The ceaseless pounding on my dorm room door made me groan out loud in frustration. I was too busy for this now, in the middle of a complicated problem. My bed was awash in loose papers and textbooks, my side of the room in complete disarray. The general state of disrepair in my room made it no place for company, not that I cared much. I was on the verge of something big.
"Busy!" I muttered, not sure if I was loud enough for them to hear. I stuck my graphite pencil between my teeth and ground down hard on what little yellow paint was left on it. It was my way of trying to focus, a habit I'd had since…
Well it was a habit I didn't care enough about to try to break.
The door opened regardless, and my roommate, Jasper, stuck his head in the door. At least he tried to respect my boundaries. He'd agreed to stay out of the room for the evening, and he was supposed to be staying with his girlfriend Alice so that I could study. Of course the people who had conned him into opening the door for them had no such respect for boundaries.
The last people I wanted to see were on the other side of the door. As it swung open, I saw my sister, Rosalie, standing tall with her arms crossed over her chest in irritation. Her boyfriend, Emmett, stood by her side faithfully, just as he always did. They both looked at me expectantly. Honestly, I don't know why they even bothered anymore.
Rosalie and I were "Irish twins," just three hundred sixty days apart. Despite our closeness in age, she was my complete opposite. While I was shy and awkward, she was loud and boisterous. She was tall and blonde, and I was average, lanky, and redheaded. While I preferred to study, she preferred to party. And when it came to our parents, they didn't try to hide the fact that they liked her best. I think they'd given up on me.
But Rosalie hadn't. Every weekend without fail, she and Emmett stood at my door, demanding that I go and "socialize." I rejected their ideas of socialization. I was in no mood to visit some frat party and drink my weight in beer, only to lose consciousness and wake up feeling like a truck had passed over me.
Or so I've read. I've never actually experienced it myself. In my third year of college, I never once tasted a drop of alcohol, nor saw the need to do so. I can't even explain in words the look on my sister's face when I recently chose to spend my twenty-first birthday surrounded by books, rather than beer.
"Come on, Edward," Emmett said gently. "You promised you'd come out with us tonight. You have to leave this room sometime."
"I do leave the room," I muttered, keeping my eyes fixed on the notes in front of me. They had interrupted my train of thought, and with much irritation, I feared I would have to start over.
"Going to class doesn't count. Come on, let's go."
"Just go on without me," I insisted, glancing up at them with a pleading look. "Maybe next time."
Rosalie frowned then, her expression turned from one of annoyance, to one of concern. "Edward… what are you working on?" she asked tentatively, eyeing the notes across the bed.
"I'm on the verge of something big," I told her absently, sparing her only a fleeting glance. "I can fix this."
A tear escaped from the corner of Rosalie's eye, as she worried for me. It was the same thing, every time we talked about my work. "Edward, I thought we got past this. You can't fix this. You can't change the past."
"Edward, man," Emmett said, shaking his head. "I still don't understand. You hardly knew her."
I clenched my fist, the already abused pencil snapping in two from the pressure. "Shut up," I growled, jumping to my feet, feeling the blood rush to my face as I seethed in anger.
"Edward, I'm going to call Dad. You can't keep doing this!" Rosalie said, more tears escaping.
"You don't need to fucking call him!" I shouted. "I'm fucking fine. I've almost got it."
"Edward… you're delusional," Emmett interjected. "It's time someone told you that. You can't go back and change what happened."
"I have to," I said, leaving no room in my tone for argument.
Emmett frowned, wrapping his arm around a still crying Rosalie and rubbing her back gently. "Just tell me why," he said. "Like I said- you hardly knew her. It was five years ago. You've got to let this go."
"You don't fucking understand!" I shouted, getting right into Emmett's face. Even if he was a good five inches taller than me, and twice my size, he no longer intimidated me. I had nothing to lose now.
Emmett growled under his breath, but managed to keep his voice steady. "You think I don't understand?" he asked through gritted teeth. "She was my fucking sister! Don't you think I would give anything… everything… to bring her back?"
Rosalie's sob caused them both to turn their attention to her, my rage subsiding as I took in her trembling form. She never took well to raised voices or fighting.
"I'm sorry, Rose," I admitted, knowing I needed to watch my temper around her. "I'm just not in the mood to go out, tonight, okay? Maybe next time."
"Yeah," she muttered. "Next time. Just take care of yourself, Edward."
I wrapped my arms tentatively around her. As she hugged me back, her cheek pressed against mine, and I could feel wetness between our faces. I sighed when I realized she was still crying.
"Edward!" she gasped in horror as she pulled away. I noticed that the cheek that had been pressed to mine was now smeared with a trail of blood. "Shit! Call 911!" she exclaimed frantically
"Is he having a seizure?" Jasper asked, his voice laced with panic. I heard the faint sound of buttons on a cell phone being dialed. I didn't even realize he was still here. What on earth would make him think I was having a seizure? I was still upright, for goodness sake.
"His ear is bleeding!" Rosalie cried, her voice coming out as a strangled sob. "What the hell is going on?"
I put my hand up to my ear and was surprised to feel that the moisture I'd felt on my cheek was actually blood. "Relax guys, I'm fine. It doesn't even hurt. I must have punctured my eardrum somehow. I'll go to the hospital to see Dad. It will be fine."
"Let me drive you?" Jasper asked insistently.
"Yeah, okay. I promise that I'm alright though." I rolled my eyes internally at their panic. I knew it wasn't exactly normal to have blood tricking from one's ear, but I felt fine, with only a slight headache to indicate anything was wrong.
As we left for the hospital, my thoughts turned immediately back towards my work. They always told me the same things.
You cannot go back and change the past, Edward. It's impossible.
Edward, it's too late. She's already gone.
You barely knew her. Why are you so obsessed with this?
You cannot go back in time. It defies the laws of physics.
The last one made me snort in amusement. What kind of Physics professor actually believed in the impossible?
Can't go back? I'd just have to see about that.
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