*As you're about to hear Bella for the first time, I want to remind you –or perhaps clarify– that she'd been in a coma for just over 2 years prior to waking on her sixteenth birthday. This chapter picks up approximately 3 months later.
**Thank you to both u2Shay & Linguist for their pre-reading & beta services. I appreciate you ladies more than you know.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. Any original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Waking up is the most stressful part of my day. I open my eyes each morning and every single time I'm brought right back to the moment my life began. As far as I'm concerned, that happened right here in this room just about three months ago.
I have no memory of a life before opening my eyes. All I know is what's happened after.
My doctor says that I defy modern medicine. He and all of the staff here consider me a miracle. So do my parents. I question this regularly. If I was a miracle, I wouldn't be broken. And I am broken. There is something intrinsically wrong with me. My doctors, therapists and case workers insist that I am fine, but they can't be right.
They can't be right when I can't even remember my own name. Bella. Isabella Marie Swan. The title holds no familiarity at all. I know it is the name assigned to me simply because I was informed that was the case on the day I woke up. But I personally remember nothing. Not a flash, not a flicker.
Not even when I met my parents. At the time, it felt like I was being introduced to strangers and told about a life that wasn't my own. I didn't know where I fit into the things they were telling me and despite their care and concern for me, I felt utterly lost and alone. I still do.
I look in the mirror and see a face that was a stranger to me. Sure, now I recognize her, ninety-two days after I first saw my reflection— a girl with sunken brown eyes and dull brown hair. I recognize that she is me when I brush my teeth or wash my face, and I can see that the face in the mirror looks like the woman in the picture frame next to my bed. And I know, again because I was informed of the fact, that that woman is Renee Swan Dwyer. My mother. She resembles me and raised a child that looked exactly like me, but I feel no connection to either the mother or the child. Not even a little.
The day I met the woman in the frame, was the day that I broke her heart. Renee arrived ready and willing to throw her arms up in the air and praise God for bringing her daughter back to her, but I can't remember being her daughter. I can't remember that she's my mother. I've been told she is and I accept it. We do resemble each other, after all. But that's it.
She has told me she loves me and tells me it's okay if I don't love her back right away, but the truth of the matter is, Renee Dwyer is not willing to let go of the child she raised. But I am not that child. She stayed for as long as she could, and she even asked me to come with her when it was time for her to go back where she came from. But how could I leave the only home I've ever known to travel to a place called Florida with a woman I barely know and who wants me to be someone I'm not? So she left without me.
My father, on the other hand, never leaves. And strangely enough, I don't usually want him to. When I first woke up and was distraught, his deep voice brought me comfort. Dr. Cullen says it's probably because he spent at least an hour with me every day just talking to me while I was unconscious. I'm thankful for Charles Swan's faithfulness to the daughter he lost. I am also supremely thankful that he was willing to let her go and embrace the young woman that he gets to talk to now when he visits me every day. As time passes, there is a small sense of belonging that I feel when I look at him. It makes me feel a little less lost.
Charlie can't be here all the time though. He is the police chief in the tiny town where we live and has a life outside of these four walls. Supposedly I will, too, someday. But right now that thought is frightening.
I have some intrinsic knowledge about the world around me, but little experience to draw from. I'm able to identify simple things and simple concepts, but complex situations are confusing to me. For instance, I never know how to act around anyone or how I should relate to them. I have a difficult time showing the proper emotions or reactions to the world around me. It's frustrating to me and most everyone else in my life.
News of my miraculous recovery has made the rounds and every once in a while I get a card or a letter from someone who knew me in my former life. Most of them come from kids my age in Arizona. One or two come from Forks or nearby La Push. I'm not sure how I feel about these encounters—if you can call them that—but I have no real friends outside of my father, so I am glad for the well-wishes and the stories from wonderful friends that I might have had once.
Sometimes my mother writes and her notes are often the same. Stories of my old life and things she's hoping I'll remember. I want to hope, too, but with each picture or knick-knack she sends, I feel a little more adrift in the sea of my forgetfulness.
I tell Dr. Cullen this one day when he comes by to deliver a lunch his wife made for me. He listens to my thoughts and asks to see the letter and pictures my mother sent me. Unlike the therapists I see several times a week, he asks me no questions about them, he simply comments on things like how many more freckles I have on my face now than the eight year old in the picture did then. This makes me smile, and I am grateful for his presence.
