I'm not Stephenie Meyer
The sleek clock on the wall of the individual counseling room was deafening as it ticked every. Single. Second. The modern feel of the room made my heart ache to go home to my Dad's house. It was homey with its mismatched furniture and little bit of clutter that manifested faster than I could clean thanks to my dad and all his fishing magazines.
"Do you prefer Isabella, or Bella?" Dr. Cope asked, she already knew the answer but she had to break the ice somehow.
"Bella, please." I informed her needlessly in my most formal voice. If I ever had to act my way out of something, this was it. I knew I needed to sound normal, and calm, and no matter what I had to try not to cry. I recalled Edward's advice on how to get out of here, and for that I was grateful.
"So, Bella, why don't you tell me a little bit about yourself." As if she could be more ambiguous. I was never a great conversationalist, something I inherited from my dad.
"Um" I stammered nervously, "what do you want to know?" I prompted her, her expression softened and I could tell she was going to give me a little more to go on.
"Tell me a little bit about life growing up for you." she decided, seemed generic enough, I decided I could probably fake my way out of this one rather effectively.
"There's not much to tell, I grew up here in Forks with my Dad from the time I was 7. I don't have any siblings, so for as long as I can remember it's just been us two. My childhood was relatively easy, we were always comfortable, I didn't have much, but I never went without something I needed." I tried to sum it up as best as I could, praying it would be enough.
"And what about your mother?" of course it wouldn't be enough, she waited patiently for me to collect my thoughts, and I wasn't sure how I would avoid this one. I had to give as little information as possible while still pretending to participate. I had less than 48 hours left before I would be told whether or not I was free to go, I wanted to know as soon as possible, but wasn't sure how to approach that without making it obvious that freedom was all I could ever hope to get out of this therapy.
"There's not much to say about her, I haven't seen her since I moved in with my Dad. She got involved in some bad things, and luckily my dad had the wherewithal to petition her for custody. She didn't put up much of a fight, and even though she was granted visitation, she never used it." I was still taken aback by her question, I had honestly quite forgotten about the whole concept of a mother.
"I'm very sorry to hear that." Dr. Cope said as she passed me a box of tissues, as if my shitty mother was the worst thing to happen to me. She would get no tears from me, not today.
"I haven't even thought about her in a very long time." I explained as a coolly slid the tissue box back. Hopefully Dr. Cope would take that as a sign of sanity, that I wouldn't refuse to break down over something that had happened over a decade prior.
"Well Bella, with a normal patient I would usually not get into things to at such an excelled pace. However, since you are on a hold, I have to determine whether or not you are a harm to yourself, and I only have two days to do so." She began, never taking her eyes off of me. It was clear that she was constantly assessing me, waiting for me to break. "So tell me, what you were thinking about that day?" She asked gently.
I knew this was it, it was time to fake it. Everything that happened with Sam flashed into my head, and I knew I had to lie. That could never get out, that was a secret I was sure to take to the grave. "It was the one year anniversary of my best friend's death, and I broke up with my..." I gulped, the word making me sick "boyfriend...unexpectedly. I wasn't really sure what happened, I just ended up on the cliff and I jumped. It was a very overwhelming day." I responded as calmly as I could, though the tears still threatened to spill over. She silently slid the tissue box back to me, and I happily accepted this time.
"Can you tell me about your friend?" she prompted sweetly, and I wished Jake hadn't drug me out of my watery grave.
"You've probably heard about her." I scoffed, and I realized I had to keep up the charade. "Tanya Denali, she was all over the news, when she died. She was pregnant, killed herself on the top of her mother's work building." I said as numbly as possible. I was making good use of the tissues as Dr. Cope nodded, clearly waiting for me to calm down a bit before delving into it.
"That's right." She said, and it became clear to me that she didn't know the two of us were connected. I didn't care, as long as this deflected from her asking me about Sam. "And were you the friend that was up there with her that day?" She asked, everyone in Forks knew every detail of the tragic story. It was the most excitingly morbid thing that had ever happened to the dreary town.
