Chapter 30- All we do is hope
"Hey! Hey, you!"
Lynn's chubby fingers poke my side. I sit up and rub my eyes. I'm still very sleepy. The floor isn't very comfortable and my arm hurts from sleeping on it. Maybe I should sleep on my sweater. The thing has holes anyway.
"Breakfast is ready," she says and I feel her walk away. The floor cracks and complains with each of her steps.
I sit there on the floor for a little while. It's snowing outside and I like to stare at it fall through the window. It reminds me of that movie Lynn played for me that night she let me watch TV while she went out.
"Hey, kid! I said breakfast is ready! Come here…dammit what's your name? Just come here, kid."
I rush over to the breakfast table and start eating my scrambled eggs. Lynn always makes scrambled eggs, even at night.
She ignores me and Samuel as she counts the money in her purse.
"One day, kids, you're gonna be broke as hell like me," she says. "You'll have to sweat for every dollar. Be grateful you have scrambled eggs to eat."
The phone rings and she huffs and puffs as she walks over to answer it.
"Hello? Yes…what? You said were gonna pick him up tonight? Wha…no. He's your son too…well fuck you, Jerry." She slams the phone down and sits at the table again.
"He isn't coming, is he?" Samuels asks sadly.
She doesn't answer. He slams his hands down on the table and leaves. I jump when I hear his room's door violently close shut.
"Hey! It ain't my fault or the tables,' damn boy," she shouts as she lights a cigarette. She sucks on it for a long time and then lets out a bunch of smoke from her mouth and nose.
I try not to breathe it in. That stuff stinks.
"You know, Kid, you're cute. You got a button nose and pretty brown eyes. You're gonna grow up to be a pretty lady. You want a piece of advice?"
I nod, because I don't know what else to do.
She lets out another breath of stinky smoke and leans closer to me.
"If you got something good, don't let it go. You don't get a lot of good things in life, so don't be picky. Keep what you love," she says and lights another cigarette.
I've been awake for a while now. My eyes, tired of sleeping, stare at the sunrays as they sneak through Edward's curtains and illuminate the room. It's a warm morning and I love this temperature. The sun used to be my guarantee that I would have a warm and maybe great day.
As I feel his fingertips ghosting over my arm, I smile realizing today will be no different.
He presses his warm lips against my shoulder before I turn and face him. His face is still full of sleep, but his green eyes shine and his lips still give me that damn smirk I love. I caress his stubbly jaw line with my fingers, feeling how it tickles my skin.
"You're a crazy sleeper," he mutters with a playful chuckle.
"Nope. I think you had a whole conversation with someone in your dream and out loud."
"What d-d-did I say?" I ask, suddenly feeling heat in my cheeks.
"I couldn't really understand your gibberish, but it seemed pretty intense. You slapped my arm at one point."
"Oh, no. I'm so embarrassed," I cry into his shoulder.
"Don't be. It was kinda cute," he says with a chuckle.
"Hush. You can't possibly say that after I almost injured you in my sleep."
He laughs, the vibrations tickling my cheek. "I think I won't mind the slapping and the talking. I mean eventually I will, but that's life."
I giggle at his silliness, but quickly stop as his suggestion that we'll have more nights together.
We stay silent for a while, just listening to each other breathe and the noises outside the apartment building. I trace the hairs on his arm and draw imaginary lines from his wrist up to his shoulder, marveling at his bicep on my way there. I take a few greedy moments to wander over his fit chest and finally realize why it is that I love it when he wears tight sleeveless muscle shirts. When my eyes meet his, his lips turn up in a glorious smile.
I blush as he's caught me checking him out and bury my face into his neck.
He continues chuckling as I groan in embarrassment.
He moves us around so that I'm now fully resting my body on top of his. I take in a gentle breath of his warm scent and snuggle closer into his skin. I love the feel of him. I love how his warmness surrounds me in this cold morning and holds me to him. "Today feels like a lazy day," he hums into the side of my head.
"It does, but I have to go into work later."
"Bull! You can't stay in bed with me?"
