A/N: Hello everyone! This is the continuation/off-shoot of my o/s "All I Want for Christmas Is You." This starts the same, but doesn't end anywhere close to the same as the o/s. That being said, I wouldn't advise not reading this chapter. In terms of updates, I'm not setting any specifics right now because I don't deal well with deadlines due to real life drama that is constantly in chaos.
Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns all things and characters from the Twilight universe. I merely borrow them for dirty deeds.
Three months. It's been three months since Edward and the rest of the Cullen's left me a few days after my fuck-up of a birthday party. Three months that have seen me catatonic, borderline anorexic, practically an insomniac, and full of so much misery it's hard to breathe. The kicker of it all? Edward wanted me to forget them. "It'll be like we never existed," he said before taking off like the coward he is. I snorted as I thought of his silly words. Mind like a sieve, huh? I guess that kind of mentality shows that no matter how many decades you've lived, there's still a difference between book smart and common sense smart. I have three months of anecdotal proof that as much as I may almost want to forget them, I can't. Never mind forgetting them naturally.
I managed to come out of my mental safety bubble about a week ago only to realize Christmas was around the corner. I couldn't help but wish my mind would have stayed on vacation until after the new year so I wouldn't have to deal with the holidays. Too many people with too many expectations and too many well wishes that I wanted nothing to do with. Charlie being in my face about it was bad enough. Now I'll be expected to go shopping for gifts and groceries for some mega-dinner. That means having to deal with the aforementioned people. The only up-shot to all this is at least school is already on Christmas break so I'll have time to get myself together before I have to really deal with the student population. Ugh. They'll be the worst.
I was suddenly feeling claustrophobic and decided to go for a drive. Charlie was working as usual so I left a note in case he came home early for some reason. I wasn't expecting him until late since he'd been working so much overtime. I guess when your daughter spends most of her time staring off into space, there's not much reason to hang around. I did feel badly about how much I'd neglected and worried him over the last few months, but there just wasn't anything I could do. It's not like I wanted to have a mental break because the boy I thought was the love of my life (and then some) decided to up and yank his family out from under me like a rug.
I got into my truck and fired it up quickly so I could get the heat going. The amount of heat this behemoth pumps out continues to surprise me every time I drive it to be honest. I started out driving around the residential streets just looking at the decorations people had put up outside their houses. Most were pretty mild, but every couple of streets there seemed to be a Griswald who was looking to be seen from whatever satellite was orbiting over top of them tonight. I shook my head in disbelief and wondered what kind of electric bills those people would have and if it was really worth it.
I drove out of town, not really paying attention to where I was going since I wasn't trying to go anywhere specific. There was no traffic to be had so I didn't worry about keeping to the speed limit. I was in no hurry to go nowhere. I began to let my mind wander back to the night of my birthday party for the millionth time this week. For some reason, my mind tended to zero in on my conversation with Carlisle while he was stitching up my arm without my trying. I had no reason to seriously contemplate what was said. At least there were no reasons that were obvious. I remember Carlisle's eyes as we talked about Edward's opinion of them being damned and the compassion behind his eyes as he explained it all in more detail. I remember thinking how glad I was that Carlisle and I seemed to share the same opinion on the subject.
I was brought out of my reverie when I realized the truck had come to a complete stop in front of the house that belonged to the family I lost. I panicked since I hadn't been here since the night of my party and was almost positive being here would send me spiraling back into the black hole I'd recently climbed out of. Then I decided maybe it was best to try and force such a reaction so I could go back to being pleasantly numb. I sat in the running truck for several minutes trying to gauge how this would all turn out when I decided to say the hell with it and get out. I trudged through the snow up to the front porch and peered through a window. I couldn't see much, but from what I could tell all the big furniture was still there and even some of the smaller items I'd have expected them to take along. I walked over to the front door and was flabbergasted to find it was unlocked when I tried the handle. I stepped in quickly and shut the door tightly behind me.
I took off my wet boots at the door and padded softly into the living room. I stood there for who knows how long while my mind cycled through memory after memory of all the good times we'd had here. Even with Rosalie's bad attitude and Jasper's stand-offish behavior, there were nothing but good memories until I got to the last one. The one memory that changed everything... I shook my head violently to get the images out of my mind. That particular flashback would certainly send me reeling. Now that I was here, I wasn't so sure I wanted my black hole of numbness back. I crossed to the sofa and sat down so the mild dizziness I was encountering didn't end with me on my butt. I leaned back and closed my eyes while taking deep breaths.
Part of me couldn't help but wonder what spending Christmas with the Cullen's would have been like. I'm sure the driveway leading to the great, white house would have trees adorned with bright red ribbons and lights that turned on at night. The outside of the house would have icicle lights hanging from the eaves and spouting. Inside the house would be warm and smell of cinnamon with a hint of pine from the freshly cut tree. The tree would be covered in lights and ornaments, making the large living room cozier. The banister leading up the stairs would have garland wrapped around it. Little Christmas knick-knacks would be spread throughout the main living spaces to dress up every end table and bookshelf. The dining room table would have a large centerpiece with a red and green table runner. The best decoration though? The best decoration would be the mistletoe hanging in the doorway leading to the kitchen we all passed under with our mates at some point or another.