"Yes, I was." I whispered through the tears that I had given up on trying to avoid.
"That must have been very hard for you." She said, I was hoping that the subject would change. I glanced up at that loud, stupid clock. Tick tick tick it mocked me, indicating I was only barely halfway done with this torture.
I drew in a deep breath. "More than anyone could ever know." I said, and I was shocked by my own honesty. I wasn't sure if she would see it as a good thing or a bad thing. I just wanted to sleep in my own bed, and make my dad dinner, and go back to normal.
"Do you feel guilty?" She asked and suddenly I saw red. I was angry at this whole situation. Why the hell was I there in that stupid room?
"Of course I do!" I shouted. "If you were two seconds too late from grabbing your best friend from jumping off a building, how would you feel!" I continued to yell. Suddenly, I calmed down. I was sure I had just damned myself to more time in that god forsaken hospital. Shit.
"Anyone would, your reaction is completely normal." She assured me, much to my surprise. I was sure she would have me sedated after my outburst. "It's good to show emotion about these things." She said, pleased somehow. I didn't really care how she felt about my reaction, so long as it wasn't lengthening my sentence. "However, you have to know, it wasn't your fault." she spoke softly.
I nodded, at a loss for words. I couldn't say I knew it wasn't my fault, but I had to make her think that I didn't think that.
"I think we have talked about her enough for today." Dr. Cope decided, and it was like music to my ears. "Let's talk a little bit about your stay here." she smiled, and I was hoping she would lead the conversation from here on out, since she probably had more to say about the fate of my stay than I did.
"How are you feeling about group? You did good for a first day today." She complimented. For a just a moment I could run out to the rec room and give Edward a giant hug for already providing my answer for me. Thank you, Edward!
"I liked group, it made me feel not so alone." I lied. "I noticed some of the people in group weren't checked into the hospital." I prompted, waiting for her to offer up the out patient care to me as soon as my 3 day hold was up.
"Yes, when you're checked out, you can choose to participate in both the group sessions and continue your sessions with me." She answered, and I saw it as my golden opportunity to make an impression.
"I think that would be a really good idea." I said with a little too much enthusiasm and I was sure she could detect it in my voice. For a split second, I'd wondered if Edward would be at these sessions, but quickly shoved the thought away.
"It usually makes the hospital and myself especially a little more comfortable about release when patients attend these meetings." She said exactly what I wanted her to, but I could see on her face there was a catch. "However," she started "if one doesn't show up to these meetings on a regular basis, I'm within my rights to call a welfare check on the patient at their home, and I will." She threatened. It was clear then that she saw right through me.
"Understandable." I tried to sound neutral as I nodded my head. I was sure, if she had threatened me with the consequences of not showing up, then surely she was planning on letting me leave, right?
"I think that's enough for today, Bella." Her friendly expression was back. "It's about time for dinner, and you did very well today. We'll talk more tomorrow about what we expect from you after your stay and go from there." She smiled, and I did too, though I was sure it looked forced.
"Thank you." I shook her hand, and left for the door a little too quickly.
I walked back into the rec room and Edward looked at me with a frown on his face. I decided to humor him and go sit next to him since I knew he would seek me out anyway.
"You've been crying again." he accused, and I didn't appreciate being called out for my emotional instability.
"Yep." I sighed. "I took your advice, I think it worked, but I think they're actually going to force me to come to those sessions." I shrugged, it seemed unimportant considering it was the alternative to staying in this place.
"Good." He smiled, but it failed to reach his eyes. "I'm probably going to check out soon and do the same." he confessed, and I wasn't comfortable with the shitty feeling in my stomach at the announcement of his departure.
"Oh." I said, and my voiced sounded much sadder than I wanted it to. As much as Edward had annoyed me, he did manage to be the only person I'd spoken to since I had been checked in. "It's a miracle you had the self control to stay here as long as you have." I said, hoping the encouragement would counteract my blatant disappointment at his admission. And then I realized it had really only been a little over a day.
