A/N: Hello! New chapter time! Thank you to everyone who reviewed and added my stories to their faves and alerts! It makes me so happy!
Until the End
I stared at the small ridges in the wall, imagining faces made out of them, faces that were never there once I looked at the same place a second time. My plate of spaghetti lay in my lap, barely touched and starting to get cold. The light snores of Jessica and Lauren reached my ears, but I paid no attention.
After settling into the hotel and unpacking all of our belongings, the kind man named Carlisle Cullen invited us to rest in some of the rooms of the hotel. Jacob gladly accepted his offer and stuck me in here with the girls, probably thinking we would get along together. He was very mistaken; ever since we'd started this godforsaken trip, I'd been subjected to their giggles and whisperings about me. But I wasn't about to say anything. We had enough problems as it was. My girl troubles were quite insignificant in the general view of things.
It was dark now, probably about eight, and my body was exhausted, but my mind was going 100 miles per hour. I couldn't even think of sleeping with the incredible relief that we were finally safe. I was sitting at the table that was provided in the hotel room, holding my face in my hands, my elbows bent on top of the table.
I'd finally taken a hot shower for the first time since we'd packed up and left Washington. It had been unbearable in the earlier months when it was freezing, but it got a little more tolerable once spring started. But taking cold bath after cold bath, using the same water as twenty other people can be understandably annoying. The hot water running over my skin had felt like heaven; all the dirt and sadness drained down into the bottom of the tub.
I got up from my chair, setting my spaghetti in the middle of the table. Maybe I would eat it later. I walked over to the only window in the room and opened the curtain. We were on the sixth floor, and the height was just above the top of the steel wall. I couldn't see any zombies from here, for which I was thankful. I saw a few people on the ground outside, chatting and such. Straight across from me, far away, was the ladder that the men climbed on to get on the landing of the wall to shoot at the monsters. There was another ladder that led to a sole compartment just big enough for about four people. It was just a small circular area with a wall of bricks that would reach a man to his waist. I supposed another soldier stood watch there at all times. How boring it must be there sometimes, just waiting for something to happen… I closed the curtain and climbed into the other bed, falling asleep only when I forced my mind to clear.
The next morning I woke up early, long before Jessica and Lauren. I walked out of the room and down the stairs. Six flights and a pain in my side later, I was on the patio next to the unused pool. I saw Jake talking to Sam and decided he had ignored me long enough. I wanted to talk.
However, as soon as I reached him, he deflected me and ordered me to join some of the other women eating breakfast. I glared at him before obliging. I sat down at one of the wooden tables next to two women speaking Spanish. I had just grabbed a Styrofoam plate when I heard someone say my name.
"Oh my God. Bella fucking Swan." I turned towards the potty mouth, recognizing the voice with disbelief.
I ran to the little pixie and jumped on her, bringing us both to the ground.
"Hey, girl, watch the Jimmys." I looked down at Alice Brandon's high heels.
"Only you, Mary Alice Brandon, would wear Jimmy Choos even after the apocalypse." She rolled her eyes and smiled with a face that said, 'I know.'
She threw her arms around me again. "I missed you so much, Bella! I knew you were alive. Just wait till I tell Jasper!"
"Jasper is here?" I asked.
"Yes!" she yelped, looking over her shoulder for him.
I had met Alice Brandon my sophomore year of high school. I didn't really have any friends, not because I was stuck up but because I was very shy. I was a non-conformist; I never considered myself to be better than anyone, but I knew I didn't want to dress or act like any of the other girls in my classes. I wore plaid button down shirts and jeans. My hair was always down because I didn't grow into my freaky ears until two years later.
Alice Brandon had been expelled from her old high school in Port Angeles freshman year and moved to Forks High in the middle of March. I knew of her but we didn't share any classes that semester. Then the next year, we had the same lunch. I'd been eating an apple and reading A Clockwork Orange for the fourth time, feeling like a badass for not even cringing at the rape scene—though I had the first time I'd read it, but that was beside the point—when Alice sat next to me and told me my torso was beautiful and that I was punishing it with hideous clothing every day. We'd been inseparable ever since. I later learned that she'd told a girl at her old school that if she would lose ten pounds, she could fit one of Alice's olive sweaters that would go perfect with her skin tone and eye color. Apparently the girl didn't appreciate the 'compliment' and decked Alice, who fought back in defense. They were both expelled, thus how Alice came to be at my school.