I giggle. "We just got a little newborn that just c-c-came into our care. She's officially the youngest ch-ch-child we have. Poor little girl w-w-won't ever know her mom or dad."
"I'm sure under your people's care and with the foster parents she'll do great. She'll have a home with you guys. That's what all children deserve…a home," he assures me.
"But love? A home isn't j-j-just a place, Edward. I always worry all these kids will miss out on th-th-that."
"They'll find it. They'll find it like you did and like how I've found a home in you," he whispers and presses his lips against my cheek, the warmth of his lips spreads through my skin and down to my racing heart.
We lie in bed together for a few more silent and peaceful minutes until he comes to the bright conclusion that he'll make us breakfast while I wash my clothes and shower again.
I hear him singing in the kitchen as I shove my clothes into his dryer. He's been singing the same part of the same song for twenty minutes now. I giggle when he starts singing louder and louder.
"You're just awful!" I shout.
"That's stings, Bella! Why must you burst my bubble of singing happiness?"
"Because," I start saying as I walk into the kitchen. "It was b-b-bursting my ear drums."
He laughs, the sound echoing in the apartment as he pulls me into his arms. He lays a quick peck on my lips and then inspects the wounds on my face.
"They look much better. Are you still feeling shaken up?"
I smile and return my lips to his. "No, because you're with me."
He chuckles and takes a hold of my face with his rough and manly hands and pulls me closer to him. He gently presses his lips to mine, his tongue tracings my lips. I gasp, not expecting his eagerness as he slides it into my mouth, meeting mine. He tastes like minty toothpaste and like…Edward. I grab a hold of his cheeks for dear life as warmth spreads from my lips to my cheeks and down my neck.
It's a feeling like no other.
When I shared my awkward first kiss with Jacob, I kept blaming myself for being so inexperienced. I thought maybe it was just me and my "delayed social maturity" like the physiatrist said. Our relationship didn't last long and I thought maybe I was always going to be weird around boys.
But then Edward pressed his demanding lips to mine.
His hands gently rubbing down my back and grasping onto my waist quickly make me forget any past failures and I moan into his mouth when he pulls me closer to his hard body. His lips pull at mine and when he releases them with a loud "smack," I tremble as they find purchase on my neck. He lightly sucks at the skin there before running his lips up to my temple, cheek, and finally back onto my lips.
When he finally steps back, I have to grab onto the counter behind me. I hold onto my chest as I try to control my breathing so I won't pass out.
"Wh-wha-what wa-wa," I stutter and shake my head. This is his fault. "What was th-that?"
He smirks. I want to roll my eyes at his cockiness and good kissing talent, but I end up smiling at him.
"You didn't like it, Ms. Swan? Shall we try again?" He asks slowly making his way towards me again.
"S-s-step back, you animal!"
He laughs and instead of attacking me again, and to my disappointment, he lays a sweet peck on the corner of my mouth and demands I sit so he can serve me breakfast.
Scrambled eggs and toast.
We eat while talking about his job and his family. What I would love to do on a week off and how we can manage to have lunch every day.
I get dressed with him talking about the reasons I should have dinner with him. He is facing the wall with eyes closed and promising not to take a peek at me.
I kiss him on the cheek, say yes to his dinner date and head to the door.
I get fresh clothes from home and head over to work. As I reach the top step, I hear hurried steps and my name.
"Isabella! Isabella, wait!"
I turn and find John, my grandfather. I haven't seen him in months. I occasionally see him at Charlie's company or after a quick visit with my mother. He looks much older. He's lost most of his hair now and looks like he should eat more.
"May I have a quick word with you, Isabella?" He asks and gives me a nervous smile. It's the same one Renee gives me sometimes.
I don't say anything and just nod.
His cold blue eyes wander over my face and a more certain smile appears on his mouth. "You look just like Charles' mother. She was a good friend of mine growing up. But you also have my mother's small nose and heart shaped face. You're pretty just like her."
I don't know what he wants or why he's saying these things to me. He's never really talked to me. He's given me head nods of acknowledgement and Christmas cards, but nothing more.
