AN: A HUUUGE apology for the long delay. It's kind of a long story, but if you read the last chapter of Make or Break Me, I explain it there. Without further ado…
All things Twilight belong to SM
It was only eight in the morning, and I was on my way to see Bella. After I installed the battery, I had driven the truck and parked it at the corner of Renview while I had Emmett drive my own car.
I didn't know how shelters worked. I didn't know if she had to be out by a certain time or if she was able to hang out there all day. Not only that, I didn't know if she still planned on making the trip to Port Angeles today since she believed she was still without transportation.
When I arrived, I looked at the clock on my dashboard and realized it was only eight thirty. Was it too early? Taking a chance, I turned my car off and began walking up to the front porch.
It seemed like it was dilemma after dilemma. Do I knock, ring the bell, or just walk in? I guess, technically, it was a house, but it wasn't as if it just housed one family. I had no idea how crowded, or empty, the place would be.
I decided that knocking was probably my best bet. I lifted my hand to knock, but let it hang there before I actually did. I was nervous, that was for sure. I didn't know what I was walking into and that had me on edge. It would be one thing if I was only Bella and Charlie in there, but that wasn't the case.
I hated to think this way, but I just couldn't help it. What if the people in there were dangerous? Defensive over someone they thought was threatening? And if that was true, Bella and Charlie shouldn't be around people like that, though they didn't have a choice.
Deciding I was over thinking things, I quickly wrapped on the door and waited a few seconds. Nothing. Again. Nothing. Slight worry started to wash over me. Hoping that I wouldn't get Bella, Charlie, or myself in trouble, I open the door. To my surprise it was unlocked. I let myself in. When I rounded the corner, I could see a group of people gathered in an area that I guess could pass as some kind of living room.
I didn't recognize anyone there and continued my search for Bella and Charlie. As I looked in the rooms, I became impressed, for lack of a better term, with what I saw. I guess I was expecting to see a gymnasium setting, despite this being a house, with rows of cots lined up. However, this place looked more like a boarding house. There was even a decent looking kitchen, though nothing was cooking. There were people littered in the hallway with bags lined up against the wall and doors.
I ascended the stairs hoping that maybe I would find Bella up that way. I didn't have to look long because before I was even at the top step I heard Charlie.
"Don't worry about me. I was able to nab another shift today. Maybe Marcus can give you a ride up there. Give 'em a call."
Marcus? The same Marcus that was on that paper? I didn't know who he was, but he sure as hell wasn't taking her anywhere. I cleared my throat to let them know I was there. They both snapped their necks in my direction. Bella looked momentarily shocked, but corrected that quickly. She narrowed her eyes and me and crossed her arms across her chest.
"Edward?" Charlie asked. "What are you doing here?"
"Morning," I greeted both of them, but kept my gaze on Charlie; I couldn't look at Bella with the way she was glaring at me – it made me nervous. "I…fixed…well, a friend helped me fix Bella's truck. It's downstairs if she still plans on driving to Port Angeles." I felt like her eyes were burning a hole through my forehead and I had a great urge to say "fuck it" and turn around.
"Oh, well, isn't that nice, honey?" Charlie asked Bella, nudging her shoulder with his elbow. She turned her glare to him, but he seemed unfazed. I wish I had his courage!
"Thanks, Edward, we appreciate it," he told me.
"Here you go." I dug into my pockets to hand over the keys. I didn't know who to hand them over to as no one held their hand out to take them. My arm remained outstretched while the keys dangled in the air. Suddenly, Bella's arm shot out and snatched the keys from me. Once they were safely in her hand, she dashed past me, shoulder checking me on her way out. It didn't hurt, but it did stun me.
I looked back at her retreating form then back to Charlie, who shook his head at me.
"I don't know what her problem is," he offered. "But we really do appreciate it. She may not show it, or say it, but she's grateful. That truck is what helps keep us going. I just wish…" he trailed off, but never finished.
"Don't worry about it; I'm still learning how to deal with her mood swings." Charlie laughed. "I'm gonna go. It's early, and frankly, I could still use a few more hours of sleep."
"Yeah, so could I," he answered, wistfully. It was kind of sad. I could only imagine what it was like sleeping in an unfamiliar bed – not knowing if you would even sleep in a bed at night. I wished there was more that I could do for them.
