Hi! I've decided to start a witfit. It will be a continuous story written with the use of daily prompts, usually posting in the evenings (Sunday is rest day).
This is really different for me as I usually don't start posting a story until it's mostly done. We'll see if I can pull it off.
These chapters will also be unbeta'd so I apologize in advance for that. Commas hate me, and I love them. This doesn't make for a very healthy relationship.
Capricorn75, this one's for you.
Word prompt: Staircase
Plot generator—Phrase catch: Secrets and Lies
Secrets and Lies
As a little girl, Bella understood secrets. Not the kind learned from others through whispers in ears as she promised not to tell a soul, but the kind that were somehow discovered, that became a true and unwanted part of her—shouts inside her heart that could never be let out. She knew how one secret could grow, stacking itself like a staircase in her mind. And she knew that the longer it went untold, the tighter it had to be locked up, and that if it was released, it would cause devastation and destruction.
Letting a secret like hers out could be like detonating a bomb
Nobody taught her these things. She just knew. Like knowing if you open your mouth to talk your voice will come out; like knowing if you move one foot in front of the other, you're walking.
Bella's mother used to take her many places. On their four block walk to the park, the smell of pine strong in the air, her mother taught her silly songs from her childhood that Bella had never heard before. She loved singing Mairzy Doats with her mother more than she liked playing at the park.
Her mother took her to The Freeze and bought her chocolate-dipped soft-serve ice cream cones, that if held up to her face, would stand taller than her head.
Her mother would put a dress on her, zip her up, tie the bow in the back, and tie a matching one in her dark hair. She told her how she would be the prettiest girl, and take her to playdates at other people's homes where Bella would rather sit and gossip with the chain-smoking ladies than play with her friends. Trying to be quiet and invisible, she listened to names: Mrs. Call, Mrs. Cope, Mr. Yorkie. And words: fired, bankruptcy, crazy. Boy, would she never want her name to roll off the tongues of women like them. It could only mean that something terrible had happened to her. The ladies and her mother had to shoo Bella from the kitchen every time.
"Go play with the girls," her mother said with a wave of her hand. "Eight going on eighteen," Bella heard as she left the kitchen. She wondered what that meant, if maybe she wasn't being a kid quite right. What was different about her?
In Jessica's playroom, at the small toy dining set, Bella taught her friends how to play like the ladies: pretend to smoke, pretend to drink coffee—always blowing across the top of the mug first before letting it meet lips—talk about this person or that person scandalized in town.
"Lydia's having an affair with the bankrupt, crazy milkman," Bella said, eyes and mouth wide open.
The other girls, with their pretend coffees in hand and their legs crossed the way Bella had shown them, asked her what an affair was. Bella wasn't sure, but it reminded her of the word "fair," so she said, "It's something fun." She could almost feel her eyes sparkle as the other girls' faces lit up.
When she was ten, her mother stopped taking her to those other places. After school, she'd take her to a client's house two towns away from Forks. She said she had a meeting and she wouldn't be long, but she'd be in the client's back room office long enough for Bella to finish her homework on the stranger's couch, and for three pieces of gum to go dry in her mouth. She walked out to the front yard, always making sure to stand in the same spot under the old oak tree, to see how far into the street she could spit each wad before replacing it with a new stick.
It was the client who gave her the pack of gum. With a smile that marked the corners of his eyes with deep lines, he told her how he'd created the advertisement for that gum that she sees on TV. She didn't feel like telling him she'd never seen his dumb commercial.
Her mother would come out of the office smelling strongly of her perfume. Sometimes she would drive them home grinning, humming along to the music. Other times she would be silent, tears would stream from her eyes and she'd catch them in her hand like she collected them.
Bella knew. Her mother never told her, but she knew. Those client meetings were secrets. And she could never, ever tell anyone, especially not her dad.
By the time she was eleven, her mother said that the meetings had paid off and she could now afford a babysitter. Bella was left with old Mrs. Cameron, who seemed to love her rocking chair and her knitting more than anything else. Bella didn't mind. She liked the rhythmic creaking of the chair, and she got to learn how to knit.
Still, the meetings hadn't stopped. She knew because when her mother picked her up from Mrs. Cameron's, she reeked of her perfume.
"Why do you wear that stuff?" Bella asked, plugging her nose after closing the car door, thinking that if she could get her mother to stop spraying herself with perfume, she could convince herself that the meetings had also stopped. More than that they happened, she hated knowing that they happened.
Her dad made things worse with the way he would smile at her mother, kiss her hello on the lips.
Bella started wrapping a blanket around herself at home, not to keep warm, but as a simulated hug. It made her feel comforted and like she wasn't alone in her room with this secret that had somehow become bigger than her. Sometimes, in the blanket's embrace, she would rock back and forth on the carpet thinking of how secrets are bad things, and that every time she looked into her father's eyes and didn't let the secret out, she was lying to him.
She learned in time that she no longer had the secret, but that the secret had her, and the easiest way to wriggle away from it was to think of other things. Pretend it didn't exist. It was like what she'd learned in science class: mind over matter.
So blocking it out was what she did. Whenever she could.
A/N: After the prologue this story will alternate between past and present.
Thank you for reading. See you tomorrow.