He rubs his bald head and lets out a deep breath.
"I've never really been good with words," he confesses while looking at his feet.
"Neither have I."
He chuckles. "You got that from me then."
"No," I say shortly. "I got th-th-that from Mr. Lewis, one of my foster parents. I also got my defensiveness from Jessica, my best friend from the streets."
The smile disappears. "Where did you get your wit?"
"That would be Maria. She helped me run a-a-away from Mr. Lewis who used to b-b-beat me." I don't know why my sudden and hidden bitterness comes out around this man. I don't regret my words. I just wish I wouldn't stutter them out. I wish I sounded stronger.
But that's me and always has been.
I can see my words sting and I never thought I would manage to hurt this cold man. I should rejoice in my victory, but instead I feel pity as he nervously rubs his hands together.
"I know you hate me and you should. I've always been aware of your true feelings for me, but unlike what you believe, Isabella, I truly have felt so much guilt."
"You're right. I don't believe you."
He sighs. "That night…that night I held you in my arms as the lady in the front desk completed your paperwork. You were so small. You were so vulnerable. You were just a baby. But even as a newborn I knew you would be a fighter. You wiggled so hard and almost fell out of my grasp." He chuckles. "The lady said 'she'll be a fighter, that one.' I stood there thinking how you would do fine. It wasn't like I was throwing you away. But as I left the orphanage, every step that I took felt so heavy. And every once in a while, I would wonder how much of a fight you had to put up every day and if you were hungry or upset."
"Well you d-d-don't have to think about it anymore. I'm doing fine and you didn't even have to m-m-move a finger."
"That's because you're a fighter!"
"Why are you here?" I ask him coldly.
He clears his throat and steps a little closer to me. "I came to ask…beg for your forgiveness, Isabella. You and I both know I'll never be able to make it up to you, but I must know you forgive me. If I could take what I did back, I would. I would. I swear it."
I pull my coat tighter around me. The cold digging into my skin. "I forgive you. It's not like me to hold grudges. N-next time we-wear a better coat. You'll get sick out here," I say and head inside, leaving him out in the cold Seattle breeze.
"Yo, Kid, where the hell have you been?" Jessica asks as I settle into my desk. "You've had me worried sick. They told me you showed up bloody and a crying mess with that little baby in your arms last night. Now, don't lie to me. I know all about bruises. That shit on your face is nasty."
I shake my head at her. "Thanks, Jess. I f-f-feel so much better."
"I'm serious, Kid! What the hell happen?"
"I got mugged."
"What the…holy shit! Who? Was it them Lucas brothers? Or that stupid white boy with the fucking tattoo on his face? Tell me who it was, Kid, and I'll have Frank look into it."
"You won't have F-F-Frank do anything and I don't know who these kids were," I tell her.
She sits down in front of me. "Are you sure? Because nobody messes with you, Kid. I already told you. Frank can…"
"Your brother needs to stop. D-d-does he need a job?"
"No! For the tenth time, Kiddy! And if he did, I wouldn't want him around here. He's fucking crazy. But seriously…you alright?"
"Yes, Jess, thank you for worrying."
"Well…that's good." She taps her fingers on my desk for a minute then sits up. "Hey, I got you something!"
"What do you mean why? I'm you're damn friend, Kid!"
"Just shut up and let me go get it." She jumps to her feet and leaves my office for a few seconds. I smile at her enthusiasm. Without knocking she barges in with a large basket full of…apples.
She places it on my desk and starts laughing. "You remember you would always ask me for apples at my shitty place? I thought; why not give her a big basket now that I got money. That's what friends do and shit. I hope…" she stops talking when she looks at me in the eyes. "Well why the hell are ya crying, Kid?"
I giggle as I wipe my face. "It's just…it's just so sweet of you," I whisper and before she can say anything else, I stand and give her a tight hug. "Thank you f-f-for being such a good friend, Jess."
She finally tightens her own grasp on me and holds me close. "Thanks for saving my life, Kid," she whispers.