I gave Charlie a two finger wave and began toward the stairs again.
"Oh, wait," I called before began going down the steps. I turned to see Charlie turning back as well. "I talked to my dad about your hospital bill." His eyes widened and he visibly blanched. "He said not to worry about it – it's taken care of." He was about to say something, but I cut him off. I could only imagine what he was going to say, probably protest. "He wants you to give him a call to hang out or something. He said it would be good to see you again. Do you have a pen or something?"
He tapped his head with his finger. "Just give it to me; I got a good memory." I smiled weakly and recited the number I knew by heart. I hoped that Charlie would call Carlisle. They'd have fun together and it would probably be a good escape for Charlie.
"Thanks…and I'll talk to Bella for ya. Find out what's eating her."
I thanked him and turned to leave again. As I was getting into my car, I saw Bella throw some bags into the back of her truck, rather angrily. Sighing and shaking my head, I turned my car on and drove off. Stopping at the stop sign at the corner, where her truck was parked, I chanced a look in her direction. She caught me looking and threw me one of her famous glares. I drove off a second later.
On the drive home, I couldn't help but wonder what her problem was this time. I went out of my way to help her so she could visit Jacob and her mom and she acted like I was a pain in her ass. I kept telling myself yesterday that I knew she would appreciate the gesture even if she didn't show it, but I was not expecting her reaction at all. Shit, even a small smile would have sufficed. Or a text message so she wouldn't have to talk to me directly, but nothing.
The more I thought about it, the angrier I became. I hated to admit it, but it seemed like Rosalie was right. Not only did Bella not seem to appreciate shit that I did for her, but she was outright nasty about it. I didn't know what I was doing wrong. At every turn she scowled at me.
I think I was there – the "fuck it" point. I tried. Maybe it wasn't hard enough or long enough, but I don't know what she expected of me. She wouldn't even fucking talk to me! And how the hell are you supposed to help someone when they won't utter a word to you.
I was done. If she wanted help, or whatever, then she would have to come to me.
It was amazing how in the short ten, fifteen minute drive home, I became so angry that I was fuming. As much as I wanted to just forget about Bella, two things were holding me back. The first thing was that we still had two weeks worth of project work we had to do together. Secondly, I just couldn't stop thinking about her.
With me being the idiot that I am, I logged on to Facebook to see if she had posted anything recently. Luckily, she hadn't. If I had to read some stupid shit she had written I think I would have really lost it. Because it was too early to be so pissed off at a chick, I began heading to my room to sleep for a few more hours.
I woke up two hours later to the chime of my cell phone, indicating that I had a text message. Groggily, I reached over to grab my phone off the nightstand. I wasn't fully awake which made reading the message hard. I tried rubbing the sleep from my eyes so the words on my screen wouldn't appear as a blurry mess.
I brought the phone up to my face again trying to read who the message was from. I quickly sat up when I saw Bella's name as the sender.
You had no right to do that – B
What the fuck? No right to do what? Help her?
What the hell are you talking about? – E
Fixing my car. Are you trying to make me feel shittier about myself? I don't need your help for that! – B
Again, what the hell are you talking about? You needed to get to PA and your truck wasn't working. A thank you would have worked for me. – E
A thank you? For what? All you did was add something else to the list of things I can't afford. How am I supposed to pay you back? – B
Was she serious? If she gave me the chance to tell to her, then she would have known she didn't owe me anything. I couldn't believe that she was mad over something so dumb.
I never said you had to pay me back. I didn't spend a dime. I got the battery over La Push. Quil told me to relay a message to you BTW. – E
I accidently sent the message before I finished the whole thing. As I was in the middle of the second part of the message I got a text from Bella.
WHAT? – B
WHAT what? – E
Seriously, what was her problem?
Don't you EVER talk about me to anyone over at La Push! This conversation is over. – B
Monday came way too fast for my liking. It was weird, though, because it wasn't like I spent the weekend having fun or anything remotely exciting. I spent the weekend stewing in my own bitterness over Bella. There was a war raging in my head, with no victor in sight.
I really was over all of her bullshit. She was ungrateful and unappreciative. I get that she wasn't the talking type, but really, there were other ways to say thank you.
