Stephenie Meyer's Twilight
a/n: A one-shot prequel to the fanfic Edward's Bella. This is in Bella's POV. This is also Chapter 42 of Edward's Bella so it's best to read the main fic first. This is about a girl, battling with a mental disorder all her life, and why she wanted to have a friend. Warning: suicide content (no one will die)
August (the year before, in the story timeline). Bella has been staying in London with her aunt for 8 months
"Her name is Angela."
I quickly dropped the curtains I had set aside. The rustle of fabric sounded guilty. Still, I pretended that I hadn't been spying on our neighbor. I turned from the living room window, feeling my cheeks turning pink.
My aunt gave me a knowing look, but she was smiling.
"She's a lovely girl, you know. She has been asking about you."
Aunt Marge nodded.
Again I pulled the curtain aside, looking at our neighbor. She was taking bags of groceries out of her car. I grinned. It was the cutest minibug I had ever seen.
I sometimes wished I could drive a car, too.
I mentioned it once to my aunt. It was the wrong topic to discuss with her. She loathed left-hand driving.
We're Americans, she said. We were a danger to English roads.
My aunt employed a driver instead, a Scots, Mr. Garret. I liked him a lot, especially his Scottish accent. He reminded me of groundskeeper Willie in Springfield Elementary School in the Simpsons.
Mr. Garret was one of the company chauffeurs in my aunt's firm but when he retired, Aunt Marge offered him a post-retirement job and he gladly accepted.
I had been suspecting that I was the reason why my aunt suddenly had a need for a car and driver. She was a happy commuter for the past 20 years or so, before I showed up.
Mr. Garret was hired a week before I arrived in London.
It wasn't really necessary since I never go out of the house. There wasn't any need or requirement, except for every two weeks.
I was privately tutored. My teacher comes 4x a week for three hours each session. My aunt also employed two house helpers and I was told to never lift a finger around the house.
I wasn't trying to anyway. I was afraid of making a mess if I tried.
But, I would sneak in the kitchen at night. I found this thick recipe book of sandwiches that I really liked.
I thought I was being canny about it, but my aunt knew of my midnight sojourn to her kitchen.
One night she left me a note, telling me to cook whatever I wanted and to leave Jane, one of the helpers, a list of ingredients that I needed.
My aunt was nice. She was my dad's only sister. She used to have a husband but then he died. I was sad about that. I could have had many cousins but my aunt had no children.
Sometimes I think my aunt was adopted. She was so … normal.
Not like my dad.
Not like me.
No. Not like us.
Sometimes I couldn't help but feel sorry for her. She seemed stuck with me. She was a very reserved person and here I was, invading her space. I wished I wasn't such a burden. My own mother -
I didn't want to go there. I couldn't. Dr. Evans said I wasn't ready yet.
The only time I had to leave the house was when I had to see my doctor, every 15 days.
He was the nicest psychiatrist I ever had. And I've had many, believe me. Dozens! I couldn't recall all of their names. I remember Dr. McKinsey. He was my doctor when I was 10.
I turned to my aunt. We had just finished breakfast. It was a rare time when we were eating together. My aunt was a high-ranking executive and she was very important in her office. That meant she was working all the time.
This morning I had her complete attention. She was looking at me with a thoughtful expression, as if she really wanted to understand me. Because she cared about what happened to me.
"Bella … are you happy here?"
I didn't know how to answer her.
Was I happy?
Was I supposed to be happy?
How was someone like me, ever supposed to be happy?
I was 11 when I first heard that word.
I thought it was just a word used commonly, in normal conversation, like "depressed".
I told myself it was just like being called "weird".
That was a laugh. Those words.
Then there were other words that I would rather not think about. Like that word that accused me of trying to murder myself. Or that word that kids in my school used to hurl at me behind my back and to my face. It meant nothing to them to say it, but it hurt me.
All those words I could bear. But not The Word.
I accidentally found my medical records the day I turned 11.
Case Record Folder of Isabella Marie Swan (born September 13, 1991)
Institution: Mercy Children's Hospital (Boston, Mass.)
