"You again," Leah sighed as I walked into her room. I grinned at her, aware of the many visits people were paying her.
"Sorry, I would have come here sooner, but that waiting list is long," I teased, taking the chair by her bedside.
"People I haven't talked to since high school are coming to see me!" Leah groaned. "You and the pack are smothering me. Isn't there some rule about not putting stress on the patient?"
"You love the attention," I argued. Leah scoffed and crossed her arms, eying me.
"I know you're not just here for my sunny disposition," she said sarcastically. "You hiding?"
"Bella's intimidated by you," I admitted. There was no point in denying it.
"I have that affect on people," Leah deadpanned. She looked really annoyed, but after a second, she let out a sigh, and gave me this weird look that I couldn't interpret. It made me nervous, made me fidget, but I couldn't look away either. "Tell me why."
"I know why she wants to talk to me," I answered with a shrug. When Leah wasn't being an angry shrew, she had this way about her. I almost never noticed it since she was always angry when she phased and we never really hung out outside of patrols. So I never noticed it before, but I was learning with my constant time in her company—and the others' memories—that injured or not, it was hard to resist her. "I want to get ready before she breaks up with me."
"You were never together," Leah said none too kindly. I bristled indignantly but she continued before I had a chance to retort. "It's better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all," she said softly. I blinked and stared at her unable to really say anything to that. "But I think in your case, it wasn't love."
"What?" Was I having a one-sided discussion about Bella? I felt like I should be getting mad and storming out, but instead I was curious. It was the first time that someone had told me that.
"She has always been that girl you could never have. Being something that you couldn't have made you want her all the more. Since the beginning. Even if you had managed to get her to be with you, you would have always been her second choice and you would have to live knowing that. Would you have really been able to stay in a relationship like that?"
I was silent, imagining that Edward hadn't come back, that I had managed to win her over. She would have gotten better, but she would always remember Edward as the love of her life, the one she would have been with if she had the chance. Would I be worried about Edward coming back eventually? At that point, would she had stayed with me regardless or because she felt she had to? I could see a whole bunch of scenarios and none them ended with Bella truly happy with me.
"...No," I whispered, clenching my eyes shut. Wow that hurt. It really did feel like my heart was breaking.
"Love makes you blind, but not stupid. Everyone has their breaking point. I think, eventually, it would have all fallen apart anyway," Leah stated. She patted my hand which was shaking. Her touch stung and before I took out my anger and hurt on her, I got up and left.
I don't know why I was here again.
I was like clockwork. After patrol, I went to the Clearwaters. I would sit down on the chair by her bedside and I would ask about a scenario. Leah indulged me, crafting the story so that in the end, either Bella left me or I left her, knowing she wasn't happy.
Everyday I felt worse and worse, and Leah never once pulled back her punches. I asked for it and she never said no.
I wish she would say no.
Three days later, I asked about her and Sam. She was silent, floored it seemed, from my line of questioning, but then she let out a chuckle that made me confused.
"Want to know why I'm so good at making those stories about you and Bella?"
"You mean where you break my heart and become a misogynist?" I answered wryly.
"Because I've beat down my heart and turned to a life of misanthropy," she retorted cynically. It was something I figured out, the way she would look away sometimes, like some old wound was suddenly hurting. "Except in every scenario, its not because Emily left me—at least, not at first." Leah began to talk fast like she was embarrassed about talking, but couldn't stop now that she started. "I mean, for a long while, all I could focus on was that the love of my life left me for cousin who was practically my sister. But that hurt too much, so I tried to make it so that even if we had stayed together it wouldn't have worked out anyway. Point out all the faults in our relationship and manipulate them into something that was doomed to fail in the first place. Makes it easier to get over."
Leah looked at me and instead of sadness, I saw understanding. So instead of storming off to stew in anger and hurt in the forest like I usually did after my visits with Leah—I stayed. And blurted out the first thing that came to mind.
"What was high school like for you?"
Leah blinked at me, the tension in the room completely dissolving as the question sunk in. Then she threw her head back and laughed. Loudly.
"I hate to disappoint you kid, but I liked high school. Never had a problem with grades and had a group of people I tolerated," she said grinning broadly.
"Huh. Who would have thought," I muttered, surprised. I was slightly distracted by how pretty Leah was when she laughed and smiled. Most girls didn't look so ethereal when they laughed so hard.
In answer, Leah just laughed again.
Next chapter: Bella makes an appearance.