However,a small part of me still felt slightly bad for her. I got the fact that she was in a predicament that no one deserves, but c'mon. My father was the one who made the promise to look after the Swans, not me. I did what I could, went out of my way for her. The fact that she was in such a bad place at such an important time in her life was the only reason, I think, that I haven't completely blown her off, yet. But I was getting there.
Apparently, Jessica was her friend, not me.
By the time I found a spot and put my car in park, half the the lot was already full. Alice and Emmett had come in early to work on their biology project in school, so I was on my own. The final projects were due in two weeks, before school let out for Thanksgiving. Luckily, Bella and I were basically done. The only thing left for us to do was to put our information into presentation form. We had agreed a few weeks back that I would construct a diagram of DNA strands and genes while she would type out the report that needed to be handed in.
I wasn't sure exactly how we were supposed to do it, but each pair of students was to present their project in front of the rest of the class. I wasn't opposed to doing it as I was really proud of our work, but obviously, Bella had the problem. That was exactly it; it was her problem. Since I was done helping her, this was a dilemma that she had to figure out for herself. I would only make it my problem if it affected my grade, because it would be unfair if it did.
Finally stepping out of my car and heading toward the school, I was confronted by an angry-looking Jessica. It obviously had to with Bella since we really never talked much about anything else.
I walked passed her, not acting like I didn't see her, but just blatantly ignoring her. I could hear her scurrying behind me. When she was right beside me, she was able to keep pace with me even though I picked mine up.
"You know we need to talk," she said.
"No, I didn't and no we don't." She huffed next to me.
"Fine, don't talk to me, but I'll find out what you did to piss her off." That got me to finally stop.
"What I did?" I chuckled humorlessly. "Is that what she told you? That I did something wrong?" Jessica crossed her arms over her chest, challengingly, and waited for me to continue.
"You know what? You're right. I did do something wrong – I tried to be her friend when everyone else in this school thinks she's a total bitch. Tell her not to worry about me. Once this project is done, so am I."
Jessica's face fell, not expecting me to come off the way I did. I didn't even bother to wait for a retort. All she was going to do was defend Bella without knowing all the facts and I didn't want to hear some stupid reason as to why Bella acted the way she did.
The morning went by fairly quickly. It seemed like all the teachers were trying to fit in last minute projects before the quarter was up. On the work front, the busy morning sucked, but on the flip side, it kept me from thinking about Bella…or thinking about not thinking about her, especially during our first period together.
Someone was on my side during lunch as well. Bella wasn't in the cafeteria and neither was Jessica, who was being a pain in my ass every time our paths crossed in the hallway. I could honestly say that I was relieved that Bella wasn't around. Everyone was at the table, deciding that enough of their work was done in the morning hour.
I just had to get through biology and I would be home free for the day, at least. My only saving grace was that I had my friends in the class as well, and they would hopefully be great distractions.
We all walked to class together, slowly, wanting to delay the inevitable. Walking into class, I saw that Bella was already sitting at our table, doodling in her notebook. I slowed my pace, not at all eager to be close to her. Maybe it was wrong on my part, but just seeing her pissed me off.
When I finally sat down, I saw her stall for a moment before quickly recovering. She just sat there, acting as if she hadn't done anything wrong. Unsurprisingly, it just irritated me even more.
When Mr. Banner finally arrived, he announced that instead of the scheduled lecture, the class period when be spent watching a film while he caught up on grading tests.
As the lights went out and the movie began, so did the small conversations within the class. I was avoiding Bella at all cost. I didn't try engaging her in conversation, not that she would participate anyway. However, I couldn't help but sneak glances at her every so often.
About fifteen minutes into the movie, I saw Bella grab her iPod, putting her ear buds in place. For some unbeknownst reason, that innocent action did me in and I ripped the right ear bud out before she could even turn the player on. She looked at me, shocked, before that look turned into anger. For a split second it even looked like she was about to say something, but I was too mad to even care.
"What the hell is your problem?" I asked but didn't let her answer – not that she would. "I've been nothing but nice to you. Do you realize some of the shit people are saying about you? But me? I've been nothing but nice to you, trying to become your friend and you treat me like shit. I'm over it. When this project is over, one of us has to find a new seat." I threw the ear bud, so worked up that I didn't even realize it was still in my hand.
