The Angel In The Water
God Damn Charlie!
God Damn Jacob Black!
Clearly God has already damned me for trusting their judgement.
"This truck will be around long after you are old and gray and dead and gone, Bella. It's not like these flimsy modern cars made of plastic and held together with duct tape. No, The Beast will go on forever." announced my father as I looked dubiously at his Welcome Home from College present.
A rusty red truck that may have been older than him.
Jake stood there, smiling broadly, his gorgeous face wreathed in a smile a mile wide.
"I rebuilt the engine myself. Nothing can stop this baby.
She will get you through snowbanks, deserts, rainstorms, and wildfire. "
Never trust a med student to rebuild your car engine.
Okay, he didn't actually say it would get me across a flooded creek..well it used to be a creek, it has always been a creek when I have driven over it in the past.
A small, bubbling, friendly creek, not this raging torrent I had assumed The Beast could handle.
I was wrong.
I tried to open the door but the water was rushing so fast it was clearly impossible. I considered climbing out the window but the darn handle stuck when the glass was only halfway down, and I may be small and slim, but even I could not fit through that gap.
Then as I started to panic, I realized the passenger door, being on the other side of the truck, was not being held shut by floodwater, so I wriggled across to the passenger seat and it opened easily. Well, as easily as a rusty old creaky door could. I contemplated my next move. The water was rushing by under the truck, and I will probably get knocked off my feet and swept away if I step into the water.
Good one, Bella. Attempting to cross a flooded causeway was not up there in my list of Ten Best Things To Do This Summer.
I looked around and noticed the trees lining the creek were all old and their branches touched the top of my cab. If I climbed up onto the cab roof, I could maybe climb onto a branch and maybe manage to get to the edge of the creek that way.
Checking around one last time to make sure there were no amused onlookers watching me, Clumsy Bella, make an absolute exhibition of herself, wearing the ridiculous short pink mini dress my best friend Alice had insisted I 'had' to have, and had to wear, I managed to keep my bag with me by putting the strap over my head and hanging it down my back, thus keeping both hands free. Swinging up onto the roof of the cab was far easier said than done and I knew my panties were on show for all the world to see as I heaved and grabbed onto the roof and finally stood, filthy, wet and exhausted but victorious. Huh, take that Jake.
He had awarded me the Clumsy Bella nickname back when we were small kids and he had challenged me repeatedly to prove the title no longer fit but every time I had tried to do something clever and nimble and athletic, I had failed. Not today, though. Jacob would not believe I climbed up here like some monkey and I took a bow to my non-existing audience, who were clapping and giving me a standing ovation for my skilled escape from The Beast.
I knew that darn truck was trying to kill me, I just thought it was killing me with embarassment, by being the oldest and ugliest form of transport anyone ever drove, not by luring me into flooded creeks and drowning me.
The next step would normally be the tricky bit but my Dad had made the mistake of letting the grand old tree beside my bedroom window grow and stretch its branches out so I had been climbing in and out my window since I was five years old. Climbing trees was the one area of 'sport' I excelled.
I grabbed the nearest branch and swung my legs up. It was rough and scratched against my thighs but whatever, I was no cry baby, I was a twenty two year old tomboy who could out climb any contender. I stood carefully and walked along the branch. It was not as substantial as the branches on my own tree but it was strong and whippy and bent rather than broke. I know tree brances, I can assess in minutes what will take my weight and what won't and this branch was a winner. I held on to the branch above and inched my way to the trunk, then climbed down quickly as I slipped and slid against the slimy wetness. "Oops, hold on tight spidermonkey" I cautioned myself as I almost took the last step to the ground in one very large drop. I swung down from the lowest branch and felt like a winner. Where is my medal, huh, Jake? I bet he couldn't have managed that as quickly as I had.
My dress was torn, haha Alice, her words "Buy it Bella, you will get years of wear out of it" were now invalid, one wear, Alice, it lasted one single wear. Of course, she never imagined I would climb out of a flooded truck and along a tree while wearing it, I will give her that.
