Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight. If I did we'd have midnight sun….*drops the mic and walks away*

Barely breathing chapter 3

Clean clothes and a cup of good coffee can change a lot of things. It wasn't changing my mind on what I was hearing from Esme about Jasper's treatment.

"its ninety days intensive treatment. " Her smile and kindness were a bit over whelming. She went on

"For the first ninety days he will not be allowed to have any communication from family or friends. He will participate in mandatory group and individual therapy for ten to twelve hours every day and when he's not in therapy he will be in either job placement training or college prep. Whichever he chooses after his detox period. His total treatment will be six months and after that he can spend up to one year in a recovery half way house. All expenses are paid and there are benefits for your family as well. Questions so far?" she passed me a brochure outlining what she just told me. I shake my head and move on.

"The police are going to try and charge him with…." She trailed off looking for another piece of paper in her manila folder. I'm not sure if she's trying to put me at ease but she is. I wonder briefly if she's a mother. She would be a good one. She looks like she bakes cookies and gives really good hugs. In my sleepless state I consider briefly asking her for a hug but I don't want to come off weird.

"Here it is. Intent to distribute based on volume and quantity. Basically that's a fancy way of saying he had a bunch of drugs in your house and was going to sell them, But no matter. "She slipped the carbon copy paper under the rest, smiled and intended to move on.

"No matter?" I inquired.

"None at all." She smiled brighter and patted my shoulder before she continued "he has very minor offenses on his record. Our lawyers will represent him and you if necessary for free as long as he completes the program."

"That's blackmail." I tell her in astonishment. He would have a whole legal team for free if can complete this program.

"We prefer to think of it as an incentive. He will also be eligible for job placement when he's released. We can also help him get government assistance but we find a higher success rate among those that go into the work force post treatment. Idle hands and all that." She never stopped smiling.

"How are you fixed for things right now Bella? Is there anything you need? We can provide food, rent, job placement. I actually have a few openings right now."

I think about taking her up on all of it. It would be so easy to live off of this program as long as they'd let me. I could sleep. I could read. But in the end the easy way wasn't my way.

"I was evicted from my apartment last night. I am going to have to call my dad and see what I can do." It's exhausting just saying it. Let alone going home and doing it. He won't be mad or even disappointed. I just don't want to ask him for anything.

"It's certainly none of my business Bella but you seem like a bright, extremely capable young woman. Maybe while Jasper is being treated you should take some time for you. Living in an environment of addiction is very taxing. Not to mention that wonderful care you took of your mother. Maybe just for a little while let someone take care of you." Her words were nice. I wasn't used to praise from anyone.

"I can't live off my dad. He makes a good living but shouldn't have to support me. I'll figure something out. "I tell Esme. She nods carefully and pulls out a business card. On the back she writes a phone number.

"if you find yourself in need of anything. Call me day or night. I will also be checking in with you to make sure everything is going smoothly."

"But you can't tell me anything about Jasper?" I know the answer already.

"I'm sorry but No. it's important for both of you to get some distance. You need to take this time to figure out what to do with your life. See what Bella is like without all this other stuff in the way." No one had ever said anything like to me before. It was a lot to think about. I was always taking care of someone. Mom is gone. Jasper's in treatment. I should feel relieved instead I just feel lonely. She hands over the rest of the paper work and when I'm done I'm free to go. I expect her to shake my hand when we part but instead she hugs me and I'll be damned if she doesn't smell like warm sugar cookies.

I take a cab home at the expense of the center and prepare myself to call Charlie. I climb the steps and for once take a good look around. The carpet in the hallway is matted and worn. It smells too and I never noticed it before. . It smells like pee. The banister is wobbly when I steady myself on it. The farther I walk the more I notice I look in the corner of the final steps up to the apartment and notice a tiny hole, there are mice or even rats in the building. I start to think about Esme and what she said. Could I really have time for me? I could leave here. No more drugs in my apartment. No more puke on the carpet. No more taking care of anyone but me. I instantly feel selfish but still can't stop thinking about it.

Charlie is understanding and more than a little pissed off when I call him and tell him what's going on.

"Bell's I'd like you to come stay with me. "He says in his very Charliey way. It makes me smile a little.

"But Dad your bills. I have nothing. I'm tapped. Jasper sold all of mom's jewelry to get drugs and my car's been repo'ed ." I feel like I'm going to cry again but keep it together.

"First of all I am your father and if you think for two damn seconds you are going to pay bills here you are wrong young lady." He is getting angry at me. We are so much alike sometimes.

"We will get this all worked out. I am going to come down and get you tomorrow. Take tonight to pack your stuff. We can figure out what to do with your mom's stuff tomorrow. Jasper's stuff you can arrange to send to him at the rehab. Stay in the apartment until I get there. Do not open the door for anyone but Me." he says. I think briefly about reminding him how old I am but decide he's on a role so I let it go. We hang up and I look around. I see the fallen police tape over the door as I lock the dead bolt and wonder if this is it. Am I finally on to better things?