A/N Disclaimer: This story will contain drug use/abuse, death (not suicide) and cancer. It's angsty so if these things are hard limits then this might not be the fic for you. I can promise this will have canon pairings, lemons (eventually) and an HEA.
Lots of love and thanks goes to my friend/beta/fic wifey AydenMorgen and my pre readers DaniaMCullen, JustAGirl1238, and KitsuShel. I love you chicas something fierce!
All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the intellectual property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of Stephenie Meyer. No copyright infringement is intended. This storyline is property of pkmarita.
"I'm really proud of you, you know?"
I hugged my knees and let my face fall forward, letting the warmth of the water relax me just enough to nod at her. I just sat there and waited for her to begin our nightly ritual.
"It's a big step, I'm glad you decided to do it," Allie whispered as she dipped the wash cloth into the tub and lathered it up with vanilla-scented body wash. She had picked it up last week and even though it was a small change, it still sent me over the edge. I battled with using anything other than Irish Spring and I had begged her to take it back.
That was the first battle I didn't win.
"He's gone, Bella, and a bar of fucking soap isn't going to change that!" she had yelled at me in frustration. Apparently she was done taking my shit and, frankly, all I could do was sob.
"It smells like him," I tried pleading with her. "Just buy the soap."
"No, I won't do it." She stood firmly at the kitchen counter and I became pissed. I picked up the first thing I saw and threw it at her. It was a scented candle and I didn't even have the energy to throw it at her properly. I watched it land underneath the bar stool with a loud thud.
"Are you done yet?" she had asked and there was no sense in fighting with her over it. I knew I had lost.
"Hey, are you still with me?" She nudged me and water sloshed all around me.
"Yeah, sorry I got sick earlier," I mumbled as my thoughts turned back to the present. I lifted my head to look over my shoulder at her. "I tried to hold it down this time."
"It's okay, we will try again tomorrow." She carefully washed my back in a circular motions and it felt good. For just a small moment in time, I felt less numb.
I felt like I was still…here.
"So about the apartment," she started and then stopped to collect herself, "I think-"
"You know what I think?" I interrupted her. "I think whoever Emmett rents the apartment to better love loud music."
"Bella, come on," Allie groaned, throwing the wash cloth in the tub behind me. "Let's be reasonable."
"What? I think I am. I already agreed to rent it out with the exception of the roof. I am being reasonable. If they don't like the music they can call in a complaint to the landlord. Man, that's going to suck for them."
I couldn't help it that I found humor in the most fucked up of ways.
"You can't expect everyone to like the same music as you though," she retorted and moved to pull the plug from the drain. "You ready to get out? The water is starting to chill."
I nodded and started to stand, losing my footing. I fell forward and hit my head on the side of the tub, causing blood to run freely down the side of my face.
"Oh God, Bella!" Allie shrieked and threw herself at me. She was pulling me from the tub, trying to wrap a towel around me, while attempting to apply pressure to my head at the same time.
"I'm fine Allie; it's just a little bump," I tried to assure her and, of course, that didn't happen. Once she had me situated on the bed, she ran about the room in hysterics, yelling at Jasper on the cordless and sobbing to my doctor on her cell. You would have thought I had cut my damn arm off by the way she was acting.
"Allie this isn't necessary, I'm fin-," I started to say when she cut me off abruptly.
"So help me God if you say you're fine, I will rip your head off!" she screamed at me and she meant it. I didn't press her any further because quite frankly, I was exhausted. I had managed to pull a tank top on over my head and panties, but that was it. I lay back against the pillows, waiting for sleep to take me, but she was on me before I could even start to count sheep.
"Get up! You can't go to sleep right now. The doctor said you have to stay awake for a little bit." She was shaking my arms, trying to get me to come to but I just didn't have it in me.
"Bella, I'm not kidding! Get up!" She was jumping on the bed now and I have to admit that it was getting annoying. I knew she wouldn't stop until I got up though.
"I'm up, Allie, okay?" I mumbled, trying to sit up. I took a glance at the window and there it sat. It was still there and this time it was me that started to freak out.
