Posting again... Shhh...
The snow is starting to fall steadily now, so I pull my coat closer to me and adjust my hat so my ears won't get cold. The long walk across campus is really starting to drain on me and I'm glad that I'll be graduating soon. That and my lecture is cancelled for the evening, meaning I have a free night to myself. A rare but welcomed occasion.
A few beers and some Chinese food sounds pretty damn good to me after the week I've had. Not to mention that I'm not entirely looking forward to the long drive I have ahead of me starting tomorrow.
Mom wants me home earlier so I'll have a few days to spend with the family, before I have to dive back into my studies. And, to be honest, I kinda want to be home too. Studying to be an electrical engineer is no cake walk, but while the last four years have worn on me, I've grown from it. I've settled on a specialty and already have job offers floating my way.
But even with the way life is looking for me, at the moment, I'm dying to change into some sweats, call for some take-out and kick back on the couch for the night.
I brush off my shoulders and rub my freezing hands together, blowing out a breath, wishing this storm would end soon. It's getting bad and the forecasters are calling for ice later on, which will make the drive home tomorrow challenging.
Though, it isn't as if I haven't seen snow before. Growing up in Maine, you see it plenty, the same with ice, but I'm just not big on taking long drives in it. And living for the past four years in Illinois hasn't been a picnic either. Northwestern University is very prestigious, but that doesn't mean it is set in a beautiful, always sunny state. Nope, Illinois gets plenty of weather, just like home.
I sigh to myself and remember my dad's words of wisdom. "Son, in life, you can change pretty much everything except for the weather." I smile at the sound of his voice echoing through my head, he had many good pieces of advice. When I was younger, I didn't always follow it, but now, I can see the importance of it.
As I am attempting to keep warm, I see a sight that I've only caught glimpses of over the past few years. Something that makes me want to keep looking more, but I can never bring myself to. And every time I see it, my heart aches, hard.
Brown hair, covered in fresh flakes, pink cheeks, and at closer inspection, blood-shot, brown eyes.
Don't get me wrong, here; I'm not stalking her or anything. Bella and I used to know each other, quite well, actually. But that was back in the day.
Though we haven't technically spoken in over four years, that doesn't mean that I wouldn't know when she is crying. Things like that just don't change, no matter how many years go by. And at this moment, I can clearly see her trying to hide her face as tears roll continuously down those flushed cheeks of hers.
Something in my gut twists at the sight and I can't fight the urge to walk over to her and see what's wrong.
My boots crunch in the snow as I approach her. And as hard as it is to admit, I have to say that my heart speeds up a little as I get closer. This is, after all, the first time in four years that I'll be making some kind of attempt at conversation with her. But, with those four years, I have grown. I know people change over time and I hope that since time has passed we can now bridge that gap between us, even if it is just for a friend to help another friend out.
"Bella," I rasp, once I'm in ear shot, surprised at how my own voice sounds and how constricted my throat suddenly feels.
The urge to slap myself is overwhelming. No matter how many years it's been, she is still Bella and there's no need to get all worked up.
"Yeah," she sniffles, before looking up and wiping her eyes.
When they are clear, she looks startled to see me standing there. That's to be expected after everything, but it isn't like I'm devoid of all human emotions. I still feel compelled to fix the situation when I see a pretty girl upset.
"Hey," I greet dumbly.
"I…um…I just wanted to make sure you were okay," I tell her, trying to explain my unusual presence.
"Oh, yeah, I'm fine," she murmurs, not looking me in the eyes.
"You look just fine too," I say sarcastically and roll my eyes.
No, I didn't come over to her to be mean, but clearly I can see everything is not just 'fine'. And maybe the anger that has been buried beneath the surface for so many years is beginning to show through, but I can't help but be pissed. I hate being lied to and that is exactly what she's doing.
She chokes out a humorless laugh before glancing back up to my face. "Well, Edward, if you call spending Christmas alone in my dorm room, okay, then I guess, yeah, everything is just fucking peachy."
My eyebrows rise in unison, before I frown. "What's the matter?" I wonder quietly, trying, for some strange reason, to be the friend I sense she needs.
"Don't worry, Edward, it's nothing for you to trouble yourself over," she states, wiping furiously at her eyes.
I take a deep breath, trying to collect myself. The last thing she needs is someone blowing up at her.
"B, I didn't mean to butt in, but it's pretty obvious that something's wrong. So if you want someone to talk to, just remember, despite everything, I'm here for you," I offer, turning in the snow and heading back the way I came.
It's weird how I can suddenly feel just how cold I am and yet, while I was standing there talking with her, I couldn't feel a bit of it.
"Edward wait," I faintly hear her call out from behind me.
I stop in my tracks and trudge back to her. "Yeah?" I ask softly.
"Sorry. I didn't mean to be a bitch. It was nice of you to reach out to me. After…you know…"
I shrug and smile at her, hoping to ease her obvious anxiety and cheer her up some.
"I'm just still trying to believe that next week, while everyone else will be celebrating at home, warm, with their families. I will be sitting in my drafty dorm room all alone," she explains, with a sigh.
I shake my head, not that I keep tabs on her, but I heard from some of our mutual friends over the years, that her father normally flies her home for Christmas. Bella's mom has been out of the picture for some time, so her dad likes to have her around for the holidays.
"Your dad's not going to fly you home?" I question, trying not sound like a prick.
I have to admit there were a few years in the past that I saw kids piling into a car and heading to the airport, and I was jealous. My parents have never been able to afford to fly me home. Not around the holidays, but now, I like my drive, and I wouldn't fly even if I could. It's two days of peace. It gives me time to reflect on the past months at school, come up with things that I want to tell them about, and for whatever reason it makes me cherish the short time I have with them.
"He's been sick and needed some special care, so no, he can't float me the cash to fly home. And I've never had a car out here, so I don't even have the option to drive."
"I'm sorry," I tell her sincerely. I really do feel bad for her father, being sick at this time of the year is never good and it sounds serious, whatever it is that he has.
"Thank you," she replies quietly, before sighing. "But either way, I can't afford to go home, so now I'm stuck here, but I'll survive."
As she's saying the words, something comes to mind. I'm not so sure I want to offer, but I can't really think of a better solution and I really don't want to leave her here alone over the holiday. I can't justify something like that on anyone, no matter how badly our relationship ended.
"Bella, what if…uh…" I clear my throat and try again. "What if you ride home with me?" I ask, still in the process of thinking it through.
After I say it, I know I can't take it back, at least not without coming off like a complete dick. Besides, a few days in a car together won't be the worst thing in the world.
"Really?" She sniffles one last time; her eyes brighten and she straightens up.
I sigh and nod, forcing a smile on to my face. I am really hoping what I had thought earlier is true. People change. Maybe, hopefully, she has changed…
"When do we leave?" she asks me through a watery smile.
I can't help but chuckle, she looks adorable. "Tomorrow morning, if that's okay with you?"
She nods, looking relieved and happier than before. "That's perfect, thank you, Edward."
I smile. I've done my job for the day. And maybe even my good Christmas deed for the year too.
"Well then, I guess you have some packing to do," I murmur, backing away. "I can come get you when I'm ready to go, if you want?"
"You know where I am? The Robinson building?"
I nod. "Yep, I'll see you then." And with that…I walk off toward my apartment wondering what the hell I have just gotten myself into.
Thoughts so far?
This ones gonna be short, completed before too long!
Some of you may already know this one...show me some love anyway. :)