I turned forward in my seat, frustrated and breathing hard from anger.
Another few minutes into the movie, that I wasn't really watching, I heard sniffling. There was no way it was coming from Bella. Curious, I glanced at her just in time to see her wiping away a tear. I groaned silently to myself. I hated when people cried. It was just awkward. Even worse was the fact that I was the one who made her cry.
I felt bad for a second, but I had to remind myself that I really hadn't said anything bad. I just spoke the truth. Even still, I felt bad for making her cry, but I still wasn't going to apologize.
Thankfully, it seemed like she was trying to control the sounds she was emanating, selfishly making me feel a lot more comfortable.
The movie finished not too soon enough after. The credits began rolling and the lights weren't even flickered back on, but Bella was out of her seat. Alice looked back at me when she saw Bella fly out the door. I shrugged in response. It also reminded me that no one knew what happened this past weekend.
The rest of the afternoon was spent much like the morning which, again, didn't leave me much time to ponder about what occurred with Bella during biology. When the last bell of the day sounded, I was more than ready to get home. I was tired both physically and mentally. Fortunately, I wouldn't have to wait around for anyone else and could just go straight home.
The parking lot was full of eager students wanting to get home, just like me. Somehow, despite the hoards of people, Jessica seemed to spot me easily. I tried to ignore her, like I'd been doing all day, but she wasn't having it this time. She grabbed my bicep and gripped it, pretty hard I must say, and prevented me from passing her.
"We need to talk," she gritted out.
"What I do this time?" I asked, probably already knowing the answer.
"Let's walk to your car."
"Do I have a choice in the matter?"
"Then lead the way, stalker." I outstretched my free arm, gesturing for her to continue. She narrowed her eyes at me, but let go of my arm and headed toward the direction of my car.
"So what's up?" I asked when we were both seated in my car. Part of me was curious as to what she knew, what Bella told her, and part of me just wanted to get this over with.
Jessica scowled at me, but began anyway. "What the fuck is your problem? What the hell did Bella ever do to you to warrant you making her cry?" She was angry – livid, actually. But then again, so was I.
"She's your best friend; I get that, but before you come at me like that, make sure you get both sides of the story. Did I make her cry? Yeah, but that was never my intention. I spoke the truth and she didn't like it."
"Enlighten me." She sounded bored, as if I wasn't about to tell her something new.
"In a nutshell, she's ungrateful. I go out of my way to help her and what do I get in return? Nothing! I don't want a huge fanfare or anything, but she can't even spare a motherfucking smile. And even with all that I have to pretend like everything's cool? Fuck. That," I ranted.
If someone heard the way I was speaking right now, I'd bet they'd be highly surprised that I was referring to a girl that, despite how angry I was at her, I was still infatuated with her.
Jessica rubbed her hands over her face, aggressively, while groaning into her palms. She then balled her hands into a fist and punched the dashboard.
"What the hell?" I asked, only slightly angry at the action because really, it didn't look like she punched it too hard.
"Shut up, Cullen," she said, sounding a bit more common than she looked a second ago. "Just tell me what happened that broke the camel's back?"
Huffing, I described exactly what happened this past weekend. I tried to keep my voice even, not wanting to sound like I was exaggerating any part of it. Jessica nodded at the appropriate times and actually seemed like she was listening instead of trying to think of an excuse for her best friend's actions.
"Okay, look, that was kind of messed up on her part. Some kind of thanks is in order, but you gotta understand-"
I groaned, cutting her off, not wanting to hear how I should just forgive Bella for the way she acted.
"God, you're such an asshole. Good looks can only get you so far in life, and right now that's all you have going for since you're being a dickhead. Now shut it and let me talk." She kept quiet, testing me to see if I was, in fact, going to let her talk. I waved my head for her to continue and she rolled her eyes at me.
"Now, as I already said," she began dramatically. "Yes, she should have said thank you, but on top of the shit storm that is already Bella's life, more was just added to it. Everything is okay now, but it wasn't these past few weeks. I don't even know why I'm telling you all this," she said more to herself than me.
