Disclaimer: SM owns all, but the plot is mine, so please don't steal. It's not polite.

An: Beta'd by Buff82. She's also responsible for a piece of the storyline. Not telling which part, but you'll love her for it – promise.

I'm still finishing up my other story before focusing entirely on this one, but I hope you enjoy this random update nonetheless. Please remember this story deals heavily with alcoholism, and it may not be suitable for all readers. If you continue to read on, then I hope you enjoy.

Chapter 2: Black Out

I try not to be affected by Rosalie's impromptu visit and then abrupt departure, but somehow I find myself shaken. She is the strongest person I know, and while I try to feel some satisfaction that I have finally succeeded in pushing her away, all I feel is emptiness.

There are so many things wrong in my life, I am aware; I don't need someone to point them out to me. I drink too much, spending each day locked in my apartment with a bottle of booze as I try to drown the memories that haunt me.

Every day is a challenge just to be alive, but I can't do anything more than make sure I wake each day, breathing, and knowing that he cannot. His face is particularly vivid in my mind this evening, and I know it's because of seeing Rosalie. She reminds me of my life before, and I hate her for it though it's not her fault.

It's mine.

I can't dwell on thoughts of her for long, however. My phone rings merely minutes after she has left, but I lack the energy to answer it. I've had enough of family and friends for the day. Hell, for the week even. The machine picks up after four rings and my father's gruff voice echoes throughout the small apartment.

"Bells? It's Dad. Look, I know you don't want … I know it's hard … I was just hoping you'd come home this weekend. You know, for Thanksgiving and all. Anyway, call me back. I love you kiddo."

It beeps as he hangs up, and tears prick my eyes at the sound of his voice. I miss him, but I know I can't go see him. He only asks because he feels he has to.

My chest aches with the thought, and I know I am in for a rough night. Whenever I have a run-in with my past, the hours following it are my worst. Between Rosalie's visit and Charlie's phone call, I could only imagine the repercussions in store for me.

I have a couple hours before I need to head out, so I resume my placement on the couch. The routine is familiar to me.


When I do finally head out it is to my usual place, a bar on the corner just two blocks away. I walk there every night at eight.

This is also part of my routine.

Alec, the bartender, knows me well and already has my glass of beer and platter of chicken wings waiting on the bar when I come in.

"Rough day?" He asks when I slump down on the stool and immediately take a large gulp of my drink.

"You could say that," I answer gruffly.

Alec ignores me and returns to serving the other patrons at his bar. It's the way we are. He serves me, and I sit quietly and ignore everyone around me.

Tonight, however, I watch him as he works. I'm not feeling sociable, but I find myself thinking about Alec more than usual. We have our system – one I put in place, but I hardly ever stop and consider his feelings.

Alec isn't a small man by any means. He's tall, muscular, and resembles more of a bouncer at a club than a bartender in a pub. He's also extremely looking – blue eyes, dark hair, beautiful smile.

It is obvious that he's several years older than I am, but there's a youthful quality to his face that makes him appear slightly younger.

Part of me wishes I could feel something towards him. Sex is easy; it's a purely physical thing.

I can stay completely out of my head and fool my body into enjoying it for long enough to preoccupy myself. And Alec, well he's always more than willing. On a normal night I'd take him home with me, fuck him until I couldn't think anymore, and then pass out.

And he'd let me, even though he knows that's all he'll ever get out of me. Even though deep down I know he wants more. He told me once he'll take what he can get. But does that make me – that I take so much without care?

Just another selfish mark on my soul I suppose.

"Want another one Bella?"

I jump when I hear Alec's voice, having been so busy thinking that I didn't realize how close he'd gotten.

"Yeah, keep them coming."

He eyes me skeptically, but refills my drink anyway. "I'll never figure out how such a small girl can hold her liquor like you can," he laughs out as he pours.

I snort. "I'm just amazing like that I guess."

"I guess you are."

The smile he gives me as he says this is familiar, but I'm not in the mood tonight. Even his fabulous tongue and unforgiving hips aren't enough to distract me right now.

He's wiping down the bar top in front of me though I know it's already clean.