It looked so beautiful sitting there, as if someone purposely put it there in that arrangement. It looked so vibrant and full of life surrounded by every memory of us that I ever had. My breathing began to speed up and I knew I was close to another panic attack. I tried to calm myself but I knew she had caught me.
"Bella, what's wrong?" She was at my side in an instant and I was shaking all over. I thought I was imagining things again.
When I first found it, I touched it and laughed at myself thinking, Oh great, Bella, you're losing it again. Remember what happened last time they found out you were seeing him? They thought you were losing your shit and the hallucinations were just a mechanism, something you were using to cope with the grief.
Allie had yelled from the bathroom that my bath was ready and I slowly just backed away from the window. I knew it wasn't really there. There was no way it was real.
Just another fucked up, waking nightmare.
God, why am I doing this to myself? I could die a thousand deaths and it still wouldn't hurt as much as it did right now. Maybe I had finally reached the end of my rope because I jumped from my bed and threw open the window, causing Allie to rush after me.
Once I plucked it from its slumber, I turned back to Allie in a fit of rage. "Did you do it?" I yelled at her.
"Do what, Bella?" The look on her face was one of alarmed concern as she tried to wrap her arms around me reassuringly.
Tears spilled from eyes as I glared at her. "Don't pretend that you don't see it. It's real; touch it!"
"The flower? Where did you get that?" She looked at me, clearly confused, and it just pissed me off even more.
"Don't fuck with me, Allie. Did you put it there to hurt me?" I seethed and this time she dropped her arms and backed away from me.
"Bella, you know I would never do something like that," she whispered, looking down at the floor. She couldn't even look me in the face and she didn't have to. I watched as her tears splattered against the hardwood floor and it caused me to slide down the wall into a puddle of my own misery.
If she didn't put it there…then who did?
"I'm sorry, Allie. I just…I don't what's going on anymore." I finally let her see me, the shell that was left.
She walked slowly toward me, deciding to slide down the wall herself before wrapping her arms around me. "It's probably some punk kid being stupid or a neighbor that thought it would cheer you up…or something," she murmured.
I let my head fall back against the wall and just stared up at the ceiling. It felt like we sat there for hours, days, weeks and when I felt her shift beside me, I turned my head to face her.
"I'm tired, Allie. Can I go to bed now?" I asked, my eyes pleading with her to give in just this once.
Her shoulders slumped and she nudged my arm lovingly. "Go on; I'll lock up before I go."
"Thank you. I'll keep the phone right by the bed," I reassured her so she wouldn't worry so much. It was pointless really; she worried all the time anyway. It made me realize just how hard this must be for her though. She was watching her best friend die right in front of her, but what she didn't realize was I'd already died a long time ago. I began to notice the worry lines and crow's feet that she tried to cover up with light make-up and the smile she plastered on her face every day. This was killing her too, just not the same way it was killing me.
That's when I made the decision to send her away with Jasper for a month.
I made a mental note to call Emmett first thing in the morning and make the arrangements for them. Oh, I knew it wouldn't be easy and she would be pissed, but it needed to be done. For two years, Allie had been there for me every day. She never complained even though, if the shoe were on the other foot, I would have told her to go to hell already and dropped her ass off at her parents for them to take care of her.
I wasn't the easiest person to be around with everything that had already happened. Getting sentenced to death didn't make it easier. I knew she would try and fight me on it, but I also knew once I told her I would slap a restraining order on her ass that she would cave. I just hoped it wouldn't get that far. She needed this.
I sighed deeply, pushing all my thoughts away in a frugal attempt to do the one thing that came naturally to everyone when they became exhausted.
Sleep, either by natural means or medically induced, can be a beautiful thing. I should know; it was the first time I saw him again after it happened. It was four months after the accident and it shattered me more than the day I found out he was truly gone forever.
"Wake up, sleepy head." His breath against my ear sent shivers through my body and I relaxed against him immediately. "I've missed you, Bella."
I smiled against his neck as I breathed him in. "I thought I'd lost you."
He kissed my forehead, pulling me closer to him and wrapping me up in his warmth, his embrace. "Now, why would you think that?" he chuckled as he buried his face into my hair.
"I…I don't know." I snuggled closer, shivering with cold. "Where are we?"
