Inspired by 50 first dates. Bella suffers from short-term memory loss, which makes things a bit different when the Cullens arrive.
I was staring out the window when the cellphone on the table buzzed. I didn't want to answer and yet I ended up dragging myself to get it.
"Hey dad," I greeted him. My voice was apathetic.
"Hey kiddo," Charlie replied. His voice seemed rough as I remembered it, but there was a tinge of worry there as well. For a few seconds the silence felt loaded.
"I love you Bella," Charlie told me severely. I guess I'd had enough bad days for him to recognize when I had one. I smiled unbeknownst to him.
"Yeah, I love you too, dad," I told him truthfully. I breathed out and the silence stretched. "I'm sorry," I told him honestly and he was already cutting me off before I could end it.
"Don't be silly, Bella. This isn't your fault… I just want to know how to improve your situation. What do you need?" Charlie's voice was honest and I tried to blink away the tears. I finally managed to pull myself together.
"I think I just need to take it in," I promised him and I forced myself to laugh lightly. I hoped his concerns were dulled. "It's crazy, but thank you and I love you," I told him. I moved to end the call and Charlie said a few helpful things more and then we hung up.
The house was eerily quiet.
As always, in Forks, the weather was shitty and today was no exception. While it didn't rain it was certainly not the best weather.
I stood still for a while, just letting the silence wash over me. I didn't even want to think about it.
To be honest, I just wanted to fall asleep and forget.
How many times had I done that already?
How many times had I awoken frightened?
How many times had I overcome my predicament and had a good day?
I couldn't imagine ever having a good day again. I couldn't imagine waking up and moving on.
How can you move on when you cannot remember the progress I've made?
It didn't seem easy.
And yet I had had good days. I'd had days with productivity. I had shelves with books I didn't recall reading, but which I must've read. Each book had a summary from what I'd read previously and books read entirely had longer summaries along with thoughts and opinions. It seemed like I'd been very good at organizing.
And yet, in my current state, I couldn't fathom having the calm to read a book or the strength to overcome my predicament.
Charlie forced me to talk when he got home. I didn't remember him like this. Usually he was a quiet man. Now, he wanted to draw me out. It made me feel miserable for being miserable.
I went to bed early, just wanting to forget, and somewhat afraid as well. The fear I fell asleep with dissipated throughout the night and as morning came around I had no recollection of it ever happening.
I stared at the card in my hand. It held my name and had been the first thing I saw as I woke. I vaguely recognized my surroundings as my room in Forks. This was weird, but I forced myself to be calm. I opened the card again and re-read the note. It was my own handwriting and it gave a short story about my condition. This was really odd.
I should cry, I should panic, but my card warned me of that. It seemed I had done enough of the already.
By the door stood a full length mirror; I didn't recognize the mirror but approached it.
I looked like myself. Mostly. Longer hair? I wasn't sure.
On the mirror was a note containing the date; it would seem I was 17 and a few months. Apparently I had had the accident over a year ago.
How odd. I was probably in shock, because I was accepting all this very easily.
"Bells?" Charlie's voice sounded from downstairs.
"Yeah?" I replied. I shuffled as I was suddenly anxious as what to expect. Charlie entered the room with caution, yet with confidence. My assessment was that it was a regular routine. I let out a small breath: he looked the same, though there were a few grey hairs.
"How are you?" His voice was firm and certain, not like the awkward tone I recalled. A lot had happened since I was 16.
"You must ask me that often," I wondered, suddenly curious. Charlie moved into the room with certainty and comfort. As if it was a usual routine.
"Yes," he replied. Silence fell. "You can turn on the TV. The DVD is in… Your journal is on the desk," he told me. "The planner is next to your journal. At ten o'clock I will be calling to check up on you," he continued. "The wristband on you contains numbers to me, your mother, your own cellphone, which is by your journal as well," he said. I nodded and recognized his pragmatic nature.
"I will… take it in," I replied. Charlie nodded and left me.
The DVD was of myself and obviously made somewhat recently.
It seemed I warned myself of being a nuisance, of panicking and freaking out. But at the same time I was surprised at how eager my DVD-self was at the prospect of self-discovery.
I learned that I made loads of tapes to myself. That I, when reading a book, would write a summary from where I'd ended from as to not read the same passage again and again. The books already read contained a longer summary along with the date made and my views and opinions.
I was mesmerized at how good I was. And I felt empowered.
The DVD let me know that I had my ups and downs and that some days I could just lie whining on my bed and others I'd be productive. I recognized this day to be productive.
By the time ten o'clock came around I'd sorted through my journal and was aware of previous projects, current and future. It felt like someone had made all of it and yet it was someone who knew me so extremely well.
A note from earlier this week mentioned a shopping trip. A list was attached, but I decided to go through the list again.
All the time I pondered how odd all of this was and how happy I was to be able to overcome it. It made me feel so empowered.
It also made me wonder about my bad days. How many did I have and how did Charlie handle it?
Currently my journal said I was on a leave from the facility I usually stayed at. Another note led to a whole section about Renee.