She shyly pulls away and starts walking out the door.
"Hey, Jess, don't you want one?" I ask.
"Nah, I'm good."
"You know want one or even two."
She laughs. "Okay, you're right. I'll take two."
"So these girls were taken out of the aunt's custody?" I ask Lisa from social services over the phone. It looks likes we're getting three more girls. "Drug abuse?" I sigh. I don't understand people that can live that kind of life with innocent kids around.
"Bella," Lisa starts, "The reason I'm calling you specifically is because before the mother passed away she had requested for them go to you."
"Me?" I ask confused.
"Yeah. She said she knew your place would take good care of her little girls."
"How did she know that?"
"She said she used to know you. Her name is…or was Maria."
My eyes fill with tears and it takes me a moment to control my breathing.
"You okay, Bella?"
"Yeah," I whisper. "Maria, used to be a good friend of mine."
"I'm sorry. From what the kids tell me, she was a really good mom."
"They'll be there tomorrow."
"Okay, we'll be ready."
"I feel like I could have d-d-done something. I never looked for her," I tell Edward as he rocks my in his arms. I decided to pay him a visit for lunch. I needed to talk to someone. I needed for someone to hear me out. He took one look at my face and asked me what was wrong.
He presses his lips to my temple and takes a deep breath. "Bella, love, you can't save or help everybody. You can't place the weight of the world on your shoulders. If you do, you'll go mad."
"But she was my f-f-friend."
"So you'll help her children. You'll give them the support they need. They'll finally get to meet the amazing 'Kid' they've heard about so much," he says and I can feel his lips turn up into a smile against my skin.
I sigh and give him quick kiss. "You're right. I'm gonna give them a home."
He smiles and presses his lips back to mine. He takes my bottom lip in between his and I quickly feel that same fire I felt early this morning spread across my skin. I pull away gasping for breath and playfully push him away, but he doesn't move an inch.
"You're dangerous, Edward."
He chuckles and kisses my cheek. "I love you. Know that you'll never suffer again. You'll never be alone and you'll always have a home with me."
I can't help myself. I wrap my arms around his neck and desperately press my lips to his. I sigh knowing his words are honest and full of love.
I can feel it in my skin.
"I love you, Edward."
"Mama always said that we had to wash our hands before eating or we wouldn't be able to do this," Lola says and licks the BBQ sauce off her fingers. She then digs her spoon into pudding and shoves it into her little mouth.
I smile at her and wipe away some sauce and pudding from her cheeks. Her dark eyes look up at me and she gifts me with a cute smile. She's missing both front teeth, but she doesn't let that stop her.
I turn and find little Janette too busy with her chicken nuggets to mind me. She loves the food so much, that she's already dipped her black curls into the sauce.
I wish Isabella would have the same enthusiasm. She the oldest at 10, named after me and the one that seems to be taking the loss of her mom the hardest.
"Hey, Isabella, why don't you eat?" I ask her and push the food closer to her.
She shakes her head and continues tracing invisible patterns on the table.
Lola accidently drops her spoon, making the other two girls jump as it lands loudly on the tile floor.
"Lola!" Isabella shouts. "Sit up and stop playing with your food. You're acting up. Do you need timeout?"
Little Lola shyly shakes her head and continues picking at her chicken. When she sees that her sister is acting better, Isabella turns away and continues tracing lines with her skinny finger.
After a few minutes, I see that Lola and Janette are done so I send them to wash their face and hands and stay at the table with Isabella.
We stay in silence for a moment before I place my hand over hers. "You don't have to be the adult or their mom. You're just a k-k-kid," I tell her. "That's why you're here. So that you can be taken c-c-care of."
"Mom took care of us," she says, not looking at me. "She cooked atole and manzanilla when we were sick and read to us." Her brown eyes quickly fill with tears and I see that she is trying and fighting with herself.
I feel my heart ache. She's only 10 and she's already trying to hide how she really feels.
"I didn't have a mom when I was your age," I tell her.