"I won't leave until you do." He confessed, looking sheepish.
"Why the hell would you do that?" I spat, I wasn't a good person to get attached to, and I knew it. I had one lonesome butterfly in my stomach tickling me at his revelation.
"Because you need me." He chuckled and I scowled. I couldn't help but notice how beautiful his laugh was, and a laugh wasn't something you got a whole lot of in this place. His green eyes lit up beautifully, and his perfect teeth were on display.
"I don't need anyone." I said venomously, and as soon as it started, his laugh ended.
He took a deep breath and suddenly looked embarrassed, as if he had confessed too much. "Everyone need someone, Bella." He said quietly, and the butterfly returned in reaction to the way he said my name. It seemed as if he was saying that he needed someone more than he had expected me to, and I pitied him in that moment. I wanted so badly to trust him enough to let him be the person I needed and could lean on, but reality is harsh, and I couldn't let anyone in on my secrets.
"It's about dinner time." I changed the subject, hoping to get the pleading look out of his eyes. "I'm hungry and I believe we have a not date." I said, trying to be friendly, I could put being a loner on the back burner for just a moment if it meant that he would stop looking so sad. He flashed me the most devastatingly beautiful crooked grin and my heart fell into my stomach.
He held his hand out to me, and I begrudgingly took it. His touch wasn't as bad as I had expected, his grip was gentle and I almost enjoyed the feel of his calloused hands. I didn't want to admit to myself how perfectly our two hands fit together. He briefly stroked my hand with his thumb, but ceased when I involuntarily tensed up. Any girl would have been lucky to be holding hands with a man like Edward, but I couldn't bring myself to want it as much as I should. Not just a few days after I had been ruined for all men for the rest of my life. Damaged goods my mind told me, and at that, I had to let go of his hand.
He seemed to not notice, since we were almost to the line to grab our trays. I put a few things on my plate, never having much of an appetite these days, and I noticed Edward was absolutely piling his plate with everything available. I couldn't figure out where he put it all, he wasn't a small guy. Tall, but lanky, with long lean muscles around his entire body, and couldn't help but appreciate the definition in his bicep as they tensed momentarily to pull out my chair for me. I muttered a thanks, and sat down.
As soon as he sat down, he started putting some of the food from his plate on to mine with a grin.
"What the hell are you doing?" I asked angrily, trying to keep my voice down.
"You didn't get enough food, so I thought I'd help you out." It was clearly some kind of joke to him, and I was getting irritated.
"I eat plenty!" I defended. "Stop that!" I hissed as I grabbed his hand to stop him from putting even more food on my very full plate.
"They're watching every move you make, just so you know. They'll account your lack of appetite as a sign that you're not mentally ready to leave. And as I said, I can't leave until you do, so eat up. You're too thin." Over the last six months everyone had commented on the amount of weight I lost and not in a good way.
I did miss my old body, curvy in the all the right places. I had never enjoyed being too slim. I liked the way I looked more when I couldn't see my ribs and my hip bones, but I couldn't bring myself to eat, and who was I trying to impress anyway? I was suddenly embarrassed that Edward had noticed my boyish figure. He hadn't even seen how I looked before.
"If you don't like the way I look, look elsewhere." I said coldly and started to get up. He gently grabbed my forearm, and I sunk back down into my seat, the last thing that would help me get out of here would be making a scene.
"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said anything. You have to know how beautiful you are." He said the last part a little lower, and looked away from me. My cheeks were on fire, and I was sure my blush was relentless. I was the most plain thing to ever grace the planet, and I wasn't sure why this man who looked like a Greek god was trying to flatter me.
"I can't eat much when I'm stressed out." I confessed, hoping to steer the conversation in almost any other direction. The amount of self consciousness I felt in that moment was almost unbearable. He didn't respond immediately, instead he just gestured toward my plate. I took a big bite, giving in.
