A/N: As always, I own nothing-all characters originally created by Stephenie Meyer. I'm just borrowing them to spin my own yarn for awhile.
I apologize in advance to any massage therapists, chiropractors or A&R reps who might actually read this story. My knowledge of the afore-mentioned is strictly as someone on the receiving end of your talents. All the research in the world can't replace experience, but I took a stab at accuracy, anyway. I also apologize to any Seattlites, as it will probably be clear to you that I don't know exactly what I'm talking about! All specific places are fictitious, though I did try to place them in a few general areas of Seattle. I'm realizing more and more why the adage "write what you know" exists.
Enough of the boring stuff...on with the story. If you like what you read, please let me know. If you have suggestions or questions, let me know those, too. Feedback is appreciated!
From the Desktop of Bella Swan
Monday, July 12
You won't believe it, Mom - it happened again. I threw my back out.
Of course, I say this as if I didn't help it along in spectacular fashion by doing something so simple, yet so idiotic, that I almost feel like I deserve it. Just when I think my back is fine and I forget to baby it, it reminds me that it will never quite be normal. Just like me, I guess.
Luckily I had some leftover muscle relaxants from the last time, so I was able to get by until today, when I went to see Dr. Cullen. Dad offered to drive down from Forks to take care of me, but I told him it wasn't necessary, since my roomie was more than willing to help. Angela did the grocery shopping and cooking all weekend, and she and Ben tried to keep my spirits up. The drugs knocked me out though, which is just as well. Not being able to stand up straight severely limits the things you can do to entertain yourself. I just laid around like a bum, reading "the usual" when I'm feeling sorry for myself. The Complete Works of Jane Austen is still my favorite gift that you ever gave me, by the way.
Dr. Cullen renewed my prescription and told me to rest another day or two, so I missed work again. Rose seemed okay with it, and told me she just wanted me to be in fighting form by the weekend so I could continue to scout the local music scene for The Next Big Thing. After all, that's what Java Noise (barely) pays me for. Dr. Cullen told me that if I take it easy, I should be able to get back to my normal activities, within reason. You'd like him, Mom. He looks like a movie star, all wavy blond hair, straight white teeth and dimples. If he were closer to my age, I'd probably be half-swooning when I leave his office.
He made an appointment for me to see his son Emmett later this week, after my muscle spasms calm down a little bit. Emmett has a chiropractic office across the hall from his father. If he's as good-looking as his dad, I might very well swoon yet. I'll let you know on Friday after my appointment.
I'd tell you what I did to mess up my back, but honestly, I can't commit it to writing, it's so embarrassing. It's even dumber than the time I seized up after throwing my head back to gargle mouthwash, if you can believe that. What am I saying? Of course you can. There's a reason you didn't name me "Grace." It's hilarious enough that my last name is "Swan."
For right now, I think it's time to suffer in silence. Well, metaphorically speaking. My iPod is already queued up with my favorite melancholy babies to soothe my soul. I'll let you know how everything goes later this week.
Love you, miss you.
Edward's Little Black Notebook
Thursday, July 15
I saw a girl who looked just like you on the ferry today, Tanya.
I had to do a double take because the resemblance was so uncanny. Same strawberry blonde hair pulled back in a pony tail, same clear hazel eyes. But then I realized the curve of her mouth was different; her nose a little too long. And then I laughed at myself for even having to look twice, when I know damned well you weren't on that boat this morning.
After the woman caught me staring, she stared back. It was that same, familiar, tiresome stare that most women give me. You used to joke that my vanity was second only to my arrogance, but you know that neither could be further from the truth. I've known I was good-looking since the tenth grade, but not for any reason that the mirror ever proved. The looking glass didn't suddenly reveal anything that I hadn't picked apart or agonized over before puberty claimed me. I still had the same slightly flat, off-kilter nose and crooked smile I'd always had. In fact, those flaws were now being overshadowed by the encroachment of an increasingly shaggy set of eyebrows that had formed a sparse, downy caterpillar over the bridge of my nose. My jaw was beginning to jut from my neck like a geometric figure out of my algebra textbook, and it was starting to sprout prodigious amounts of hair as well. I was pretty well stoked the first time I had to shave, even though I gave myself five toilet-paper nicks in the process.
None of this self-examination at the tender age of fifteen proved that any sort of alluring metamorphosis had occurred. Nevertheless, that was the age when girls suddenly began blushing and giggling and staring up at me from under fluttering eyelashes when they passed my locker at school.
At first I thought it was because I was tall. My summer growth spurt had put me a good head above many of the other boys whose hormones hadn't been as cooperative as mine had. But even after some of them caught up to my six-foot-plus height, I still seemed to be the most frequent target of girls dropping pencils in front of me in order to flaunt their assets while bending over to pick them up.
It took a few years before I grew tired of the obvious girls. Early on, I was easily swayed by a pretty face and a glimpse of cleavage or a curvy thigh. I was especially excited when older girls took an interest in me. Older girls were more experienced…more willing to let my hands explore where they wanted to. I still can't smother the tinge of smugness I feel when I recall losing my virginity to a college girl when I was still a junior in high school. You can imagine how I was the envy of all my high school buddies (and yes, I was that thoughtless and indiscreet at sixteen). There were definite perks to having a good-looking older brother with equally attractive friends. I wonder where that girl is now? Lauren. Blonde and Barbie-doll like, she was incapable of carrying on a decent conversation, but she was a firecracker in the sack. Back then, that was enough. Now I wonder if anything or anyone will be enough.
I can almost hear your bitter reply to that one. Maybe you're right. Maybe I'm the one standing in the way of my own happiness. I'm just sorry I stood in the way of yours. It's the one thing I can't seem to forgive myself for.
So glad tomorrow is Friday. One more day at Cullen and Cullen and I'm free. I say that as if I don't love my work, when you know I do. Dad would have liked for me to do more with my life than be Emmett's sidekick - at least, I'm sure that's how he sees it. You'd think that as a doctor, he would acknowledge the benefits of massage therapy as much as chiropractics. Then again, I think Dad was disappointed that neither of his sons went into "proper" medicine like he did. At least Emmett's choice gives him a license to put on the wall. Mine does, too, but I can see in Dad's eyes that he thinks it's not worth the piece of paper it's printed on.
Still, he refers patients to us when he thinks they could benefit from our particular skills. There's a new girl coming in tomorrow who needs an adjustment and probably some myofascial work, since an old injury keeps flaring up and giving her problems. It's always amazing to me how perfectly healthy someone can look on the outside, but when I examine the person, there are untold issues lurking just below the surface. The body never lies.
Man, I'm really looking forward to letting off some steam this weekend. I'm doing the open mic night thing tomorrow night at the Java Shack, and Saturday night at Billy's Brew Pub. Jasper and I have been working on a couple of numbers together, so that should be fun. Alice has developed quite the crush on him since she came home from school this summer, so I'm sure she'll be in the audience, making more noise for us than we could possibly deserve. But that's Alice for you. As little sisters go, I definitely lucked out, even though she does drive me crazy sometimes.
Shit, I hate when phrases like that slip out. Sorry. You were never crazy, Tanya. Just lost. We all lose our way. I'm just sorry I couldn't…I wasn't….
I won't go down this road again. It never does any good. I'll let you know how the weekend goes.