This is one of many chapters that will be published in the next 2-4 days. I have almost a month worth of chapters that need to be published since I've been slacking. Here's the first of many updates coming at you!
Monday September 17th 2012 (6:50am)
It's a Monday; the start of a new week. McKayla is just down the hall, getting ready for school and I can hear the soft musings of her little pink radio playing her Little Mermaid CD. But, she wasn't her usual perky self. McKayla seemed very reserved. I asked her if she was alright, but all she said was, "I'm fine." with a half-smile over her bowl of Lucky Charms. I didn't want to push her on the matter because she was just like her mother in that way, always so stubborn.
I finished tying my tie, in a last stitch effort. Bella used to always tie them for me. I still haven't gotten any better. I walk down the hall to McKayla's room and knocked softly on the door.
"Sweetie, you ready to go?" I peek my head in and find my angel staring into her full length mirror with a perplexed expression. She would brush her hair off her shoulders, and then bring it back over. She'd sigh and grumble, than cross her arms. She looked so troubled for a six year old.
"Daddy am I pretty?" she asked me, looking at me through her reflection in the mirror. "Be honest."
"You're more than pretty, baby. You are beautiful." I say walking over to her. Ariel is belting out "Part of Your World" in the background.
"Really?" McKayla turned to me in her plaid skirt and glittery white top.
"Of course. I am your dad. I know these things." I squat down and rest my hands on her hips. She begins to play with the ends of her bronze locks.
"Hmmm. . . " McKayla walks over to her closet to get her white and very wore sandals.
"Are you sure there isn't anything wrong?"
"Yes, I'm sure." And that smile reappeared on her face. Why won't she tell me what's bothering her?
"Alright then," I stood up and walked to her door. "Well, then let's get you to school."
Her face changed ever so slightly. The frown became more pronounced. But, it disappeared as quickly as it appeared. Something was definitely wrong.
I was sitting at my desk, finishing up my lunch of cold pepperoni and sausage pizza when the phone rang.
"McCarty Publishing, Edward Cullen speaking."
"Hello, Mr. Cullen, very sorry to disturb you, but this is Ms. Weber, principal at Forks Elementary. I am calling you in regards to your daughter, McKayla."
I sat up straighter in my desk chair. I tried my best not to panic. "Is there something wrong?"
"Not really. But, there was an incident involving your daughter." Ms. Weber says through the phone.
"What kind of incident?" There was a hint of worry in my tone.
"Well, it seems your daughter decided she wanted to make one of the students her personal art project." There was some snarkyness to Ms. Weber's tone. I let out a sigh of relief that she wasn't hurt, but then my mind turned to concern.
"Who was the other student?"
"A girl by the name of Savannah Newton. There were multiple students involved, but it seems your McKayla was the instigator. I do not tolerate this behavior in my school, Mr. Cullen."
I ran a hand down my face from frustration. "I'm terribly sorry. Do I need to come down and get her?"
"Yes, and her teacher Miss Kate and I would like to have a word with both you in my office." Ms. Weber said.
"Of course," I pulled a hand through my messy hair. "I'll be there in 30 minutes."
"Great. See you then." Ms. Weber hung up before I could answer.
I pull into the parking lot of the school. I can hear the sounds of screaming children from the playground around back. I get out of the car and walk up to the front.
I walk into the heated entrance hall and head for the main office. I'm met with a chill when I walk into the office. The secretary looks up at me from behind her tall desk.
"Mr. Cullen, I'm guessing?" I give a nod. "Right this way." She gets up from her chair and disappears behind the desk for a second before appearing in front of me. She's a lot shorter than she looks. I follow her down a dimly lit hallway to an office door about halfway down. She gestures with her hand for me to go inside.
"Thank you, "I say before entering the small office space. Inside, Ms. Weber's sitting behind her desk, Kate is leaning up against the corner of the desk and sitting in front of both of them, is a rainbow mess of bronze hair, McKayla.
"Ah, Mr. Cullen you're here. Please, sit down." Ms. Weber said icily. McKayla sunk lower in the chair like it would swallow her up. I plopped down in the chair right next to hers. I glanced over at McKayla, who seemed to find her fingers really fascinating.
"Well you know why I called you here in the middle of the day, and I'm so very sorry again." Ms. Weber began. Ms. Weber had to be at least 60 years old. Her hair was silvery white and pulled back in a tight bun. She had a lot of wrinkles around her eyes. She didn't look like a pleasant woman.
