You only know what I want you to…
I know everything you don't want me to
Oh your mouth is poison; your mouth is wine…
Oh you think your dreams are the same as mine.
Oh I don't love you but I always will.
Poison and Wine: The Civil Wars
CH.1 Poison and Wine
Pulling into the parking lot, I looked at the familiar building; the cars that belonged to people I once considered my closest friends, my family and wondered what the hell I was thinking coming back here. Charlie that's why I was back I reminded myself. I can do this; I will do this for Charlie.
I stepped out of my car feeling the cool air that only Washington in May can offer and took the first step towards my past, each step feeling heavier and more ominous than the last. Deep Breaths, Bella.
Walking up the steps that would take me to a room full of people I vowed never to see again felt like some kind of cruel time warp as memories from a different life assaulted me.
I opened the door and quickly took the first seat I could find. Charlie stood tall and proud, the smile on his face letting me know he was happy and for that, I was thankful. They knew I was here. I could feel their eyes on me. I could almost hear the too quiet murmurs alerting each other of my presence. I wanted to blend in, I wanted to go unnoticed, but then again, I had wanted a lot of things that I didn't get and I knew this would be no different.
Charlie must have spotted me. His face lit up and a part of me felt guilty for wanting to be anywhere but here. The other part of me felt sick knowing his acknowledgement surely meant everyone else's too. Let this day end so I can leave, I begged to no one.
Charlie was the epitome of happiness as he watched his bride walk down the aisle. Sue Clearwater was escorted by her son, Seth. He had changed from a boy to a man I barely recognized. When Sue reached Charlie, Seth sweetly kissed her cheek and shook Charlie's hand joining Jacob who stood at my father's side.
I listened as Billy spoke first in Quileute then English, I watched as Old Quil offered the Spirit's Blessing and I smiled when Billy announced the new Mr. and Mrs. Charles Swan.
I held my breath as Charlie and Sue made their way up the aisle together followed by Jacob and Seth, then Billy and Old Quil. I kept my expression even as Leah, Emily, and a slightly older Claire followed behind. I squared my shoulders and lifted my head in defiance when it was my turn, to exit the room that was quickly closing in on me.
I made my way to the reception and found myself a seat at the bar. "Jack and Coke." I took sips of my watered down drink, trying to ignore the multiple sets of eyes I could feel on me.
"Come here often?" I heard from a voice I didn't recognize.
I turned my head to see Seth, the boy who was now a man and my new brother. "You grew up," I said looking at him.
"So did you," he said looking at me in a way brothers should not look at their sisters, step or otherwise.
"You eye fucking me?" I asked quirking my brow.
"Nah just noticing what's in front of me?" he grinned. "Come on Mom and Charlie are walking in," he told me helping me from my stool.
This is it Bella, I thought as I let him drag me across the room to congratulate my father and new step mother.
"I'm really happy for you both," I told my dad as I gave him a hug and Sue an awkward one armed, 'I don't really know you' kind of hug.
"Thanks kiddo," Charlie said blushing.
"We'd love it if you could stay I know your dad misses you," Sue said with a kind smile.
"I know but I have to get back to work, we're short staffed," I gave her the feeble excuse I had come up with.
"Maybe you could come down for Christmas," she suggested.
"I'll try," I lied.
"You should stay longer, Charlie misses you a lot,." Seth said.
"He can always come visit me," I replied, not wanting to talk about this.
"Come on Bella it's been over three years."
"Seth, don't… just don't," I told him, not liking the direction this was going.
I could feel his eyes on me, watching, daring me to turn around. He still made me feel as if I'd caught fire, he had always had that effect on me. His own special kind of burn, it could make you tremble with yearning, blaze with desire or leave you a pile of smoldering ashes. He burned you from the outside, in.
Seth and I stood, as several minutes of awkward silence passed before he commented, "They're going to be seating us for dinner."
I took my place next to Charlie, who sat beside Sue with Leah, and then Seth next to her. Thankfully, I was on the end so no one would be next to me. Thank god for small favors I thought.
Dinner passed and the D.J announced it was time for the bride and groom to dance. I almost laughed seeing Charlie's look of fear as he escorted Sue to the middle of the dance floor.
"Are you really leaving tomorrow?" Seth asked me.
"I have to get back to work," I told him.
"Come on Bella, you haven't been here in three years. You can't stay for more than just one day?" he questioned.