He waits until I am finished eating before bringing up something he's been wishing to discuss. I am curious because he looks nervous and I can't imagine why. He's the adult, and a handsome doctor, no less. He finally tells me about his wife and how they couldn't have children of their own.
I wrinkle my brow until he mentions his youngest daughter. He says he thinks she is about my age, and ironically, she has no memories of her life before Dr. and Mrs. Cullen adopted her a few years ago. He wants to know if I'd like to meet her and, of course, I want to but I'm nervous. I think I was probably shy before my accident.
Dr. Cullen assures me that she wants to meet me, too, so on a normal rainy Tuesday in January, Alice Cullen comes to the hospital to meet me.
I have just finished two hours of physical therapy to help rebuild the muscles in my legs that had withered while I was in my coma. She shows up with Ben & Jerry's ice cream and a stack of books. I wonder if she'd been talking with my father because all of the titles were ones I'd requested from him just the week before. She brings them to me after a simple greeting and tells me they are a loan from her and her brother. I blush for some unknown reason and ask her to thank him for me.
"I'll tell him," she says happily. "He was a bit jealous that I was getting to meet the famous Bella Swan. You're somewhat of a celebrity at our house. Carlisle talks about you all the time."
Her words make my face heat even more and Alice laughs, her voice a soft soprano that reminds me of an angels' chorus. I don't know how I know this, but I'm 100% certain that's what it sounds like.
"Sorry," she says, "I didn't mean to embarrass you."
"It's okay. I just don't know how to deal with new situations and information very well sometimes."
"That's normal, I think," she says, folding herself gracefully onto the end of my bed. She passes me the now open pint of ice cream and a spoon. I accept it with what I hope is a grateful smile.
"Do you want to share it with me?" I ask. "We could..."
"Oh, no. Not today anyway."
My eyes go wide as I take a small bite. I feel strange about eating in front of her. She clears her throat and I look up at her shy smile. She is so beautiful, like a shorter haired version of the elven princess in that Lord of the Rings movie that's on cable all the time. She seems like she could glow, or float, or maybe both.
As I take tiny bites of the delicious treat she bought me, she begins to tell me the story of her life, in so much as she can remember. Alice, like me, has total retrograde amnesia. But shockingly, she doesn't even know what happened to her to cause it. Instead of waking in a hospital like I did, she woke up completely alone in the middle of nowhere.
"You must have been so terrified," I whispered.
Alice smiles. "It was very disorienting and I was afraid at first."
"How did you ever get out of the woods?"
She hesitates for a moment and examines my face as though she were looking for something.
"Can I be honest with you?"
"Of course," I answer immediately.
"I don't normally tell people this because they wouldn't understand."
I nod. "Okay."
"Sometimes I just know things, Bella. I can't explain to you how it works, but there are times when I can sort of see my way out of a situation as it happening, or even before."
"Like you can tell the future sometimes?" I ask.
Alice nods and holds a finger to her lips to silence me. "Nobody can know though. Can you imagine what would happen to me if they did? They'd try to lock me up."
I smile. "You're probably right, but I won't say anything."
Alice grins. "I know you won't. I can tell things about you, too, you know."
I blush and look at my hands. "Like what?"
"Like we're going to be the best of friends," Alice answers assuredly. Then she hugs me and whispers in my ear. "And it won't always be this hard. I can see that for certain."
I take some small comfort in the words of my new friend.
Alice comes to see me every Tuesday after that. After another couple of weeks, she adds Fridays to the mix. Soon she's making a special stop just to check that I have enough reading material to keep me busy or to bring me clean clothes during the week.
She and her mother have taken over laundry duty from poor Charlie who ruined the first blouse Alice ever loaned me. Sometimes I grow suspicious that she's not actually letting me borrow from her wardrobe but she's really just buying me a wardrobe of my very own. I don't have any proof though, and she always knows just how to distract me to keep me off of her trail.
Of course, none of that really matters because I'm much happier since gaining Alice as a friend. Even my father has noticed the change, and he adores Alice for it. He says I seem more like the old Bella when Alice is around. I wonder if it's simply because we both have past traumatic brain injuries that resulted in us losing our memories. But something tells me it's more than that.