"Oh, it's no problem. I was on my lunch break anyways." I said, giving her a smile. She just grimaced.
"I'm just going to have her teacher, Miss Kate explain to you what happened." Kate cleared her throat.
"We were in the middle of painting pictures of the alphabet. Everything was going just fine at first, but then as I was scanning the tables, I noticed Savannah say something to McKayla. She looked really upset by it. And the next thing I know, McKayla has a jar of green paint in her hand and she's dumping it all over Savannah's head. Savannah then screamed and threw paint right back at McKayla. It turned into a flat out mess after that and soon all the other kids joined in. My classroom is now a disaster zone." Miss Kate finished, with remorse in her voice.
I was in shock, for one thing. I didn't know McKayla would do such a thing. I didn't know the thing that was bugging her, was this big of a deal.
"What did she say to you?" I asked, looking down at my guilty daughter. She laced and unlaced her fingers together, not wanting to talk. She looked like she was internally punishing herself. It was really hard to be upset with her about her behavior. "Please tell us, sweetheart." At last, she spoke.
"She said," McKayla's soft voice rang through the room. "That my mom is never coming back. And that I'm not really that pretty. She said she didn't know how someone could be so ugly."
The room was very quiet. The low hum of the computer was the only thing making noise.
"I didn't know what to do. I saw the paint and . . ." McKayla began to quietly cry.
I knew I couldn't defend her actions as self-defense just because she was my daughter. What she did was wrong. I exchanged a look with Ms. Weber and Kate, none of us knowing what to say at first. None of us wanted to punish her, especially me.
"McKayla," Ms. Weber said. McKayla raised her tear streaked face. It was really hard now not to grab her and wrap her up in my arms. "You know what you did was wrong. Instead of acting out, you should have told your teacher what Savannah said. She would have handled it." McKayla nodded her head in agreement. You could tell she regrets what she did.
"Now, I'm not going to punish you since this is your first offense and no one was seriously injured. I'm letting you off with a warning. But, I don't want to see this happen again, understood?"
"Yes, ma'am." McKayla softly spoke, through sniffles.
"I'm going to send you home with your father. Get cleaned up and come back tomorrow with a new attitude." Ms. Weber sternly said.
The stillness in the room finally broke by the sound of rustling clothes and shoes stepping on the carpet.
"I must get back to my class. Good seeing you again, Edward. See you tomorrow, McKayla." Kate sauntered out of the room.
The car ride home was a quiet affair. I didn't turn on the radio in case McKayla wanted to talk. But, she was quiet the whole time.
When I pulled up the driveway and shut the car off. The silence eventually got to me and I spoke up. "Let's get you cleaned up and then I want to talk about what happened." I heard a mumbled "okay" from the backseat. I sighed and got out of the front seat to help her out of her car seat.
Once McKayla was in her bath, it didn't take long for the crystal clear water to turn an ugly brown color. I helped her rinse and wash her hair.
"Would you like to explain to me what happened?" I said as I was rinsing the remains of her tropical fruit shampoo out of her hair.
"But, Miss Kate already explained everything to you." She said rubbing her hand across her cheek, trying to remove the paint.
"Yes, but I want to hear it from you." I handed her, her washcloth so she could rub the paint off her legs.
She heaved a sigh and began to tell me everything. And everything included today, and what has happened since she began school almost a month ago. This Savannah girl has been picking on McKayla since the second week of school. It made me upset that she was just taking it all this time. I was mad that she never went to the teacher for help. She also tells me that she doesn't really have any friends. McKayla says she's really trying, but none of the kids, it seems to me, are really connecting to her.
"Every time I try and make a friend, they always run away. I don't get it, daddy. What's wrong with me?" McKayla asks, 20 minutes later wrapped in a fluffy purple towel.
"Nothing. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you. I promise you, angel." I kiss her forehead and help her towel dry her hair. "You're so special. And if the kids at school don't see that, then it's their loss for not having a great friend like you. Besides, you have Bailey, Hannah, James and Luke as friends. And you have me. You'll always have me, because I'm your friend too."
"You're my daddy, you can't be my friend and my dad, silly." McKayla said, pulling a clean pair of jeans up her paint free legs.
"I can't be your dad friend?" I said, helping her slip her lime green t-shirt over her head.
"Well," McKayla said with a real smile appearing on her face. "I guess."