"Seth, please just drop it." I replied as I stood so I could make my way to the bar.
I ordered another Jack and Coke disappointed that it was too watered down to achieve the desired effect, absolute numbness.
"You're not going to talk to any of us?" I heard the voice of my former best friend ask.
"It's been a long time Bells," he said.
"Not long enough," I replied looking into my almost empty glass, I stood, "Excuse me." I weaved my way through the crowd back to the table willing this night to end, so I could leave and drink myself into mind numbing memory erasing bliss.
"Bells I miss you," Charlie said unusually emotional as he turned to talk to me.
"I miss you too dad," I told him and I did.
"Then move back," he begged.
"I… can't. I have an apartment and a job, dad my life is not in Forks," I told him.
"It could be, you could finish school and teach her. Hell, you could teach here on the rez. You could stay with Sue and I or find an apartment here."
"Dad, please don't. I'm good where I am," I pleaded.
"I love you and I miss you but I'm not moving back," I responded.
"Bells just think about it," he demanded.
"I'm going to get a drink," I barked as I stepped away to avoid the argument I could feel coming. I walked to the bar.
"Jack and Coke?" The bartender asked remembering my earlier order.
"Just Jack," he quirked his brow but poured the shot anyway. I did a good job of downing it in one gulp.
Hell, I didn't even wince as it went down.
I pulled out my phone and called a cab, knowing that even though I was far from drunk I still should not drive.
"Dad, I'm going to go, but I'll see you in the morning," I offered as I hugged him goodnight.
"Bells don't go, just listen to me. Honey, it's time to come home," he tried once again.
"Dad, I love you but this is not my home and I'm not having this conversation," I told him. I was too exhausted to deal with this. Today had drained me in ways I never knew was possible. I could feel that tightly wound control I prided myself on slipping.
"You have to stop running at some point Bella, he's been waiting for you to come back, to accept your fate," Charlie exclaimed causing me to whip my head around.
"Excuse me?" I said a mix of alcohol and anger.
"Uh… Bells… it's time, it's past time. I know about the imprint and well… you've had enough time to accept it." My father insisted. I could feel the heat from the burned out soul I walked around with flow through me like lava.
I looked around the room, seeing their faces for the first time in years and felt nothing but red-hot rage course through me.
"Is that what they told you? That I didn't accept the imprint?" I asked.
"Uh… well…" Charlie started to say but was cut off by Leah stomping up and glaring at me.
"You selfish bitch, you are ruining the reception," she hissed.
That thread of control snapped.
I glared at her. "Fuck Off! Every single one of you motherfuckers heard me getting the inquisition. YOU could have put a stop to it, but no; just like the goddamn cowards you are, you didn't. And can you believe that I thought you'd done all the damage you could three years ago. Well fuck me running the hits keep coming," I sneered as I looked around the room.
My eyes fastened on his. "Oh I accepted the imprint, didn't I baby." I looked straight into the eyes of the man who ripped me apart. "I learned a lesson, a big one. Loving someone and making love to them isn't the same thing as loving someone and getting fucked."
I paused, taking a deep breath. "There's nothing quite like walking in on your forever, your future and seeing it crumble before your eyes. I learned a couple of things that day, lesson number one you can actually live when your heart and soul have been ripped from your body. Lesson number two, the people you think would never betray you, do. Alpha orders can keep big secrets. Lesson number three, all the bullshit that's uttered about being a part of the pack, one big family is a lie. What it really means is pack is pack and they come before everything else. And the biggest lesson of all I just learned here tonight. Trust absolutely fucking no one, because even your own father will believe you're a cold hearted, selfish bitch with the right motivation." I turned and walked out.
I knew I shouldn't have fucking come here. I thought as I waited for my cab in the damp May air. The cab arrived quickly smelling of smoke. Even though I had never smoked a day in my life, I wanted one. I wanted anything that would take the taste of betrayal out of my mouth.
"Where to sugar," the cabbie asked.
"The bar," I responded, settling back in my seat and waiting. The ride was short and soon I handed the driver a twenty and walked into the only bar in Forks.
I passed the bartender a folded hundred dollar bill, "This is yours if you keep the liquor coming and call me a cab at last call."
"You got it sugar," he said winking. "What's your poison?"
I sat with a never empty shot glass trying to remember what it was like before I moved to this fucking rainy town. Before I knew monsters existed that didn't kill you, they only made you wish they had.
Beta: The Fabulous Feebes