Alice understands me in a way nobody else does and as the weeks pass, I begin to see Charlie's point. I begin to think that my friend is a more effective therapist for me than the one assigned to my case by the hospital. Dr. Cullen is a genius for bringing us together and a few months after meeting Alice, I am sure to tell him so.
The next week he orders a round of tests to be completed to see just how far I've come since I woke up from my coma. They will also start evaluating whether or not I'm ready to go home. I panic a little, because I don't have a home outside of my hospital room, but Alice reassures me everything will be fine and I can't help but believe her.
"Good. And this one?"
"That's right. What kind of food?"
"Very good, Bella. This one?"
"Is that all it is?"
"A cell phone," I clarify.
"Very good. Now, let's try some with people and relationships."
Sarah Beth, my occupational therapist, puts one pile of cards down and picks up another.
"What is this a picture of?"
I sigh and purse my lips. "A family," I say, bored already.
She smiles and looks at the card. "That's right, how about this one?"
"Try again. They look a little bit alike don't you think?"
I nod. "Yeah, they might be sisters."
"They are. Very good. This one?" She changes the card.
"Right and the rest of the people in the picture?"
The lesson continues in the same fashion for the prescribed hour while I show off all I've learned about how inference helps human beings understand relationships. At this point, I'm told it's almost impossible to tell I've ever had a traumatic brain injury, except for the retrograde amnesia. It's been six months, but I still can't recall a thing about my life before Forks.
Alice, Carlisle, and even Charlie, all promise me that I'll have a life outside of these four walls soon, but I'm still not sure I want that right now. Everything I know for certain is in this hospital. How am I supposed to survive out in the real world?
Last week my mother, Renee, came to visit me again. She came with photo albums and even a videotape from her wedding. The wedding that took place just days before I fell off of a waterfall and nearly died. Or maybe I did die. I was brain dead, after all.
It is still a mystery as to how my brain healed. Nothing in modern science can explain it. I've watched enough Discovery Health in the last few months to know that these things sometimes happen, but it's still a hurdle I can't overcome. Sometimes I look in the mirror and wonder why I am here. Or how I was healed. I do not understand, and I feel unworthy.
I look up from my lap as Sarah Beth packs up her things and makes some notes. "You're doing really well, Bella. I know you don't feel that way sometimes, but your recovery has been phenomenal. You're exactly where you should be."
No, I think. I should be lying in that bed in a coma. But I do not tell her that. Instead, I make a joke –sort of.
"I guess I am, considering that I'm a six month old stuck in a sixteen-year-old's body."
Sarah Beth smiles and tilts her head. "See? That right there proves you're wrong. I don't know many sixteen year olds with that kind of wit, let alone six month olds." She pats my cheek. "Please, don't get too down on yourself."
"Oh, she won't. I'll make sure of that." And as if she already knows how I'm feeling today, Alice Cullen appears in my doorway with my favorite ice cream and a huge smile.
"Hi, Alice," Sarah Beth greets her. "I was wondering if I was going to see you today."
"I try not to disappoint," Alice chirps.
"Well, I'm glad you're here," Sarah Beth answers, giving Alice a meaningful look.
Alice nods and makes her way towards me with my Ben & Jerry's and two spoons this time.
"Hey, Alice," I greet her.
"How did you know today was a Chunky Monkey kind of day?" I ask as she sits.
"How do I know it's not going to rain tomorrow? Who knows?" She shrugs, and we laugh because she's so right. I've learned to accept Alice's quirks, and it doesn't even freak me out that she's right all the time.
Handing me the frozen container in question and one of the spoons, she lets me dig in to the pint we'll share first. I take my bite and hand it back to her.
"So, how was school today?" I ask as soon as I've swallowed. I decided a week or two ago that I wanted to go to school again someday like a normal kid, so these conversations are my reconnaissance work. I'm going to learn as much as I can before bringing it up to Charlie. Alice knows this and indulges me.
"It was fine. There was a fire drill during first period. It scared the living daylights out of all the... kids. It was very entertaining."
I smile and nod and try to imagine if I would have found it frightening or entertaining. Probably frightening.
She passes the ice cream back to me.
"What about you, how was your day?" Alice asks sweetly.
"It was fine," I answer.
"Uh, huh. And that's why you were in need of banana flavored muck with chocolate and nuts in it."
"Hey! You're eating it, too!" I answer in defense, shoveling my bite in my mouth before passing the container back to her.