"On the roof," he whispered in my ear before pulling my chin up to give me Eskimo kisses. "In the gazebo."
His lips softly traced my bottom lip before sucking it into his mouth. I felt my body ignite as he gripped the back of my neck, our kiss turning frantic and desperate. He devoured me and it spurred me on. It was the light and the dark… the calm before the storm. It was like he was kissing me for the last time and I never wanted it to end.
All too soon, it slowed and as I looked into his eyes, he held me captive just like always.
"I'll always come back, Bella. I'll always come back for you."
I had bolted up right in bed, covered in sweat and screaming. My screams quickly turned to sobs and I touched my lips, letting the shakes run their course. I still smelled him all around me.
"You lied," I said into the darkness of my room, as I gazed up at the ceiling. The glow-in-the-dark stars were still there, a constant reminder of a happier time in our lives. The tears streaked down the side of my face as I closed my eyes, letting the memory swallow me whole.
"So, what do you think?" he asked, dangling the package in front of me. "Didn't you say you used to have these in your room when you were a kid?"
"I did and I thought they were cool," I laughed and snatched them from his hand, "I get to put them up."
I darted to our bedroom and he caught me right before I made it to the bed. Before I could stop him, he had pinned me to the bed and started tickling me.
"Please, please, stop!" I was laughing and trying to keep the package away from him. I finally gave up and let them go. "Okay, you can put them up."
"Good, I bought them so it's only right, Bella Bean." He grinned and leaned down, kissing me softly. My hand found its way to his cheek and I held him like he was the most precious gift I had ever received in my life. He was the finest diamond in the world, and he was mine.
"Why don't you go call for take-out and I'll put these up," he whispered against my lips and all I could do was nod.
Three hours later, dinner was over and we were in the bedroom getting ready for bed when I got a sense that he was up to something.
"What are you hiding?" I asked playfully and his response was classic Edward.
"Why, Miss Swan, whatever do you mean?" he asked in a shocked tone before grinning at me.
"Okay, Mr. Cullen, I'll play along. Is it in this room?" I crawled into bed, right up next to him.
He pulled me close as he turned off the lamp. "Yes, but now that we're in complete darkness, I can have my wicked way with you and make you forget all about it."
I sighed against him, completely happy with his plan as he trailed kisses from my lips to my neck. He slowed his movements and suddenly I felt his lips linger over mine as he began to speak.
"Bella?" He was wrapped around me, everywhere, and he totally consumed me. "My love?"
"Hmm…?" I whispered, barely keeping my eyes open as the sensations penetrated every fiber of my being. I felt him tuck a strand of my hair behind my ear before kissing me again, tenderly.
"Look up," he whispered and as my eyes opened, I was in complete awe.
Five words that would change everything were displayed on the ceiling above me.
"Bella, will you marry me?"
The stars were aligned in the most beautiful patterns. They glowed in the darkness, bright lights paving their way into our galaxy and filling my universe with so much love that it poured out of me.
Tears sprang to my eyes as I drank it in, and before I could respond, he was whispering sweet poetry in my ear.
"For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart. It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul." I melted into him as I tried to stop him, he continued, "Marry me, Bella, be mine forever?"
No matter how many times I played that memory over in my head, it never escaped my mind that it sealed our fate.
I grabbed my pillow, cradling it to my chest as I turned over and faced the window. The street light pierced the night and filled my room with dim shadows. The cars passed by, the drivers' without another thought on their way to their final destinations, and the wind rattled my window, letting its presence be known.
I laid there waiting for sleep to take me….
"I don't know how he found out about the rental because I didn't even list it yet."
I had Emmett on speaker phone as I sipped my coffee, knowing it was a fifty-fifty crap shoot if I would be able to stomach it later. I didn't give up though; it was the one thing that I insisted on not giving up if I even had a shot at keeping it down. Unfortunately, my body sometimes had other plans.
"Don't you think it's odd?" he asked and for the first time I realized I wasn't even paying attention.
"I'm sorry, what?"
"I said, I had a message for me when I got into the office this morning. A potential renter?" he sighed into the phone and I could tell he was getting frustrated. My attention span wasn't what it used to be and, frankly, I didn't think it was because of the cancer. I just didn't give a fuck anymore.
