Thank you to those of you kind enough to review. I'm hoping more of you will with this newest chapter. I went back and fixed a couple spelling errors in the prologue. Let's hope there aren't any in this chapter.
I don't really think there's a song that I'd suggest for this chapter. I think you'll understand after reading.
"Can you hand me the 7/8 wrench?"
Bella reached into the bottom drawer of Jake's toolbox and began her search. "So why exactly are you fixing these bikes up?" Every one she picked up seemed to the wrong size. She frowned. "They look like more work than they're worth."
Jacob shook his head. "They're gonna be better than new when I'm done with them. You gotta have some faith, Bells!" He wiped the grease off his hands onto his jeans. "Any luck?"
She sighed. "I don't know. I swear I keep pulling out the same one every time!" In the back of her mind, she couldn't help but remember another garage and a very different mechanic.
"The rotors are warped," came the all too familiar haughty tone of the blonde vamp that was currently lying on the ground beneath the rusty red pickup truck Bella loved so much. "She'll need to replace the brakes as well."
Rosalie crawled out from under the vehicle and nodded to Emmett who gently lowered the front end of the truck until the tires were back on the cement floor.
He smiled at her. "And you were worried it was going to be something major. I'll help Rose change them this weekend while you're at work."
"I only agreed to find the problem," Rosalie reminded them coldly. "I never agreed to do the actual work. Now since I'm already dirty from crawling on the floor, I think I'll go hunt. Emmett?"
Bella gave Emmett a weak smile as he followed his mate out the side door of the Cullen's massive garage. Sighing, she turned toward him. "She's always going to see me as a nuisance, isn't she?"
"Rose is just being stubborn, Bella. She'll come around," he replied.
Bella blinked back the sting in her eye. 'I bet she couldn't wait to get away from the pathetic human girl,' she thought. 'Rosalie hated me. She knew I wasn't good enough for him or their family.'
"Hey, I found it." Jake picked it up from the bench between them. "Right in front of us the whole time," he laughed. His smile faded when he realized he was the only one, and he clenched his fist tightly around the wrench. "Bella?"
"I think I'm going to head home. I have homework."
"It's Saturday, and you don't have work this weekend," he stated. "Come on. Why don't we go out to a movie? I'll see if the guys want to go too."
"No. I really want to go home and finish my homework. Maybe some other time," she told him.
Just as she turned to walk toward her truck, there was a loud crash behind her. The sound made her jump, and she shrunk back against the nearest wall. Jacob stood there glaring at her, his enormous toolbox overturned and dented at his feet. There were tools everywhere! Wide-eyed, she looked up at him and prayed that he didn't transform while she was so close.
"Damnit, Bella! When are you going to stop doing this to yourself? Everyone is worried about you. I know you were hurt when they left, but they're not coming back. You graduate in two weeks. You won't make up your mind what you want to do because you're afraid to leave Forks on the slim change they might stop in."
Tears gathered in her eyes as she stared at the ground. "Stop it," she pleaded softly.
"No! I love you, Bella, and it hurts to see you like this." He took a step toward her, but she started to slip along the wall in an attempt to keep the distance. Jacob immediately froze. "I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to freak you out."
"I need to go home."
He sighed. "Let me call Leah or Emily to drive you home."
"No!" She shouted. "I'm sick of everyone treating me like a child. I can drive myself home."
As she stormed out of the garage, he followed cautiously. He felt so guilty for yelling at her and scaring her with his outburst, but she was hell bent on wasting her life in their little town waiting on a fantasy. The Cullens weren't coming back. If they really cared or wanted her, they would've returned by now. Besides, she was part of the pack now, ever since they rescued her from that bloodsucker Laurent. She knew their secrets.
"Don't leave mad, please."
She yanked the driver's side door open and climbed in. "I'm not mad. I just want to go home. Goodbye."
It was a slow ride home for Bella. She had to pull over a couple times to calm herself down. During one particular anxiety attack she found herself reaching for the stereo to turn it on, thinking that some loud music might distract her. Instead, she only managed to stick her hand in the gaping hole in her dash where her birthday present use to be. This reminded her of the first time she got into her truck after he left.
Charlie told her that she needed to go to school today. 'You haven't left the house in four days, Bells. This isn't healthy,' he had told her. Bella had stormed out of the house, uncaring that she was in day old sweats and an old tattered hoodie. Jumping into her truck, she jammed the key into the ignition and turned the engine over. Why couldn't Charlie just let her stay home? What was the point of going to school? Didn't he know it wouldn't help? She'd only feel their absence all the more there.