"On Friday, she was supposed to work, but she got a call right before she was scheduled to start. A customer came in claiming hat Bella ruined her clothes. Her boss told her not to come in; basically she was fired for something she didn't do. Charlie talked to Bella's boss and arranged for them to pay for the ruined clothes in exchange for Bella's job back. It's setting them back about two hundred fifty."
Jessica was on the verge of tears for her friend and I couldn't help feeling bad for her myself. It really did seem like the worst was never bad enough for Bella.
"Bella knew that she was going to need a new battery soon and it just came at the wrong moment. On Saturday she didn't know if she had a job or not so the last thing she needed was thinking about how she was going to pay you back. Trust me, the last thing Bella is, is ungrateful."
Shit! I guess that all made sense. But in my defense, I told her that I wasn't expecting repayment.
"So how is she supposed to pay them back?" I asked.
"They're going to take however much out of her check until it's all paid back."
"I am a dick, aren't I?"
Jessica chuckled lightly. "You can be at times when you don't listen." There was a pause and somehow I knew there was more.
"I'm sensing…something. What aren't you telling me?" I asked, while looking out the windshield, beating her to the punch. After a few seconds passed and she still hadn't responded, I looked in her direction. She was looking out the windshield also, a lone tear streaking her cheek.
"What's going on?" I asked cautiously.
"You have to promise me something. Whether you and Bella become friends, more than friends, or nothing at all I need you to keep this promise to me."
She was serious and another few tears slipped as she talked. I nodded my head, agreeing to something I had no idea of.
"I need you to watch over Bella. I need you to be the friend that I can't be anymore," she whispered.
"What are talking about?" To say I was confused was an understatement.
"My grandmother, my mom's mom, is sick. Dying, actually, and my mom wants to be closer so we're moving to Arizona."
I was stunned…stunned into silence. Funny enough, all I could think about was Bella. Jessica and I were never close or even friends. Acquaintances, maybe. It sucked that she was moving away, but in reality, it didn't affect me all that much. Except when it came to helping me with Bella.
"Does Bella know?" I asked.
She shook her head. "I knew for awhile that it was a possibility, but I didn't want to say anything until I knew for sure. I'm scared to tell her. First Tanya and now me? She's going to think everyone is bailing on her." She was crying a little heavier. I let her cry, learning from my mother that sometimes girls didn't want to hear that everything was going to be okay. It was awkward, but I really didn't know what to do.
"That's why I need you to promise me you'll be there for her. She doesn't know it yet, but you're good for her. I'm one of her best friends and I know these things."
I nodded in agreement. I didn't know how I was going to do it, or how it would work out, but I was going to keep this promise to Jessica…and to Bella.
"When are you leaving?"
"The Friday after Thanksgiving," she said lowly.
"What is your family doing Thanksgiving day?"
"I dunno," she shrugged. "We already started packing and I don't see my mom making this huge meal the day before we leave."
I thought about everything Jessica just told me. It was a lot to take in. It felt like whenever Bella was involved, it was a lot to take in. Jessica interrupted my thoughts with her sniffling.
"Hey," I said, offering her a small smile. "Why don't you see if your family wants to come over to my house for Thanksgiving? My mom gets off on dinner parties and I'm sure she knows your mother," I offered. Hopefully, Esme wouldn't be pissed if I invited three extra people.
Jessica beamed at me. "Yeah?"
"Sure. I'll tell my mom when I get home. As a matter of fact, I'll call her now."
I pulled out my phone and pressed speed dial number two for my mom. She picked up after three rings. "Hey, honey. To what do I owe the pleasure?"
"Hi, Ma. I just wanted to know if it'd be okay if the Stanley's came over for Thanksgiving dinner. I kind of already invited them."
There was a rustling on the other end of the line. "Sorry, dropped my pen. Anyway, sure that's great. The more the merrier. Cooking for nine is the same as cooking for twelve."
I did quick math in my head. "Nine? What nine?" I asked confused.
"The Swans are having Thanksgiving with us, too."
AN: Thanks for reading and I again apologize for the huge delay.
I'm donating a o/s for Fandom Fights Juvenile Diabetes. It's BIG stretch for me, so how 'bout you donate $5, get a shit load of good stories, and leave me a review about what you thought. ;)