Disclaimer – I don't own Twilight or the characters, but I am owned by Supernatural and Jensen Ackles. (nom nom nom)
A/N – I have recently found out that Enough is Enough was nominated for 2 Gem Awards. I am in total shock, but would like to thank LadyTazz for nominating me for best WIP and Best Edward / Bella. And it has also been nominated for a Hidden star Award. Voting begins on 10th September http:/thehiddenstarawards(.)blogspot(.) please make sure you vote. Good Luck to all those nominated.
Once again, thanks to confettirainfall for her awesome beta skills.
Chapter 16 – The Future
"Edward, can I have a word please?" Carlisle poked his head round the door of the office as I walked past on my way back from my mums.
"Sure." I followed him into the intensely cluttered room. Looking at Bella's desk reminded me I had only seen her in passing in the week since I had kissed her.
"I've been thinking. You've been doing so well here at New Directions, maybe it's time we started to look at your future."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, you can't stay here forever. You need to start considering your options."
"And they are?"
"Well. The main choice you need to make is the one affecting where you go from here. Would you rather find yourself a job, or would you rather go to college and complete your education?"
"Right. At this precise moment in time, I really have no idea what I want to do. Both options have their pros and cons."
"I'm not asking you to decide right now. I just wanted to make you aware of your options, and what you need to start thinking about."
"Ok, thanks Carlisle." I wondered if I could ask about Bella as I glanced at her desk again.
"She's studying for her finals." He must have seen me.
"Oh, right. I just wondered why we hadn't seen much of her this week."
"She'll be back in next week, between exams. Thanks for popping in Edward." I was being dismissed.
I made my way upstairs to my room. When I saw the door was slightly ajar I assumed Jake was in there so I entered and threw my bag onto my bed. It was then I noticed the frozen figure in front of me, and it wasn't Jake.
"What the hell?" I vaguely recognised him from around the hostel. "Demitri isn't it?" I tried to keep my voice neutral as I noticed he had one of my music books in his hand.
"Uh. Hey man." His eyes darted around as he slowly put the books down onto my desk.
"What are you doing in here?" I realised it must have been him who had been rooting through my music. "And why are you looking through my stuff?" I indicated the mess he'd created on my desk.
"Uh...I...Er. Shit!" He ran his hands over his face in frustration. "This is going to sound so stupid."
"Just tell me before I'm not so calm." I didn't threaten him; I didn't think I needed to.
"Well, I er...I wanted to impress this bird I've been seeing." I cocked an eyebrow. "I'm serious. She was well impressed when I said I played guitar, so when she asked if I wrote my own stuff, I said yeah. Then of course, she wanted to hear something. So I panicked..." I could see where this was heading.
"So you played her my stuff."
"Er...Yeah. I can read music, so I managed to memorise your stuff and played it for her. I'm really sorry dude." I couldn't help it. I burst out laughing.
"Man, that is the lamest excuse I've ever heard, but I totally understand." The two of us sat for a while and talked about music before he apologised again and left. I chuckled again as I straightened up my desk before grabbing my wash bag and headed for a shower.
When I got back, I sat on my bed and thought back over my conversation with Carlisle. I really wasn't sure what I wanted to do with myself after I'd finished at New Directions. If I was honest with myself, I was actually kind of scared about the future. I wanted to change, I truly did. I just wasn't sure I could without being here. I knew mum and my mates would help me, but they wouldn't be around forever. Already Em and Rose were getting cosy, which I was chuffed to bits about. They, along with Morgan, made such a great little family. Jasper and Alice were on the verge of their own 'happy ever after'. What did I have to look forward to? College and living with my mum. I loved my mum, I really did, but I didn't want to be any more of a burden to her than I already was. If I got a job, I guessed I could save up for a flat. Oh joy! A one bedroom bedsit with my bed in the kitchen. I may as well go the whole hog and get a cat. I could be 'scary cat man'.
I ran my hands through my hair to get rid of the ridiculous pity party going on in my head. I was just about to go for a smoke when Jake ambled in.
"Hey dude." He flung his huge form onto his bed, rattling the metal frame.
"Hey Jake, how's work going?" I rooted through my jacket pockets and bag for my cigarettes and lighter.
"Not bad mate. Got the day off tomorrow. I'm going flat hunting with Bella."
"Oh right." I tried to keep my voice neutral at the mention of Bella's name. "I thought she was revising." I failed miserably at nonchalance.
"She said she needed a break and offered to come with." He looked at me shrewdly. "So, what's going on with you two?"
"What d'you mean?" I found my smokes and internally groaned when I found the packet was empty.
"You know what I mean. Why isn't she your caseworker anymore?"
"You heard about that?" What the hell was I going to say?
"Everyone has. C'mon dude, fess up." Jake beamed at me.
"We...er...We had a conflict of interests, so I'm working with Carlisle now. Besides, she's leaving soon."
"This is true my man." From the way he looked at me, I could tell he didn't believe me. "Anyway, I need my beauty sleep. Gotta look good for Bella, huh." I watched as he grabbed his washbag and left for a shower.
I made my way downstairs in the hope I could bum a smoke off someone. The TV room was quiet so I headed straight out to the garden. I could smell cigarette smoke. I walked round the corner and saw Bella typing out a text.
"Oh. Hey, Edward." She sounded almost surprised to see me.
"Hey." My heart was racing. "Any chance I could bum one of those?"