Music immediately filled the air inside the cab, and Bella hunched over the steering wheel clutching her chest. There was a tightness, a gnawing in the pit of her stomach. As the seconds ticked by, it seemed to grow louder and the nausea built up. She quickly leaned over and began to heave onto the passenger side floor. Horrible tremors wracked her body. She hadn't eaten anything in days. Her body had nothing to get rid of.
Bella let out a sob as another round shook her. Through bleary eyes, she tried to focus on the radio, but it was a blur of illegible green light. 'Stop this,' she yelled at herself. 'Stop it now! You're stronger than this. You have to prove to them you're stronger than this.'
"They thought you were weak," she told herself. She narrowed her eyes and pulled herself up. "I'm not weak!"
She reached under the dash and curled her fingers around the bottom of the dash. She could feel where the plastic cover ended, hiding the wiring underneath.
"I'm not weak!"
She planted her feet on the floor and began to pull up on the dash with all her strength. It took a few seconds, but finally something cracked. Bella laughed slightly and tried to pull harder. This time it snapped! She was breathing hard now in her hysterical state. As much as she pulled and pulled and pulled, the dash did little more than crack and snap.
'If he was here, what would you do,' her subconscious asked. She reared back, bringing both her feet up and began kicking at the radio repeatedly. The faceplate cracked and pieces fell onto the floor. The music started to cut in and out, but it was still too loud to her ears. Bella continued to kick at it. It wasn't enough! 'You're not strong enough. You can't make it stop. They'll all think you're pathetic if you can't manage this.'
"I'm not weak!" She screamed.
It was a good thing Charlie wasn't home during all that, now that she looked back. He would have had her committed then and there if he witnessed his daughter having an epic mental breakdown in their driveway over a radio. To this day, she still didn't know how she managed to get the radio out of the dash. She blacked out. All she remembered was waking up a couple hours later curled up on the seat. The radio lay in a heap of broken plastic and torn wires on the floor—and blood. There was so much blood. Her hands and arms were sliced open. At some point, she must have passed out from the smell of it. It took her an hour to gather enough will power to climb out of the truck, and then she had slumped onto the ground and sat there for a very long time.
Sighing, Bella pulled into the driveway next to the police cruiser. She cut the engine and glanced down at her hands. There were a couple slight scars from the radio incident. She was lucky in a sense. The cuts were all fairly shallow. She managed to clean herself up before her father had made it home from work. As she opened her door, the mailman drove up to their box. She walked over as he rolled down his window.
"Afternoon, Bella," he greeted her. "Looks like you got some important documents here." He smiled at her as he lifted up a thick, white envelope. "Feels heavy," he commented as he handed it over to her. "That's gotta be a good sign."
Bella frowned at it, turning it over in her hand to read the front. Gasping, she nearly dropped it. Sean, the mailman, grinned. "Dartmouth. Now, that's a pretty good school."
She could only nod slowly, not sure if she could trust speaking right now. 'How?' She didn't apply. The only schools she applied to were a couple local community colleges.
"I really hope you got in, Bella." Sean gave her a sympathetic look. "You deserve it."
She just nodded again and turned toward the house. Her father walked into the hall as she walked in the door and closed it absentmindedly. Her eyes were still glued to the unopened letter in her hand. Charlie pulled off his jacket and hung it over the banister.
"What's that, Bells?"
"I can't open this," she whispered. She thrust it at her father before running up the steps to her room.
Charlie turned it over and his eyes widened. He glanced up the stairs where his daughter had just disappeared and then back to the letter. Knowing she probably wouldn't open it; he walked over to his desk and grabbed the letter opener. Last time he got a paper cut, he thought Bella was going to go into shock. He removed the papers inside and began to read.
Upstairs, Bella paced back and forth. Perhaps this was just another hallucination of hers. It wasn't the first time. Was Charlie reading it? She was afraid to go back downstairs to find out. It didn't make sense. It was the last school in the world she would ever want to apply to.
"Bella?!" Charlie came busting into her room an ecstatic smile on his face. "You got into an ivy league school! This is amazing."
She could feel the color drain from her face as she stared at him. "That's impossible."
Obliviously, he went on, "Why didn't you tell me you applied to Dartmouth? We should call your mom right away, and I think we need to go out to dinner." He walked over and pulled her into a tight hug. "I'm so proud of you, Isabella."
"It's impossible," she whispered again.
"Go get cleaned up. We'll go to Port Angeles and celebrate."
Charlie frowned. "What? Why not? This is incredible."
"I don't want to go."
"Okay, we can go somewhere else," he told her.
Bella shook her head. "I don't want to go to Dartmouth." She turned her back to her father and glanced out the window at the forest below. "I'm really tired. I want to take a nap. Can you turn the light off on your way out please?"
A/N: I always kind of figured that she had to just loose it completely when she removed the radio.