Heart-Shaped Box

A/N I have re-worked my one-shot and continued it beyond the original ending. Chapters are short and updates frequent.

I'm not going to beg for reviews every chapter, but as a part of my heart is in these words, I'd love to hear some of yours in response. Thank you in advance.

Twilight characters are Stephenie Meyer's. Some of what I've done with them in this story is simply based on fears; some is far less fictional than I'd like it to be. Let's see how that works out, shall we?!

Huge thanks to my beta HollettLA – credit to her for all the chapters that follow. Thanks also to TwirlGrll who beta'd the one-shot version of this.

-x-x-x-

"Grown ups are complicated creatures, full of quirks and secrets."

Roald Dahl

1

Dear Rose,

Do you remember when we were very young and Renee was trying to teach us about tolerance? She was giving the old "everybody is different" lesson, and I always thought it was her way of explaining why she could be such a weirdo. Anyway, she did say something that stuck: that we all have little quirks that we carry as part of our character. She said some quirks were always with you and clear for all to see, like a nervous twitch or always looking down. Or how I bite my lip, or how you play with folds of fabric between your fingers when you watch TV. Others were hidden or developed with time, often as a response to things that happened to us. Like a superstition or a withdrawal from doing something. Anyway…

You know as well as I do that she wasn't particularly profound, but I do remember the day she told us this in the car on the way home from school. Renee's idiosyncrasies were difficult to describe to anyone outside the three of us (and maybe Dad of course), and I wasn't sure that she had just one. She's a more than complicated woman.

So the point of all this is that I've been thinking about a new quirk I've developed. The lip bite is still there, and I've probably got others, but the new one is a response to things that kept happening in my life. My new quirk is that I fucking hate boxes. Weird, right?

You know, to most people, a box usually held something special. If it required that sort of packaging, there was probably something good inside. They stored something that we treasured; they held something new that we'd bought; they contained a gift. New shoes, jewelry…good things, right? Not to me. Ditch the fucking packaging and give it to me straight.

I've decided that in my experience over twenty-five years, boxes haven't held good things. Not the ones that I remember, at least. I don't remember a new TV, new shoes, candy, or a great gift. I remembered the packing tape, the moving van, the ashes being handed over by the vet. A box for me meant somebody or something was leaving. They were moving away, or they were leaving completely. Recent events have only solidified that. My dislike has reached a new pinnacle.

I can't believe I just saw you in a fucking box, Rose.

Where's the fucking good in that?