It was tattered and shredded and my legs were muddy, mossy, slimy and scratched and sore.
Seriously, I looked around because with my usual luck, this would be the point when some gorgeous, perfect, amazing man , probably with copper hair and green eyes, because that is my ideal combination even though I have never met a man with those qualities, walked by and saw me dishevelled and muddy, and laughed at me, because that is the kind of luck Bella Swan has. But no, there was no Prince Charming to grin at my humiliation today so that made it a good day, right? Nobody was here to see me filthy and half naked and muddy with a little blood sliding down from the grazes and scratches on my legs.
If there is one thing I cannot stand, it is blood.
My head swam and I handed my medal back.
The wet ground welcomed me as everything went black and I slumped down in double quick time.
"I don't want to get up, Rose, go without me".
Why was Rose making that God awful din and why was she pouring water on my face? She usually just pulled the blankets off me and tossed me onto the floor of our dorm room to wake me up, evil woman.
I opened one eye.
No Rose, no dorm, no college.
Those four years were behind me, finished, gone forever.
Best years of my life?
I fucking hope not, though I have to say, things have not improved since graduation.
The trip home from NYU, now that was fun. Two college graduates spent the entire flight trying to hit on Rose while I was cast aside as not even worth speaking to. I really have to find some plainer friends, I thought as I stood up on shaky legs and refused to look at the..red stuff on my legs. Don't look and it wouldn't be there.
"Ow ow ow" I screamed and smoothed down the remnants of tattered cloth, like it would hide my wet and semi frozen body.
Maybe I should have grabbed my jeans out of the cab and not bothered with my homemade patchwork bookbag?
I opened it and examined its contents.
One baggy sweater insisted on by one non trusting father who thinks all boys are after one thing, or two anyway, and he insists I take a sweater and keep those puppies covered. I took it off the moment I drove out of our street, of course.
A cellphone, but as I knew last night, it was a cellphone with a dead battery. I meant to charge it. God, Alice had given me so many instructions.
Wear the pink dress, shave your legs, wax your ladies parts, put a red rinse through your boring brown tresses, wear that pair of shoes I bought you for your birthday, put on make up, use the flat iron and straighten your hair, blah blah blah. I did everything she had said but at no point had she actually said charge up your phone, so, no, I had not done that.
She can join my list of people I am wishing to hell.
It's not like the bloody party was even worth the effort of dressing up and driving all this way. Mike Newton was the pick of the talent as usual so how sad is that? Damned Alice, she snagged the only hot guy in Forks, Jasper Whitlock, the moment he moved to the town, six years ago.
We were Juniors and Alice was on him the minute he walked into the school. Like, the minute. One second, there she was, moaning about my poor dressing skills and telling me red was not, and never would be, my color and where in God's name did I buy those ridiculous imitation jeans from because no manufacturer worth a shit would put a label on them, and did I seriously think Chuck's were shoes? They were for children and the poor and ignorant, not someone like me who had potential to look passably good if I just made an effort.
"I mean, you have nice eyes, they aren't the usual boring nothing brown, not like your hair, they have depth and highlights of color, little flecks of green, you have amazing eyes, Bella. But do you highlight them and use a smoky gray shadow and black mascara and make them pop? No, they are wasted on you. Hello"
It should have been Goodbye because she was gone in a superhuman flash and my head was spinning as I followed her with my 'amazing but unadorned' eyes.
He was amazing. The town of Forks had never housed a man with his looks before. I saw Mike Newton's face drop as he realized he just went from Top Pick Of the Bunch to Who The Fuck Is Mike Newton Again?
Alice was almost raping this beautiful man but who the heck could blame her.
"You don't know how long I have waited for you. Heck, the entire town has waited for you. I am Alice Brandon and I am yours. Do whatever you want with me."
Shit, Alice was smooth. And fast. And had eyes like a hawk. I hadn't even seen this God among men arrive.