I shook my head again to dispel that thought. I didn't want to think about that. I didn't want to think about kissing the boy who threw me away like yesterday's newspaper. As that thought flashed through my head, I snapped my eyes open and found myself wondering where the hell that came from. For the first time in three months, I realized I didn't want Edward. I didn't want him. I didn't want his love. I didn't want to hear his velvet voice. I didn't want to see his signature bronze hair. I didn't want to look into his golden eyes. I didn't want Edward Cullen, vampire, love of my life. I sat there panting as all of these realizations flew through my head at the speed of light. There was a sense of freedom, of space in my head. There was a clarity that shined on the same memories from earlier and made certain things Edward had said and done appear garish and silly. The hole in my chest, while smaller, didn't close entirely because although I may be getting over Edward, I still miss the rest of the family.
I sat back again and closed my eyes so I could revel in the freedom I had gained. I could finally breathe without feeling like I was constantly gasping. It was amazing. I allowed myself to picture the living room decorated again and found the idea didn't bring the original heartbreak it did. I smiled softly to myself and let my mind wander again. I was brought back to the night of my party again and found myself getting irritated. Obviously my subconscious wanted me to find something here or my addled brain wouldn't keep coming back to it. It was always the part where Carlisle was stitching up my arm while we talked about whether or not they, as vampires, were damned. My brain put the part where Carlisle looked up at me to look me in the eye on repeat. As I continued to mentally look into Carlisle's golden eyes, I focused on what I was supposed to find.
I felt like I was on the edge of an epiphany when a sudden gasp shattered my concentration. I snapped my eyes open and jumped off the couch simultaneously only to be met with the eyes in question. Not ten feet away stood the blonde god with scorching gold eyes widened in shock at my apparent presence. I stood shaking like a leaf for what felt like hours when a whisper so soft I could barely hear it sounded.
I began to notice black spots swimming in my vision and realized I hadn't been breathing. I felt my body begin to sway and took a deep breath, but it wasn't soon enough. The last thing I remember seeing before everything going black was Carlisle darting to my side to catch me as I crumbled to the floor.
I felt myself coming up out of the darkness of my mind slowly. My head was throbbing slightly and I felt my eyes wince because of it. I heard some rustling to my right that confused me at first. Flashes of what had happened earlier proceeded in quick succession through my head, bringing me up to speed and allowing me to surmise the movement I heard was Carlisle. I slowly opened my eyes and searched for the source of movement and was, once again, met with the gold eyes of Carlisle. I sucked in a somewhat startled breath. I was overcome with the extreme depth and beauty of his eyes. I struggled with why I was suddenly so taken with them when I'd not only looked him in the eye countless times before, but when I'd looked into the golden eyes of each member of the Cullen family and was never this moved. Even Edward's hadn't made me feel like this.
I'm not sure how long I laid there staring before realizing he probably thought I was nuts. I snickered internally and reminded myself that I was nuts...or at least borderline. I cleared my throat quietly and sat myself up all while maintaining eye contact with the Cullen patriarch. He sat perfectly still in the way only a vampire can, looking at me warily. We sat silently for a few more minutes and I used the time to figure out where we were in the house. The burgundy and cream comforter on the bed clued me in immediately that we were in Carlisle and Esme's room. It made sense that he would lay me down somewhere after I passed out. I flushed and scoffed out loud at my gaffe. Leave it to me to not lose consciousness due to shock. Nope, I'll just stop breathing and deprive my brain of oxygen. I glanced back up at Carlisle and found his only change in demeanor was a lifted eyebrow. I realized he was probably wondering the reason for the somewhat unladylike noise that escaped me. Flushing more deeply, I huffed out a breath and finally broke the silence.
"Look, I get that I mean nothing to you or the rest of your family and that you found me trespassing, but do you really need to stare at me as though you're hoping I'll spontaneously combust?"
He sat there gaping for a moment before clearing his throat and answering me in the smooth voice my memory hadn't done justice.
"Bella... How could you ever think such a thing? I'm more than happy to see you. Surprised, but very happy."
I scoffed and raised an eyebrow at him before saying, "Really?" My voice was laced with unavoidable sarcasm. "I find that a little hard to believe, Carlisle, considering you all left without so much as a 'fuck you very much.' Abandoning someone like that tends to make one feel a little less than wanted. I suppose you wouldn't understand that feeling though considering you weren't left behind like yesterday's trash."