"Would you like to get a drink together sometime? You know, somewhere other than here and where I'm not the one serving you."

The way he purrs serving you indicates an underlying message and I frown without meaning to, but it's an involuntary reaction. I see his smile drop the minute he notices.

"It's okay, you don't have to, really. I shouldn't have asked," he begins to backpedal.

Wanting to put the poor man out of his misery I blurt the first thing I think of.

"It's not you, it's me."

Then I have to mentally roll my eyes at myself because that's such an idiotic response. I can see that Alec is giving me that "are you kidding me" look because he knows that answer was such bullshit.

"What I mean is … What I mean is I'm fucked up Alec. You know that, I just can't …" I trail, my voice fading into the tall beer glass between my fingers.

My further elaborated response seems to bring some relief to poor Alec, but he still saunters off and doesn't return to my end of the bar except to ensure my drink is never empty.

Typically I do not drink more than a few beers and maybe a shot when I come here. This is mostly because I know Alec would never let me, but also because this is the place I go for food. I hate cooking for just myself, and it's not like I could stay sober long enough to make food and not burn myself anyway.

So, instead, I come here every evening to ensure I have one warm meal in my system each day.

It may not be perfect, but it's something.

Tonight, however, Alec seems to be distracted and doesn't watch my drink intake as closely as usual. I'm also feeling extra bitter about Rosalie's impromptu visit earlier and therefore I don't care how much I drink.

I've gotten pretty good at being a functioning drunk (cause I'm not an alcoholic). Sometimes, I'm almost positive no one knows. I'm pretty sneaky about it all, unless you're someone like Rosalie who can't mind their own damn business.

I giggle to myself as I munch on my chicken wings.

When I'm outside my house, which isn't often, I look like everyone else. Well, except everyone else probably doesn't carry an engraved flask in their coat pocket. But that's neither here nor there.

Looking to my right I see some mid-aged cougar leaning over the bar, her breasts on display. She's trying way too hard to gain Alec's attention, but he's ignoring her attempts completely.

For some reason I find this immensely funny.

The laughter comes out of nowhere.

I haven't laughed in so long that sound is foreign and it takes me a moment to realize I am the one laughing.

Alec's blurry shape becomes larger as he walks my way.

I'm still laughing like a crazed maniac at the floozy down the bar.

"Hey, hey you!" I point at said floozy. "Sorry, but I think one of your tits just popped out of your shirt!"

My voice is way too loud, but the horrified expression on the woman's face makes it worth it. I can hear Alec's laughter nearby, and I smile cheekily, quite proud of myself.

I go to spin back towards the bar, having turned to yell at the cougar who has suddenly disappeared from the bar stool, but the room sways as I do so. My butt begins to slide off the stool, but I catch myself, just barely.

"Whoa there, you okay?"

Alec's concerned filled eyes are level with mine, and I just grin at him.

"You're sexy," I state pointedly, and I watch as he smiles warmly at me.

"And you've had too much to drink."

"It's a shame I'm broken. Otherwise I'd totally try to get in your pants right now."

My brain is telling my mouth to shut up, but it's not listening. My words are slurred together, and my vision is spotty.

How many glasses did I drink? How many shots?

By the look on my bartender's face he's trying to mentally count up my drinks as well.

I finish off the last of my glass and set it, more like slam it, on the bar top. "Fill 'er up," is what I think I say. At least it's what I meant to say.

Alec apparently speaks drunk because he pries the cup from my hands and shakes his head.

"I think you're done for the night Bella," he says, his voice full of authority.

This time I do slide off the stool and land firmly on my butt. Hard.

"Shit," I curse as I try to help myself back up.

There are hands helping me, but I swat them away. I'm a big girl, I can do it myself.

"Bella, can you hear me?" a voice whispers nearby.

"What?" I yell in return.

My head is spinning, dipping, like I'm on a merry-go-round going way too fast.

"Bella!" The voice is more frantic now, but I can't respond.

Round and round we go … where she stops, nobody knows …

I'm singing in my head. It's only fitting considering how much everything is swirling around in circles right now.

It makes me laugh again.

Round and round we go … down into a deep dark hole …

The spinning stops.

It all goes black.