"Jazzy! Look what I found!" Alice dragged me towards her boyfriend of nearly two years. Gone was the pale complexion of Jasper's skin. He was sun kissed from his forehead to the tips of his fingers. His blond hair was shaggy and much longer than it had been in February.
"Oh my gosh! It's Bella!" Jasper exclaimed, taking me into a tight hug. "This is a miracle!"
"I know! I feel like I'm dreaming. You guys don't know how glad I am to see you!" Before I knew it, tears were streaming down my face and Alice was comforting me.
"Bella, sweetheart, it's okay. You're safe now; there's no need to cry," Alice said.
I shook my head, trying to make myself stop crying. "I know, Alice. But I've gone so long with no one. All I have is Jacob, and sometimes I feel like I don't even want him around anymore."
"What do you mean no one? You have Charlie," she said, patting my back. That only made me sob harder.
I shook my head. "Charlie didn't make it, Alice." I heard her gasp.
"I'm so sorry, Bella," she said. "Well, you have us now. You're not alone." The last three words calmed me, and the sting in my eyes faded.
I wiped the leftover tears and attempted a smile. "You're right, Al."
"I love you, girl."
"I love you, too."
I ate a hefty breakfast to make up for my lack of dinner the night before and hung out with Alice and Jasper for hours. She told me about how they had tried to go to Australia and had been turned around just in time. Then she and her family wandered around, trying to keep safe until they heard about the safe place here.
"I've just about got Portuguese down. And I learned how to say get off my dick in Spanish yesterday. You should be proud," Alice said.
"Oh, I am, believe me."
I was telling her more about how my dad had died and the whole situation with Jacob when a brawny, tall man walked up to us and shook Jasper's hand.
"Good luck, man. Don't fall asleep this time," the man chuckled as Jasper got up and took a gun from the man's back.
Jasper scoffed, looking back at Alice and me. "Don't listen to him; he's the one who always dozes off." The man chuckled as Jasper kissed Alice and walked away. I gave Alice a questioning look, completely confused. She quickly started to explain.
"Bella, this is Emmett. He helps guard the walls just like almost every man here that's able to. He and Jasper have the same job with different shifts. Jasper is taking over for the next few hours."
We shook hands and he and Alice made easy conversation. After just ten minutes of listening to him talk, I could tell Emmett was an optimistic, outgoing guy. He smiled constantly and had both Alice and me laughing after everything he said.
Not long later while the three of us watched everyone cleaning up their dinner, a voluptuous blond woman came over, her hands on her hips and her eyes glaring at Emmett. He stood up from the wooden bench and mimicked her stance, though his glare was more comical than anything.
"What have I done this time?" he asked her.
"Your face," she replied, not even sparing Alice and me a glance.
"What about my face?" he asked, amusement coloring his tone.
"It irritates me."
"Would you like for me to get a new one? Cause you sure weren't complaining about my face the other night—"
"You little bastard!" she exclaimed, walking up to him and shoving a finger into his chest. "How dare you make up such things in front of people? If you think for one second that you can tarnish my reputation with your lies—"
"Oh, you just don't want to face it, blondie. You want me so much that you don't know what to do with yourself," Emmett laughed out, smiling at her.
"You arrogant son of a—"
"Bitch? I know you are but what am I?" he finished immaturely. Alice and I couldn't help but laugh at the show we were getting. "You even make up reasons to argue with me just so you have a reason to come talk to me! I know the way you work, Missy, and I'm not falling for this little act of pretending to hate me."
"Bah!" the woman growled, frustrated. She turned on her heel without another word and walked away.
"I love you, too!" Emmett shouted back. He turned around to face us again, his cheeks pink.
"What was that about?" I asked, still laughing.
"That's Rosalie. She's Carlisle's daughter. And she's madly in love with Em here, but she would die before admitting it," Alice said, patting Emmett on the back.
"S'okay. She'll come around eventually," he said, rubbing the back of his neck in embarrassment. He left a few minutes later, muttering something that sounded an awful lot like, "Damn woman."