She takes it and digs around for a while before finding her perfect bite. Alice always has to find the perfect bite. Some people would whine about her taking the best chunks out of the ice cream, but it's not like that with her. And somehow, I swear that I always end up eating most of it, anyway. As soon as she's done fooling around in the ice cream, she passes it back to me and clicks on the television.
I sit back against my bed and scoot over, patting the space next to me. Three months ago, Alice had to help me slide over and I smile at the thought as she climbs up. Occupational therapy and psychotherapy aren't the only rehabilitation I've required. I've been in physical therapy five days a week for the last twenty seven weeks. I had to build up my muscles just so that I could stand or brush my own hair. I had to do exercises just to be able to dress myself, feed myself, brush my teeth and hold a pencil.
Not to mention learning to walk again. It's been exhausting and tedious, but I can finally walk across the room and stand long enough to take a shower. I still have a long way to go, but I'm doing better than I was initially. I'm doing better than I should be for someone who was lying in a coma for two years.
Alice snaps her fingers in front of my face, and I realize I've zoned out on her.
"How's It's Made or Mythbusters today, Bella?" she asks.
I'm hopelessly addicted to The Science Channel and Alice doesn't seem to mind watching with me. Plus she patiently explains things when I get confused. I'm fascinated with the things I see on television because my own existence is, for the most part, a complete an utter void.
"How It's Made is fine with me," I answer. Alice selects the channel, and I take another bite of ice cream. We watch the first segment about springs. Alice tells me she's done with the ice cream, so I put the lid on it and set it aside because I'm done, too. The topic of the second segment of the show is pianos.
"Edward plays piano," Alice says while we watch the sound boards being constructed.
"Really?" I ask.
"Yes. Rosalie and Esme play, too. Jasper plays guitar and accordion..."
"He learned how to play just to annoy Edward."
I stop and look at the ethereal creature sitting next to me. "Why?"
"Why not?" She shrugs.
I laugh. "Oo-kay... Tell me something else."
"I don't know, the rest of your family?"
"The family, or Edward?"
I blush and shrug. "Whatever."
"He likes you, too," she says quietly.
I don't say anything for a long time.
"I've never met him, Alice. How could I like him? And how could he possibly like me?"
"Oh, please, Bella. You're my best friend. I talk about you all the time."
"But he doesn't know me."
"He knows about you. That's enough."
I blush again and look at my fingers. "He has really good taste in books. And music."
"I'll tell him you said so."
I turn red. "Please don't."
She nudges me with her shoulder gently, but the bony part hits me, and I'm sure I'll have a bruise tomorrow. "He'd be glad to hear it."
"Well, maybe if I ever meet him, I'll tell him myself. You know, to thank him."
Alice gets that dreamy look in her eyes, and I know she's trying to see if she can do that thing where she figures out the future.
"Yes," she says, turning to me with a smile. "That would be nice. Someday."
"Someday," I say. And then my eyes are drawn to the window and the woods beyond.
I try to figure out why I wonder about Alice's mysterious brother so often. She brings him up a fair amount, and they seem very close, but I've never seen him at the hospital. Alice says his parents died in a hospital a long time ago and that he almost died, too. It's assumed that he doesn't like to be here for that reason. Not that I can blame him. Maybe once I leave here, I'll hate hospitals, too.
The next day Charlie is here for my physical therapy evaluation. Last week the powers that be decided to put me on the stair climbing machine because there are stairs in Charlie's house and the only bathroom is on the second floor. I fell off my first go-around, and this week I stumble and nearly fall off twice before the therapist moves me to the treadmill.
I feel angry tears pooling in my eyes. I don't like to fail. And I hate that I'm so clumsy.
"Bells..." Charlie says, getting up from his chair in the corner for the first time. "It's okay. It's not just because you had to learn to walk again."
I slow my pace and glance at him. He moves in front of the machine so I can see him.
"You were always a little less than coordinated. Even before..." He trails off and I realize that he doesn't want to say it.
"Before I fell to my doom?"
He smiles halfway, and it makes his mustache look funny. "Yeah, before you fell to your doom."
We both laugh nervously.
"Is that why I fell, do you suppose? You never talk about it. Neither does Renee."
Charlie clears his throat. "I think it was. The rocks were slippery. Renee should have known better."
"Do you blame her?" I ask for the first time. I've wondered this for a while.
He shakes his head. "I shouldn't. But I did for a long time."