"No need to be stressed out, you're going to get better. You need your strength to recover." He said, pointed at one of the darker bruises I had. I was unsure if it was from the fall or from Sam, I was covered in too many marks to know one from the other. "How did you get those anyway?" He pressed.
"I'm not sure. I bruise easy." I was trying to be a vague as possible. His look told me he was expecting more of an answer, and I hated that I was a shitty liar. I was going to have to get better. "From the fall I guess." I shrugged. His expression grew sad again.
"Why did you do that anyway?" I wasn't liking his game of twenty questions, and I certainly wasn't going to confide in him more than I would the therapist who was sworn to secrecy.
"That's a conversation for another time." My tone grew sharp and I disliked his reaction to it. There was something brooding about Edward, and I didn't want to be a source of more grief. "I'm really sorry about your friend, by the way." I changed the subject yet again. "I know what that's like more than you'd expect." I decided I'd give him just a small nugget of information to appease him for now.
"I don't think you do, but thank you." He answered sharply, and I was taken aback. His hands clenched into tight fists. He shut his eyes momentarily and breathed deeply through his nose. He repeated this motion a few times and his hands slowly opened again. "It's a sensitive subject." He said in apology. My heart ached for him more than it did for myself.
"I do understand, I saw someone very close to me...die." I hated that word. It was so final, I hated it more than I hated the term passed away it seems too peaceful to describe what happens when someone hits the pavement. I could see in Edward's eyes that he still didn't believe me, but I didn't want to turn this into a pissing contest. "Did you ever hear about Tanya Denali?" I whispered, and I knew he would know who I was talking about. He sat up a little straighter and leaned toward me, obviously pleased that I was willing to share more information.
"Yes, my father treated her mother for shock. I was deployed when it happened though. Sounds awful, her poor mother, and that poor girl who was up there with her." He shivered, and I hated that I was a faceless, nameless, local celebrity known only as that poor girl. Though it beat out being a local celebrity with my face and name Dad had convinced the people at the newspaper not to use my name in the numerous articles.
"I was the girl who was up there with her." I said quickly, like ripping off a band aid. Other than the few people I knew very well, most people had not been able to identify that girl as me. The rumor going around the town was that the person up there had been a random worker who followed Tanya up to the roof after noticing she was upset, and I never corrected them.
"Jesus." He muttered. "Is that why..." he trailed off.
"We aren't talking about that today." I reminded him. He nodded not wanting to push further, I had already given him far too much. "Most people don't know that I was the girl up there, so if it ever comes up even though it probably won't, please don't say anything." I pleaded.
"I won't say anything." He sighed. "So, can we talk about what happened someday? If not today?" He looked at me with such seriousness it made me nervous. His eyes were burning, and I felt guilty for holding his gaze longer than I should.
"I can't really promise that." I said honestly as disappointment dawned on him. "I don't really know you, after all." I reasoned with him.
"You can if you want to." He shrugged. "I'd like you to." he blushed only slightly at his admission.
"I have to be honest, I'm not great at the friendship thing, and believe me when I tell you...I am fucked up." I said, hoping it would scare him off, and that this irrational pull to him could stop more easily if he avoided me.
"So am I!" He laughed "why the hell do you think I had to check myself into this god-awful place." He said through his chuckles. I couldn't help it as I laughed lightly along with him.
"What a shitty place to look for a friend." I scolded him. I tried to control my breathing as he lightly placed his hand on top of mine.
"I disagree." He said, as his eyes bore into mine.
I was in deep, deep trouble.
A/N: Thanks so much for those of you that have been reviewing, I appreciate it more than I can express. I'm sorry about the delay in updates. I decided to reread twilight to get a better handle on the personalities of the characters. To be honest, I haven't read it since it came out and kinda stopped being a fan with Breaking Dawn (I thought it was awful and way too perfect. NO CONFLICT!), and I enjoy reading twilight fanfics much more than I enjoy the originals, sorry twihards :/. Please review. They're almost out of the hospital and then the exciting part can begin!