The first lights of morning fell upon the slumbering woman who clutched a cat to her chest. Disregarding the rules of polite society, she had fallen asleep on the floor, right after typing the final point in what would one day become her memoirs. Despite the lightness in her heart, the exorcism of her demons had taken a toll on her body, lulling her into the least fitful rest she had experienced as an adult.
Cocooned by the motherly arms of hope, she dreamed of laughter and affection. The darkness that had always haunted her was still present, but less threatening, more bearable. She still felt the weight of her choices and the pull of self-recrimination, but even in her unconscious state Bella didn't succumb to these unwelcomed emotions. Instead, she concentrated on the fact that she was loved, accepted, appreciated … Alice was there, offering Bella her unwavering devotion. And it was everything she needed to keep the nightmares at bay.
Eventually, she opened her eyes. Staring ahead, she searched her mind for what should come next. What did she do every day after waking up? As hard as she tried, Bella couldn't remember the answer to that question. Panic constricted her throat and had her bolting up right, dislodging a very displeased Alice. Her skin was too hot, but at the same time she was shivering. Trembling, she tried to take a step, but her feet faltered.
Her frantic eyes scanned the room for a way out, a lifeline, a memory … Then she saw her notebook and remembered that her life had been forever altered, not by some event forced on her, but out of her own volition. Calming down, she acknowledged that fear and doubt would be her constant companions for a long time to come. But not knowing what would come next was also exciting, invigorating.
She smiled – the big unknown lie ahead … And she was determined to brave it with her head held high and her heart opened to possibilities.
AN: Don't hate me! As you well know, this story is part of The Return of Saturn Series – the last story in the series will feature a changed Bella, a woman ready to find her HEA. Throughout the series, we will catch glimpses of Bella and what she has been up to. Next story in the Series: The Long Way Back Home – Jasper's story. The first chapter is already up!
Thank you for reading!