"You'll stay with me from now on, won't you, Bella?" Alice asked.
"Um…" I hesitated. "Don't you and Jasper want to be together? Alone?"
"Hah! Jasper usually works the night shift. I'm all on my lonesome most nights, so you should stay with me from now on. Tonight, though, Edward has the job."
"Oh, okay," I said, a little disappointed. I wished this Edward would take the shift now and then Jazz could work later and I'd have my best friend. Honestly, I didn't want to let her out of my sight, afraid she would disappear again.
"You've met Edward, haven't you?" Alice asked.
I shook my head and Alice giggled. "Well, you definitely want to," she said.
"Oh, yeah, he's a total hunk. He's Rosalie's brother, but don't worry, he's nothing like her."
"Alice, I'm not here to search for a boyfriend."
"Hey, I'm just saying. Just wait till you see him. He's not hard to miss; he wears these cargo camouflage pants and a black tank a lot of the time, and he always has a big gun over his shoulder. And sometimes, when it's really hot, he wears a black sweatband around his forehead. He is the definition of the word soldier." She winked at me mischievously.
I awarded her with an eye roll and got up from our table.
"Is there any way I can wash some clothes?"
I hung out with Alice for the rest of the day. She showed me around the whole place and I met a few other people who spoke English. Alice, being the social butterfly that she was, stopped and talked to just about everyone, even if they couldn't understand what each other was saying.
I washed my clothes and helped the cooks prepare dinner later on, but before we could eat, Alice insisted that I join her in grabbing Jasper from his post since he was about to finish his shift. I reluctantly followed her, trying to ignore the smell of red beans and rice in the other direction.
When we reached the wall where Jasper was, there was already a man there, kneeled down and checking a gun. Jasper was descending from the ladder of the highest point of the wall.
"Hello, Edward," Alice said cheerfully. "Checking your gun for the five-hundredth time today?" She turned and gave me a quick smirk.
The man's eyes swiveled up to the pair of us, and I had to bite my lip to keep from gasping. He was a hunk. A total hunk. He examined Alice before looking over to me. Without a word, he slowly stood up, apparently satisfied with the weapon in his hands. I made sure to keep eye contact with those beautiful green orbs, but staring at his perfect face was like staring at the sun. It hurt. He was tall, easily six feet, and very tan. His hair was a light brown-red with a few natural looking blond streaks. He wore a pair of black cargo pants and a black tank, paired with white Nikes on his feet. What really got my attention, though, was the belt around his waist that held two giant knives on both sides of his body.
Without really acknowledging us, he slung the gun around his shoulder and looked up at Jasper.
Alice was not to be ignored, however. "Edward, this is my friend Bella. She's part of the group that came here yesterday."
Edward—being polite, I suppose—merely nodded in my direction. But before Alice could release her fury on him, Jasper touched down on the ground and greeted Edward. The next moment, Edward was climbing the ladder quicker than need be. If I didn't know any better, I'd have thought he was running from us.
"What crawled up his ass?" Alice asked Jasper loud enough for Edward to still hear.
"Oh, you should be used to it by now, Al," Jasper said, wrapping an arm around her and turning her back the way we came—toward the food.
I followed a few feet behind them, not nearly as disappointed as Alice was about Edward ignoring me. Like I'd said before, I had more important things to worry about.
Just one more time out of curiosity, though, I turned around and looked up at the man called Edward.
He was already at the top of the tower, sitting and seemingly looking right at me. I couldn't make out his face, however, because it was dark out and he was quite far up. As soon as he saw that I was looking, he immediately stood up and turned his back to me, looking down at the zombies outside the wall.
How strange, I thought, turning back to Alice. He didn't even say one word.
A/N: Oh, how sorry I am! But I'm back…again. This story gives me the most difficulty because it's the least developed of all the ones I have. Unlike Stranded and No Such Thing, I don't know exactly how this story ends; I started on a whim, and it's hard to just go with it, but I'm trying. Maybe if I write short chapters, I can dish them out more often. The other stories haven't been posted because I wouldn't allow myself to write the others till I finished this chapter. But it's finished now, so the others should be updated soon!
PS: I am having surgery on June 21st, and I'll be on bed rest for 6 weeks. Expect me to write more then :)