"Sure." She smiled as she handed one over to me. "How are you?"
"Not bad, you?" We made agonising small talk as we smoked. I told her about finding Demitri in my room.
"Oh. I shouldn't laugh..." She tried to smother her giggles. "But that's really sweet." She threw her head back and let out a full on belly laugh. It was wonderful to hear, and I joined in.
"How's your revision going?" I asked once we'd stopped. I hated small talk, especially after the time we'd spent together.
I stood watching Bella and Edward through the kitchen window. I couldn't help but think that the whole situation was going to end in tears for both of them. Their attraction was obvious to all, but Bella was leaving in two and a half months. Edward, for all his bravado and confidence, was still just a confused young man. I hoped he'd make the right choices for his future.
I couldn't tell him what to do, only give him the options available. Many of the young men who left the hostel went on to bigger and better things, but a few were sucked back into their old ways. I still kept in contact with many and received regular visiting orders from those who were incarcerated.
Edward was the first young man I'd had through these doors in ten years who'd developed feeling towards one of my volunteers. I knew that many mistook their dependency on their caseworkers for attraction or even feelings deeper than that. It was par for the course in a career such as this. When you helped people through such bad times in their lives, attachments were often formed, but many were purely platonic and based on gratefulness. I myself had a number of young women, and men, early within my career tell me that they loved me and couldn't live without me after I'd been working with them for a while. I'd never, however, known of a caseworker to entertain these feelings, much less return them.
Many youth workers, when faced with such situations would sit down with the youth in question and explain why their feelings couldn't be returned and if need be, they would be reassigned a new caseworker. This usually helped them see that the feelings they thought they felt were based on a type of dependency that soon dissolved. This was why the situation with Edward and Bella had put me in a quandary. I was overjoyed that she'd been able to help him, but had he only let her because of his feelings for her? Would he be able to continue on the right path once she left? I was also worried that I was asking him to think about the next step in his life too early. I had told him the truth. He had done well here, but should I have left it for a while? Or was he truly ready to go back out into the world?
I turned away from the window to make myself a cup of coffee. Just as I was about to return to the office, I heard Edward and Bella come inside.
"So, how has your week been?" I heard her ask him.
"Not too bad. I've spent a lot of time with my mum. I'm helping her decorate the house. She thinks the paint's getting shabby in the kitchen and the lounge. It's nice feeling I'm useful to her again."
"That's great. I'm glad you're rebuilding that relationship. It's the most important one you have."
"I know. The guys have been great as ever, but they're busy with their own lives. I just need to get mine sorted out now." I heard Bella yawn softy. "I'll let you get off, you must be knackered after all that revising."
"I am a bit. Plus, I'm going apartment hunting with Jake tomorrow."
"So I heard. Have fun. See you around." I thought I heard a question in Edward's voice before his footsteps told me he was going upstairs.
Bella jumped as I walked into the office.
"Sorry, I didn't mean to startle you."
"It's okay. I actually need to talk to you." She sat down opposite me. I had a feeling that I knew what was coming.
"I'm all ears." I sat down at my desk and waited.
"I think I need to go back home earlier than planned." I nodded to let her know I had expected this. "The longer I stay, the harder it'll be for me to leave. I'm just glad the school year is finished, and I'll be graduating when I get back" I think Bella just wanted to throw herself into work to help her forget things.
"Leave this place," I indicated the hostel with my arms. "London, or Edward?"
"All of it. Carlisle, I never expected to feel like this." She held her hands up to her face. "I knew that in some way I would get attached to the people I helped, but I never thought I would..."
"Would what Bella?" I tried to keep my voice soft so I wouldn't scare her into silence, but I knew what was coming.
"I think I'm falling in love with him, and it's completely knocked me sideways. I also hate feeling that I've let you down."
"You haven't let me down at all. We're only human, emotional beings. When are you thinking of leaving?"
"When I finish my exams. I think it's a case of the sooner the better."
"I understand Bella. I know you have to do what's right for you. What are you going to tell everyone?"
"By everyone, I assume you mean Edward." I nodded. "I wasn't actually going to tell him. I mean, he already knows I'm leaving soon, does it really matter about the date?"
"I'm not sure. Are you sure about this?" Bella looked at me. "Not the fact that you're leaving, obviously that's a personal choice...but psychologically, I doubt it's a good idea to keep Edward in the dark. Bear in mind his emotional history. You know how he reacted to the absence of a loved one before..." I wasn't sure how else to word it, so I jumped in with both feet. "After the abandonment he felt when his father effectively replaced both him and his mother, he develops feelings, possibly for the first time, for someone other than a friend or family. And then you just disappear. That may break him, Bella."
"I am worried about it, but I really think it's best this way. Besides, I've already booked my ticket home." I stood up and pulled her into a hug. "How can I tell him Carlisle? I know for a fact if I tell him, he'll try to talk me out of it. I need to think about how I'm going to tell him."
"I may not totally agree on your methods, but I will respect your decision. Can I ask you one thing?" She nodded, trying to stop herself from crying. "Will you keep in touch? I'd like regular updates on how you're doing."
AN – I'm going to hide behind my 2 year old while y'all shout at me!
Major thanks to freefallinginlove for the awesome pre reading and mucho helpage with the minore blockage. I FLOVE you!
Feel free to follow me on Twitter (at) mouse555, I can't promise not to ramble, or even be funny!