I wondered what car he drove, but who cared, with his looks if he owned The Beast's twin brother, everyone would find it hot and quirky and eccentric, not lame and embarrassing.
I stood back and watched and learnt.
Alice was the Master when it came to men. And have no doubts, this was a man. Not a mere boy like the rest of these yahoos whose company we are forced to keep day after boring day.
Oh, yes, he is holding Alice's hand, opening the door to the cafeteria for her, gazing into her eyes that are so beautiful she doesn't need gray shadow to make them pop.
That was the last anybody saw of them for the rest of the day. I waited after school to see if she needed a lift home as usual but she never showed so I went home and wrote about the awesomeness of the new guy and the quickness of the pixie, and sighed in disappointment that he would never know I existed.
The next morning, Alice sent me a text saying she was right for a lift so don't bother coming to get her and I just shrugged and wondered where she spent the night.
Alice had been very vocal about the two of us saving ourselves for the right man and she had been sure Mr Right would never reside in Forks, so her motto was "no Forks fucking" but I kind of think that may have been repealed last night.
She also said, when Mr Right turned up, don't hang about being coy and playing hard to get or someone else will get him first, just go get him.
They walked in, arm in arm, and she introduced us all to the gorgeously gorgeous Mr Jasper Fuck Me I Am Beautiful Whitlock.
If those aren't his middle names, then shoot his mother because they should be.
There was not a girl in the school who didn't feel her ladies parts come of age that day, we all sat restlessly in our chairs, wondering what these new feelings and longings were, and more to the point, what the hell were we meant to do to quieten them? Unless Jasper was a manho, and I know we all voted for him to be just that, then only Alice would benefit from his no doubt talented fingers and tongue. Gah, why did I even think that? Now my panties will be damp all day and no hope of relief. I gazed at Mike. Maybe I had been a little hasty. Maybe he wasn't plain and boring and unattractive and a last resort for the desperate?
Nuh, he was.
I sat by the tree that let me climb to safety and looked deeper in my bag. One travel pack of tissues, boy, they will be handy. I ripped them free of their plastic case and mopped blindly at my legs and hoped I was cleaning away the..red stuff.
The rain still poured down.
Ah, I have a kohl pencil. Great. Now I can have panda eyes while I sit here pondering how I will die. By drowing, if this rain keeps up, the entire earth will disappear and we will all drown. By hunger. No, I have breath mints. I opened the packet and decided I needed to ration them, it could be days before anyone found me. One per hour. That gives me twelve hours but at least if I starve later, I will die with fresh minty breath.
I sucked on it and let the flavor fill my mouth. Yuk, I knew I should have bought a better brand, dying after eating a packet of generic own brand breath mints was a horrible way to go. Now, Tic Tacs, that would have at least let me go with some dignity.
A comb. Yeah, my hair is frizzy in the rain and I must look like a teddy bear who got dropped in the toilet by now, I don't think a comb will be a lot of use.
I tried combing it through my hair but it stuck and I couldn't get it out again. Oh well, when they do the post mortem, that will puzzle them.
"Died while drowning, having eaten cheap mints, but I think the comb is significant...but what does it mean? What was she trying to tell us?"
They will lie awake in their beds for nights, pondering that question.
Unless they have partners, then they won't give it a second thought and will just have sex all night.
What else? A ticket stub from the cinema. Handy. If you need to reenter cinema, you must show stub. I will hold onto that then.
Lipstick. Passionate Pink.
I wore that damn lipstick last night and nobody got passionate with me. I want a refund. All these promises, you buy a lipstick with Passionate in it's title, expecting it to deliver. I damn it to hell with Charlie, Jake and Alice.
Hmm, so, if Alice is in Hell, Jasper is lonely and free again. I must make a note of that in my diary when I get home. Maybe I will keep the Passionate Pink lipstick, it might come in handy after all.
Spare panties. Ah, Alice's first rule, always take clean undies, you will feel grotty doing the walk of shame in yesterday's knickers. Always carry a spare pair.