"I wish I could remember if I wanted to go with her. Maybe it was something I always wanted to try."
Charlie smiles weakly. "Maybe... but I doubt it. You were very responsible. You knew yourself pretty well. The day before your accident, you called me and told me that Renee was trying to get you on a surfboard."
"Did I do it?"
"Of course not. We laughed about it like it was the craziest thing she'd ever suggested. Your mom was always trying crazy things."
I nod and continue walking. My feet only trip over each other once or twice.
"So, I've been thinking about selling that old house and buying a new place for a little while now," Charlie says after I stumble again.
"Why?" I ask, hoping I'm not the reason.
"Well... I was afraid to get rid of it before. It was all I had left of you and your mom back then. But now... it holds so many memories for me, and not all of them good ones. You got a fresh start and I think maybe I need one, too."
I nod and look away.
"How do you feel about that?" Charlie asks. The question sounds like he's reading from a script. I realize he's probably discussed this with my therapist.
"I'm not sure," I answer.
"Well, how do you feel when you think about moving into the house I've had since you were a baby. Into a room that was yours when your mom and I brought you home from the hospital the first time?"
I sigh. "I would feel weird."
"Okay. So, I know of a few places I'd like to consider already."
"I haven't really looked yet, it's just that being the sheriff has its perks."
"Meaning you know everybody's business?" I ask, smiling at him because I can tell he's embarrassed.
He clears his throat. "It's the nature of the job. Anyway, would you like to help me decide on one?"
"Sure," I shrug.
He smiles and nods. "Good. I'll talk to Dr. Cullen about getting you signed out for an afternoon this week, and I'll get somebody to show us the houses. It'll be like a practice run for when we spring you from this joint."
I almost fall off the treadmill and hit the emergency stop right away. "Wait... you mean, I have to leave the hospital! Now?"
Charlie looks around, uncomfortable with my shrieking no doubt. "Um... well, not now, but sometime this week. I thought it would be good for you. So it's not as difficult when you get discharged. Dr. Cullen agreed."
My heart is beating too fast and I can't breathe. I'm terrified for some unknown reason, but before I can go into full out anxiety attack mode, Dr. Cullen arrives and takes me by the shoulders.
"Bella, look at me," he orders. I meet his eyes, and he holds my gaze almost supernaturally. I feel like I'm locked in a tractor beam, but it's not an unpleasant sensation. Especially when all my fear falls away, and I can breathe again. "That's right, just breathe. You're fine."
Charlie looks frantic when I finally calm down, but he's trying to play it cool. Dr. Cullen smiles and rubs my shoulders lightly where he was gripping me. He has strong hands, and I'm always amazed that his touch can be so gentle.
"Better?" he smiles.
I nod. "Yeah, thank you. I'm sorry." I look at my father. "Sorry, Charlie."
He shakes his head. "It's okay, kiddo. I guess I shouldn't have sprung it on you."
"No," I say. "You didn't. I've just been..." I trail off. Dr. Cullen looks at me with a questioning gaze. I nod. He takes my hand and pats it once before turning to Charlie.
"Bella has been having some anxiety attacks. They are completely normal for someone making a transition like she is. Her therapist is working with her on some techniques to help her manage them, but as the time for her to leave the hospital gets nearer, they may get worse before they get better."
Charlie is shell shocked and sad.
"I'm sorry," I mutter.
Dr. Cullen whispers something comforting in my ear while Charlie rubs the back of his neck and examines the floor. He finally looks at me and tries to smile.
"Well, that seems... normal, right? I guess I'd be pretty freaked out, too," he says.
I shrug and feel more than a little lost again.
Charlie is quiet the rest of his visit. So am I. I apologize and so does he. He says he'll be back later for dinner but leaves to make the arrangements for house hunting. Dr. Cullen insists it's still a good idea.
I'm crying softly into my pillow when Alice arrives after school. She climbs onto the bed behind me and runs her fingers through my hair, smoothing it out of the rat's nest I'm sure that it's in. She says nothing but stays with me until I'm ready to talk.
"Charlie is going to buy a new house," I whisper.
"I have to leave the hospital."
"I'm..." I can't even find the words to say how I feel.
"I know, sweetie," Alice says, stroking my hair. "I brought you something, though."
I remain silent, but Alice knows I'm listening.
"Here," she says and a giant stuffed bumblebee thing appears in front of me.