"You guess?! You only guess? I don't know if I like that answer." I say before I lift her over my shoulder and begin to tickle her sides. She begins to giggle and squirm in my hold. I carry her to her bedroom.
"MERCY!" She scream laughs. I stop and lay her down on her bed. She's still coming down from her giggling high.
"You going to be okay now?" I ask, looking down at her.
"Yeah," her smile fades a bit with her next question. "Am I in trouble?"
"You promise it will never happen again?"
"Yes, I super-duper triple promise!"
"Then, you're not in trouble." I walk over to her door and lean against the door jam. "I'm going to go finish up what I was doing at work. I'll come get you later."
"Daddy?" I hear behind me as I'm about to walk out the door.
"Yes, princess?" I say, turning slightly.
"I love you and I'm sorry."
"It's alright, and I love you too."
"Is McKayla alright?" Emmett asks me over the phone.
"Yeah, it was just a misunderstanding." I explained, while finishing up the story I'm supposed to be editing. It was a murder mystery.
"What kind of misunderstanding?"
"Well, this mean girl in McKayla's class, Savannah Newton, said something about Bella and how McKayla wasn't pretty. McKayla decided to take it upon herself and got a hold of some paint. She took the paint and dumped it over the girl's head. And you can just imagine what happened after that."
"Did you say Newton?" Emmett asked. Really? That's all he got out of that?
"Because I bet that little girl is the spawn of Jessica and Mike Newton. Their kid sounds just like her parents, spoiled and a bitch in training. I'm proud of McKayla." So, that's why the name sounded familiar. "Can I go find this girl and straighten her out for messing with my best friend's kid? Rough her up a bit?"
I let out a chuckle. "No, that wouldn't cause anything but a lawsuit."
"Damn, you're right. Fuck the Newtons and their demon child." There was a short pause of silence. "Well, I'm glad McKayla is alright. What's she doing right now?"
"Napping, I think." There was more silence. On the other side, I could hear the sounds of tapping keyboard keys.
"Well, I better get back to work before my dad kicks my ass for slacking off. I'll see you tomorrow." Emm said.
"See you tomorrow." I said, before ending the call.
Monday, December 25th 2006 Christmas Day (7:00am)
It's quiet without you. The house seems to lack everything it used to have. The Christmas tree stands unlit. The shiny red and green wrapped presents lay unopened. I've been sitting on this couch all night, thinking. Thinking about everything that could have prevented this.
We could have stayed like your parents wanted us too. We could have been safe and sound in your parent's guest bedroom. We could have taken the long way, instead of the fucking highway. I could have controlled the car better. I shouldn't have panicked like I did. I should have, I could have, it's all that fills my mind. It's all my fault. If I didn't hit the tree, you'd still be here. We'd be opening presents right now. We loved getting up really on Christmas like little kids and ripping into our gifts. We didn't care about opening them gently, but we always took turns to see what each other got. You'd always complain when I got you something expensive. But, after telling me a million times to take it back, you'd give up and accept it. Then once the gifts were opened, I'd start a fire in the fireplace, or turn on the electric fireplace and we'd cuddle on the couch.
I couldn't open the presents addressed to me from you. And I couldn't bare touch the gifts addressed to you from me. It didn't feel right. I couldn't celebrate this holiday without you. It felt so wrong.
McKayla was down the hall in her crib, sound asleep. She didn't know what day it was. And she wouldn't know or understand it for a long time. Just like she wouldn't know what happened and never would remember. That's the great thing about being an infant; you don't remember anything past the age of 3. I envied her because I would remember this day and everything I felt 20-30 years from now. And I hated myself for it.
Eventually time began to mean something to me. The sun was trying to break through the clouds outside and shine in through the window in the living room. A faint cry came from the nursery. It was time to go through the motions. I got up and walked past the Christmas tree, without giving it another glance because I practically had it memorized by now. Today was just the beginning of what would be many long days of waiting.
"Our daughter acted out for the first time today. It was kind of shocking." I say, as I sit in the all too familiar hospital room. Bella has no changes, still. She's still the same. "I wish you could have been there. I'm scared that this is the start of some sort of rebellion from her. You need to come back, because I need you. She needs you. She needs a real mom in her life. Rose and Alice are fine since they are parents themselves, but McKayla needs her real mom there too. Please wake up soon. I don't want to see them cut you off. I wouldn't bare it if I lost you for real."
Next update in 1-2 days! Thanks for reading xoxo