There was little bad and little which surprised me. She had been unable to cope with my condition and so she sent me to Charlie, who let me stay at a facility in Seattle, but kept close and had me home often. As everyone got used to the condition my stays with Charlie became longer. I knew why I stayed with Charlie rather than Renee, which was sad. It also made me a little angry that, in my time of need, my mother was still incapable of being a mother.
My phone beeped.
"Hey dad," I greeted him.
"How are you, Bells?" He asked. Suddenly it seemed as a loaded question.
"I think this is one of my good days," I replied. I heard in sigh in what I presumed was relief. How odd. "Do my bad days occur often?"
"A few times a week," he replied. I felt sorry for him. I remembered always taking care of my mother. She'd say I was older than I appeared. I'd always doubted this statement. Especially now if I was whining a lot…
But then again… always 16 mentally must be tough.
"I'm doing groceries today and I'm thinking about doing fish fry for tonight," I told Charlie in my need to treat him. I heard him groan and I chuckled, almost sad. I tried to heave myself up from the dark place. "I guess I'm treating you often, huh?" I wondered.
"I'm a simple man…" he replied with a gruff. I laughed lightly.
"We should make a list," I replied. Charlie agreed and as we hang up and I made a big list for the fridge. It contained dates and things eaten on those dates. Currently it said nothing, but tonight I'd make lasagna. Tomorrow would be different.
By the drive-way stood a sturdy car. My name was painted across it and I fished around my keys to see if there was a car-key. There was. I stared uncertain at the car. According to my DVD I'd just gotten my driver's license when I had an accident. Some drunk driver had hit me.
Again I wondered that I should feel different, but mostly it all seemed so surreal. There were no pains to remind me and it made it easy to forget.
It was only when I reached the store that I was reminded. The way people looked at me made me realize that they certainly knew. Many of them greeted me, but with a wary attitude. Many I didn't recognize, but I assumed I had met them before.
Despite the weirdness I decided to go for a ride after I'd left the groceries at home. The trip took me around Forks and I was surprised to see how little had changed. It had been a while since I'd been here, as I had lived with Renee. I'd come here in the summer to visit Charlie, but I supposed I'd stayed mostly indoors.
At Newton's I stopped out of curiosity. I knew they had a son and I wondered how old he was now. I remembered him from my days as a child and from conversations. I'd yet to see any young people and they had probably changed the most.
"Hey Bella," a guy greeted me. He had light blond hair and a polite smile. I was surprised at his greeting.
"Eh…" I replied. "Hey," I ended lamely. "I supposed I've been here before," I said. I fished around for my journal to see if it said anything.
"Once in a while you come in to see how much I've changed," he smiled kindly and I returned the smile. He seemed friendly and open, but at the same time reserved. I recognized a pattern.
"Ahh, this was my objective now as well," I replied. "When was I here last?" I questioned.
"Two weeks ago. When you first arrived," he told me. I nodded absently and looked around.
"Shouldn't you be at school?" I wondered. I wondered if I shouldn't be at school, but realized to futility of it.
"It's Saturday," he mentioned. I'd known that, but forgotten in my mental wanderings.
"Oh yeah," I replied. I looked around some more and he left me to my wanderings. I studied my journal to figure out where I was and soon I found the entry from when I'd visited.
The door-bell snapped me out of my reverie and I looked towards the front of the store. A group, by the sound of it, had entered. I was curious and moved forward and when I saw them I almost gasped.
I had never seen them before. Or obviously I didn't remember it. And even then I wondered if I could possibly forget such a beauty.
They were all incredibly beautiful. Jaw-dropping.
It was three guys and they looked to be a bit older than my current age. One of the boys, the youngest-looking one, looked towards me. His face was suddenly hostile, angry, and I stepped back involuntary.
The two others, a lanky blond guy and a bulky dark-haired guy, registered the change and moved to their friend. For what seemed like an eternity they took me in and then left the store in a rush. Only seconds had passed, though.
Only when they'd left did I realize I was holding my breath.
"Who were they?" I whispered. Mike Newton had missed the whole thing, but was just in time to see them drive off.
"Hmm… Dunno," he seemed perplexed, but let it go and left me for his duties.
For the rest of the day I felt jittery and uncomfortable. I was uncertain if I should write an entry about it in my book and I ended up not to.
I didn't want to remember such a weird encounter.
Charlie was home in time for dinner. He was carrying a package with him.
"This is for you. An idea you came up with a while ago," he said as he handed me the package. My first idea was to scan my memory of this incident, but I recalled my predicament.
I laughed, "how exiting, just like a Christmas present from myself," Charlie laughed with me as I opened the box carefully.
"You complained about not being able to find your notes well enough," Charlie explained. In my hand lay a small electronic notebook. It looked incredibly expensive. I looked inquiringly at Charlie.
"It's a tablet for you to write in and everything. The facility found it for you on your behalf. You're supposed to test it out to see if it makes your day easier…" Charlie explained.
"Perhaps it can make other people's lives easier," I nodded. I could already see the merits of this. Already I had issues with organizing and finding out when I had done something. Now I could organize much better and I would be able to find topics quicker. I'd be able to search "Newton" and all previous visits would come up…
I quickly settled into it and entered my journal into the electronic journal. By the time night arrived I'd made additional notes to myself explaining what I'd done today.
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