"Okay, so what? Did you book an appointment with them?" I clearly sounded annoyed as well because he took the opportunity to tell me how selfish I was being.
"You can be really selfish sometimes, Bella, you know that?"
"Emmett, look, I don't understand what the problem is. I mean really, you have someone call up and want to look at the apartment. What is it that you want?" I waited for a reply and when it came I had to admit I was a bit shocked.
"I will repeat myself once again. I haven't placed the ad yet and they don't want to see the apartment. They are willing to pay for six months in advance." He emphasized each word in an attempt to catch my attention. Kudos to him, it worked.
"What do you mean, they don't want to see it? Who does that?" I shook my head at the crazy notion and poured more cream in the coffee. "What did you tell them? Did you check them out?"
"You know I did and they are legit, books are in order, very pristine and right to the point. It's an older gentleman, goes by the name of Mr. J. Jenks."
I groaned into the phone, no need to hide my distaste on the matter. "Are you serious? You know I play my music loud. He'll bitch all the damn time, I bet."
"I don't think you are getting it," Emmett stated and then continued, "He's probably deaf in both ears from old age so it doesn't matter. My biggest concern is how he knew about the apartment? Did you tell anyone? A neighbor, perhaps?"
I rolled my eyes and slammed the refrigerator door after putting the creamer back inside. "Yeah, Emmett, I shouted it from the roof-top because I'm just ecstatic about renting it out."
"Come on, Bella Bean," he sighed into the phone, "You know that's not what I meant."
"Stop calling me that!" I screamed into the phone. I was so done with this. All of it. I wasn't that person anymore and him calling me that wasn't going to bring her back. Silence filled the room and when I didn't hear a dial tone I knew he was still on the line, worried about how to react.
"I'm sorry," I whispered into the phone, "It's just…that's not…me."
"I know," Emmett stated as a matter-of-fact, which was good. It meant we were getting somewhere.
And just like that we moved on and it was all business.
"So, what do you want me to do?" he questioned, his voice turning concerned once again. "I don't feel right about this. Something just doesn't fit."
I thought about it for a minute. Six months advanced rent did have its advantages. I could spend part of it for Allie's vacation and not touch my trust fund. I put my plan into action.
"Do it," I stated without hesitation. "When will you receive payment?"
"That's what's bothering me," he grumbled, "a carrier arrived soon after I spoke with him on the phone this morning, with the check and a rental agreement. I didn't even have time to get Jessica to type one up yet."
"Did you read over it? It looked okay?" I questioned and even thought it seemed strange, there was a part of me that was curious about it too. Who was this J. Jenks?
"Of course I did," he quipped. "It's good, nothing out of place, but I did state that the roof was off limits and he was fine with that. I amended the document."
I sat back on the bar stool and let out the breath that I had been holding. I didn't even realize I had been holding it. It was looking like my body was winning the fight against my choice of instant gratification this morning. I was getting tired and fatigued.
"Take it, Emmett," I stated and in a rush laid out my plan to him. "Make sure it's finalized today and I want you to book a flight out of here tomorrow for Allie and Jasper. Send them somewhere tropical or fuck, I don't care, just somewhere for a month. Make all the preparations and I'll tell her myself tonight."
"What?" he screamed. "She's going to flip out on you. She won't go!"
"Yes, she will. She won't have a choice," I continued before he could stop me, "She needs this Emmett. Jasper knows it and so do you. I'll get a restraining order against her if I have to."
Silence...it can be your best friend.
"I need it too," I whispered.
For the first time in a long time he didn't argue with me.
"Okay, I'll talk to Jasper when he gets here." He cleared his throat and I could hear him shuffling papers around, which was our cue that time was up.
"Thank you." I hung up the phone without a good-bye and made it the couch before exhaustion took me.
I hoped Mr. Jenks owned ear plugs…
A/N The sweet poetry quote he says to her is by Judy Garland just fyi..
So did anyone else getting sucked into The Plan by QuantumFizzx? Well if not then I insist that you go right now and read it! It's complete and it's awesome.
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