I sniffle and sit up a little. "A Pillow Pet?"
She shrugs. "Somebody suggested you might like one."
I smile. "There was a little girl in therapy one day. She had the one that looked like a panda bear and let me hold it when I hurt myself falling off the stair machine."
"So you like it? We weren't entirely sure about the bee, but Bella starts with a 'B' and it's cheery."
I nod and blush, because it's slightly embarrassing. "It's perfect. Thank you."
Alice smiles and hugs me. I lie back down and tuck the bumblebee under my chin. Alice lies beside me and we talk about nothing until she says Charlie is on his way in. I honestly think she can read minds sometimes, too, and I tell her so. That makes her laugh.
I'm laughing again, too, by the time Charlie shows up. Alice is a miracle worker. She's done my hair and told me joke after joke about mind readers and psychics. She leaves so that I can have dinner with Charlie but tells me she'll be back the next day. Charlie hugs her and thanks her for everything.
"She's strong for such a little thing," Charlie comments when she's gone.
"I know," I say, nodding.
Charlie smiles. "You can bring her with us if you want. To look at houses, I mean." My answering smile is brilliant, and I immediately tell him I'll ask her to join us.
In the end, Alice doesn't make it for my field-trip with Charlie. The weather is going to be nice over the weekend and Dr. Cullen is taking some time off to take his brood of foster children out camping. I have a hard time imagining Alice roughing it, but she makes it sound like they go all the time.
When the weekend arrives and the sun shines brightly, I start to think I get why people would want to stay outdoors as much as possible. I've hardly experienced the sun since I can remember, so I am surprised by how familiar the warmth feels. Charlie takes me to a park, and we share some donuts and juice at a picnic table before we go to the first house. It's still chilly, but very beautiful.
We spend all day out. I get overwhelmed a handful of times, but I don't have an actual anxiety attack.
We find a house that Charlie and I both feel pretty excited about. It's nestled up against the Olympic Mountains and not too far from some river Charlie says is good for fishing. It's on the opposite side of town from his old house, but it's a newer house with a split bedroom floor plan. The real estate agent tells us this means that the master bedroom is on one side of the house while the rest of the bedrooms are on the other. The kitchen, dining, and living areas are in the middle, and Charlie thinks it sound's an ideal set-up for us. I agree.
Three weeks later, we're moving in. And I'm moving out.
"Well, that's the last of your things here, Bella," Alice says as she expertly packs the last small box of my stuff. You'd think she was a professional mover with the way she handled everything. "You're all ready to go home now."
I take a deep breath and hug my bumblebee tighter to me. The ridiculous thing has become like a security blanket since Alice gave it to me. I know it's juvenile behavior for a sixteen and a half year old girl, but then not many girls my age have fallen off of cliffs or spent two and a half years in a hospital.
Charlie walks back in from his last trip to the car and ruffles my hair.
"Yeah," I sigh. He chuckles because he's trying to keep things light for both of us.
"I'm just going to take this out to the cruiser then, okay? Come on out when you're ready."
"I want to say goodbye to the nurses first," I say.
He nods once and I know he'll wait as long as I need him to.
"Come on, Bella. You'll be back here on Monday for therapy anyway," Alice coaxes me.
"I know," I reply, but I make no move to get up from the chair I've been in for the last hour.
"You can do this."
"How did you do it?" I ask, gazing up into her pretty golden eyes. There are a thousand questions in my plain brown ones.
Alice smiles and kneels in front of me. "I put one foot in front of the other and I had faith in those I knew would love me along the way. Jasper... Carlisle... And Edward."
His name makes me smile. I still don't know why. Perhaps because of his silent but enduring kindness to me. It makes no sense, except that it is in line with what I've learned of the Cullens; they are a generous and loving family.
My belief in that truth is only solidified by Edward's gift to me this morning. It's a loan really, another book, but I know I could keep it as long as I wanted to. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett is one I've been longing to read. I wonder how he knew it would be the perfect distraction for me this week. I wonder if it was really Alice that knew, how she always knows.
I smile at her and take her hand. It's cold, like always, but a comfort to me as I stand and walk out the door.
Next update... has been delayed for re-writes. Hopefully, the wait is worth it.
(EDIT: 10/02/11- Shooting to finish the re-writes this week. Again, I'm sorry for the delay.) :-)