Date Admitted: August 8, 2001
Diagnostic Impression at Admission:
1. Psychoneurotic Depressive
2. Bipolar 1 Disorder
3. Borderline Personality (pre-adolescence)
Established Diagnosis/Mental Disorder: Catatonic Schizophrenia (periodic)
It was The Word.
There were many, many words then. Scary words. Damning words. Words I didn't want to think had anything to do with me, of who I was, of who I would always be.
These words - strung impersonally as sentences, then paragraphs, then whole pages - showed that what I had was a serious mental illness.
"The patient (me) is unable to interpret reality in what is considered to be a normal way ..."
A normal way?
"The patient (me) can appear frozen, not able to speak or respond to other stimuli ..."
"The patient (me) alternate between frozen state and the excited state, referred to as catatonia. While these are the most characteristic symptoms of this disorder, there are others. These include having delusions, speaking incoherently, becoming angry for no reason, hallucinating, having no emotional reactions and social isolation."
Yes ... I was crazy.
Yes, I did attempt ... suicide.
But dear god, I didn't want to be incurable or useless.
I couldn't be a schizophrenic.
Normal people have best friends.
That was why I now find myself standing outside her door.
I had just raised my hand to lift the brass door knocker when the door flew open.
I bit off a scream. She was immediately contrite.
"Oh! I'm so sorry, Bella! I didn't mean to startle you!"
I smiled weakly. I nodded "hello" to her. At least, I hoped that was what I was doing. I better say it out loud, I thought.
I felt like an idiot. Worse, I felt so abnormal.
I turned to go but she stopped me by placing her hand on my arm. I froze.
"Oh, sorry," she mumbled, dropping her hand.
I stared at her. She smiled at me. I felt my lips moving, trying to imitate her smile.
It was all hers. This friendship. It happened because of her - Angela, my best friend.
I discovered that with a best friend, you only have to listen.
I didn't have to talk, or squeal for no apparent reason. She didn't force me to do anything.
I really didn't mind her chatter. When Angela was in the room, I didn't hear anything else. Just her. My best friend.
We even have identical mobile phones. Hers was orange, a bubbly color like her. Mine was blue. Blue was my favorite color. It reminded me of -
Anyway. I have always liked blue.
Angela convinced Aunt Marge to give me a daily allowance. I didn't want it. But Angela was persistent, so my aunt got me plastic money. I never used it but I liked having it. It was what every normal teenager has.
I think I was happy.
Angela was happy.
She said she has a boyfriend. His name was Ben. We haven't met.
"Do you -" I stopped, hesitating. There was something I wanted to ask her.
She smiled at me and it was in encouragement. So I took a deep breath.
"Do you like holding his hand?"
And she laughed, but she wasn't laughing at me. She was laughing because she was just really cheerful, and I was her silly best friend.
"Oh, Bella! Of course I do. I like everything about him. I like kissing him, too." She winked. I blushed. I had once kissed a boy but that was a long time ago. His name was Mike and he was also a patient at Mercy Hospital.
"But … do you like holding his hand?" I really wanted to know.
"Well, yes! Very much so. Why?"
"I … I like holding his hand, too. It calms me," I whispered.
"Isabella Swan! You've got a boy somewhere! Who? Who!"
I shook my head at her, looking away.
I didn't have a "boy". He wasn't a boy. He was more than a boy. He was … a presence. Like an angel.
"Tell me, Bella," said Angela, quiet now, not her usual squealing self. Not that I minded her little shrieks.
"One day I will tell you," I said quietly.
These were the days that I made an effort to remember.
With Aunt Marge, and now Angela, I could think of other words, like "hope" and "dreams". These were better words, words that would never hurt me, or cause my mother sadness, or make me feel sick.
I could have the life that I used to have with my Daddy and Mom when we were living in our small home on Williams Street in Boston.
Maybe there was more to me now than what it seemed.
Thank you for reading.
Summary of Edward's Bella: Nothing's troubling Edward. No great tragedy in his life or skeletons in his closet. His world and his life are just fine until perfect Edward meets broken Bella. They immediately form an unusual bond. He brings her home and into his life. Edward knows he could have his love and obsession, but not after she has changed him, and not before he has saved her. (AH-OOC/Edward POV)