"No, I didn't. I d-d-didn't even know her, but I missed her every night before I went to sleep. I w-would wonder if I looked like her or if she missed me." I gently squeeze at her tiny hand. "I also cried a lot."
Suddenly large tears fall from her eyes and land violently on the table. She doesn't bother trying to hide them anymore and finally looks at me. Her bottom lip trembles and a huge breath leaves her body.
"I need her," she tells me with a broken voice. "I don't wanna be lonely."
I swallow the lump in my throat, sit at her side and wrap my arms around her.
"You'll never be alone, sweetie. You'll miss your m-m-mom of course, but I'll be here for you to help you become the best you can become."
She places her face into my chest and cries until she becomes tired as I stare out the window.
Jessica thinks I'm crazy when I tell her I'm going for a walk at lunch. She doesn't understand how I can feel safe after being mobbed.
I really just needed to walk…
As I walk down the familiar street I once spent so much time on, I begin to sort out my memories.
There at the corner is that gas station I used to check the time at. I know now the name of it. "Gas n Go." Not very clever.
There, just before the gas station, is that burger place I used to run to when I finally had enough change to get something to eat.
Across the street is that hotdog stand where I would find buns in the dumpster and way down to the right, past the hair salon and small bank is that church with the scary statues. I continue walking and when I pass the church, I find the police station and I know that just a few blocks away, past that park I used to sleep at is that old bridge.
I make my way under it finding my old sleeping spot grassy and full of trash. I kick the trash out of the way and sit down, leaning my back against the cold wall. I automatically miss Dolly's company, but I smile as my belly doesn't growl and I don't smell. My jacket is warm and not full of holes and my shoes do keep my feet safe.
My phone rings.
I'm also not alone.
"Hey, Bella, Jess said you went for a walk. Do you still have time to stop for a burger?"
I smile. "Yes."
"Cool. I'll see you at that burger joint we both like."
"Okay. I'll meet you there."
"Hey do you wanna come home tonight and have dinner with me? I'll cook…because you know…I'm trying to impress you."
I giggle. "Did you ask me to come home with you?"
"Ha! I did. Will you come home tonight…with me?"
I grin so hard it hurts my cold cheeks. "Yeah, I'll come home."
"What do you wanna be when you grow up?" Maria asks.
I groan, because I'm sleepy and I've been trying to sleep for the past hour already. I wrap the thin blanket around me and try to make Dolly a more comfortable pillow as I dig my head into her softness. But you can never really be comfortable on the dirty floor of an alley.
"I've al-al-already t-t-told you."
She giggles. "But tell me again, Kid. I love what you say."
I sigh and turn over and face her. I lick my dry lips and smile. "What I wa-wa-wanna be when I g-g-grow up?"
"Yeah." She pulls her beanie further down her forehead.
"I wanna be a g-g-g-ood person. It d-d-doesn't matter what happens to me. I want a g-g-good heart and I always wa-w-wanna be good."
Maria smiles and closes her eyes. She yawns and snuggles into my side.
"Well, Kid, I know you will. You have a good heart. The rest of us just hope for the same. All we do is hope."
Ah! That's it my people! Kid's story is over. It felt weird pressing the "Complete" button.
I wanna thank all of you for reading, reviewing, pimping, favs and an overall love! Kid happened because of your support.
Thanks to Cejsmom, Bobbi Wordsmith, Vee Solis, all my twitter and FB friends and everyone at the NLG FB group for the support! You guys rock.
Thanks to Cherieblossom, my awesome and most favoritest (not a word) Canadian friend (haha) for harassing me for updates, taking Dolly hostage, making fun of my TexMex and spaming my phone with Kristen pictures. Love you long time.
Thanks to my real life friends, Sandy, Mag, Jen, Kim, Mel and anyone else I let read my stuff in fear you would judge me! Thanks for…umm…for not judging me? Yes? Love you guys!
P.S If you're disappointed there weren't any lemons…though I LOVE me some lemons…this just wasn't the story for it. Maybe in future outtakes haha.
Adios and hugs for Kid.