, and when I climbed out of the shower, the mirror was so fogged that I couldn't even decipher my own reflection through the gloom. Had I really been in the shower that long?
I went back into my room to change into a pair of pajamas, straightened out my sheets and then slid beneath them, resting my head to the pillow.
I didn't fall asleep for a long while. The concentration it took to tune out the sounds on the other side of the wall, in Rose's bedroom, was too much to be able to fall asleep to.
So when they stopped, I was finally able to drift away.
- - -
END A/N: Yes, I know. It was all Bella's POV. I thought you guys deserved it because last chapter had none of it.
Reviews are better than delicious chicken alfredo!