I decided I should go since my mini rant was done. I didn't want to sit here and listen to whatever excuses he would manage to come up with to not only excuse Edward's abhorrent behavior, but also his own inability to grow a pair and be the leader of the coven he was supposed to be in charge of. Nothing like letting an eternal seventeen year old run your life. I don't care how many centuries that boy lives, he'll still be ruled at least partially by teenage hormones. With nothing left to say or listen to, I swung my legs over the side of the bed and stood to leave. As I made to cross in front of the bed, my right foot managed to catch the oversized comforter which, of course, meant I was going to be kissing the carpet in a matter of seconds. I closed my eyes tightly in preparation of the impact, but was surprised when I was stopped by a pair of cool hands grasping me firmly around my waist. I was set on my feet so I was facing Carlisle and was able to take him in fully since waking up from my blackout.
This wouldn't be the first time I would find myself admiring Carlisle's looks. I remembered my first impression of him when he came sweeping into the ER the day Tyler Crowley's van almost took me out. There was no mistaking that Carlisle was an amazing looking man...vampire...whatever. It was all semantics to me anymore. The point was that I was finding myself a little more taken with Carlisle now than I liked. He was abnormally dressed down really. His stressed, dark wash jeans and white K-Swiss tennis shoes were a definite change up from his typical khakis and dress pants. The best part of his outfit was certainly the ice blue button-down shirt with sleeves rolled to show off his forearms. The blue of the shirt set off his amber, liquid fire eyes fiercely. Again with his eyes. I couldn't figure out what it was about them. I continued to find myself lost in them, being haunted by them.
I finally realized I'd been staring again. Ugh. I felt like slapping myself across the face in an attempt to get a grip. I blinked a few times and shook my head slightly to clear it before stepping back a couple steps hoping distance would help keep me from being a creeper again. Carlisle's hands slipped from my waist when I stepped back, leaving my sides with an odd cool burning sensation. Feeling strangely vulnerable, I wrapped my arms around myself before averting my eyes to the floor in front of me. The tension was mounting quickly. I didn't know what to say, not that I really wanted to say anything. I'd said all I wanted to. I suppose that's not entirely true. I had a lot I'd like to spew Edward's direction. It would serve no purpose for me to go off on Carlisle. Was I mad at him? Certainly. He was supposed to be the head of this supposed family, and yet he let Edward (and Alice, by proxy) take over simply because of their gifts. It was a bunch of crap, but I knew who my anger needed to be directed at and it wasn't the man standing in front of me.
I finally glanced up at Carlisle and found he was staring at me with a look of pain in his eyes. There was a large part of me that wanted to wrap him up in a hug and let him know I didn't hate him, but the larger part of me didn't want to put myself out there like that. Clearly I wasn't meant to find him here. I wasn't supposed to be here. According to Edward, I was supposed to be off frolicking with Mike Newton or some disgusting shit like that. I forced back my need to shudder at the thought of being involved with Mike on any level. I quickly focused on Carlisle again, wishing he wasn't blocking my only way out of the room short of crawling over the bed to get to the door. Somehow I figured he'd beat me to the door if I attempted that route. I finally decided to be the one to break the silence once again.
"Can I just...can you just let me by, please? I just want to leave. I have nothing else I want to say to you and if I'm forced to make conversation, I'll end up saying a lot of stuff I shouldn't due to misdirected anger. I won't be back here to bother you again. I know you guys aren't supposed to exist to me." I couldn't help the little dig at the end. The stupidity of the idea of forgetting them was nearly hysterical.
I stepped forward so I could attempt to walk around Carlisle since he didn't seem to be a fan of moving out of the way so I could pass. As I brushed by, Carlisle grasped my wrist firmly to stop me. I ground my teeth together in frustration and eyed him disdainfully. Before I could unleash the misdirected anger I warned him about, he finally spoke again.
"What do you mean you know we're not supposed to exist to you? I don't understand."
"Oh, you mean your little golden boy didn't tell you," I asked with mock happiness. "I was made well aware of where I stand, not only with him, but with the rest of you. I was informed of your type's need for passing fancies. I was assured that I meant nowhere near enough to any of you to take a few minutes to say good bye or even leave a fucking note. I was told I wasn't good enough and that I wasn't truly loved. And above all of that, I was told that it would be like you all never even existed. Does that help you out? Ring any bells, perhaps? You know what? You people aren't a fucking family. You're a twisted version of homewreckers. You take innocent people like me whose family wasn't the best, show them another way of life filled with love, and then rip it out from under them with no damn warning. So much for saving your fucking humanity. I'd have preferred you all drained me the first damn day. That would have been more compassionate than what you pulled. Now if you'll excuse me, I'd prefer to not be in your presence. I'd hate to ruin your day with my silly human ways."
With that, I yanked my wrist out of Carlisle's grip and brushed by so I could finally leave. As I quickly made my way down the stairs and out the door, I realized Carlisle could have easily stopped me. I was only able to get my wrist away from him because he allowed it. Never mind the fact that he could have blocked my exit at any number of points along the path to my truck out in the driveway. As I hauled myself up into my truck and fired it up, I found that I was a little disappointed I'd been allowed to slip through his fingers so easily yet again. Guess Edward gets it more honest than I ever thought.