And she chose this pair. Black,lacy sexy, thong. I hate thongs, I spend the whole time digging the bit up the back out of my ass crack. Not a good look. But at least I hadn't taken Rose's advice and gone commando under this dress, that would have been mega humiliating. Rose never wore panties when going to a party, it saved time apparently if you found Mr Right Now. Rose liked to sit on the laps of hot men and wriggle her naked bits on their bulges, and I think she even lowered their zips and did them right there in front of everyone, nobody being much the wiser. Course she waited until we were all drunk and she could have probably just thrown Mr RN onto the floor and done him properly and we wouldn't notice.
Never leave home without dental floss. I flossed my teeth but unlike the lady in the ad on tv, my entire world didn't seem brighter for the experience. False advertising again.
Band aids. A condom, use by date...let me see...oh, three years ago. Handy. Alice says you need to always carry a condom but she probably meant, if you never have sex, update the darn thing yearly at least.
I toss it away, then retrieve it, I don't want some horny teen to find it and use it and knock up his Maths teacher.
I know, not many students have sex with their teachers, so we are told, but Eric Yorkie spent every break in the private Teacher's Lounge with Miss Abigail Wiggins when we were seniors and the next year at our first reunion, she had this ugly baby in a pram and it looked a lot like a small version of Eric. Even he noticed, he decided he had an emergency and fled from the hall mere minutes after arriving, thus taking away another Mr RN option from us unattached females.
A half full packet of cigarettes. I can't help laughing. I really should clean this bag out more. Jake and I smoked these one day when I was in grade six, so he was in grade ten, was it? We were kids. He had money for his birthday, so we bought a pack of cigarettes, convincing the shop keeper on the Res they were for Jake's uncle who was visiting. Then we sat on the beach and chain smoked until we were dry retching. I had to be home by 3pm, we didn't have time to work out the finer points of smoking, we just lit them up and sucked the smoke down deep and coughed until our eyes watered, but neither would give in, we were both determined to be the last man standing.I was the last man vomiting, I vomited far more than Jake did so I claimed the victory. Of course, Charlie grounded me for a month and Jake wasn't allowed to even phone so it sucked. Keeping me restricted in my bedroom was nothing, I just read my favorite classics and cried for the damsel's and got a Juliet complex, and started to hate Romeo for being such a dumbass and not making sure she was dead, honestly, men, so impulsive.
They never allow the possibility things might not be as they first seem, oh no, it's all, well look at that, she looks dead, I had better kill myself, oh she isn't, sorry about that babe. And I bet he would have been well pissed if she hadn't topped herself too. What was she thinking anyway? No man is worth it, heck, plenty of other Romeo's in the sea.
So long as you aren't fishing in Forks for one because that is one arid Romeo-free area, since Alice and Jasper got engaged, and moved to a place other than Forks. That's where we all want to live, a place other than Fork's. I wonder if my dad really believes there is such a place? He is always blathering on about how Fork's has everything, and I admit, if everything consists of a diner, a flat screen tv and a place to fish for fish in, yeah, Fork's has all that covered. Want more? Get the hell out, go live in a place other than Forks.
Hmm, my last possession, a nail file. I bet Rose slipped that in because I have never owned a nail file in my life. I look at my broken, stubby nails and think maybe I should have invested in one, really. Might have meant I had something to paint when I get to dress up like a fool and prance down the aisle with Rose, in front of Alice.
The bridesmaids dresses are an adorable shade of salmon. I don't even eat salmon, let alone dress in it. And don't point out, I am wearing pink, aren't I, and salmon is just another shade of pink. Wrong. Salmon is like what pink looks like after something vomits it up. I hate salmon.
I attempt to file my nails but they are soft from the dampness and rain so I give up and put it in my pocket. Heck, mint time, must be an hour by now.
I help myself to another breath mint and wonder how many calories they hold. Does it take more energy to suck this sucker to death, or is my ass expanding as I sit here in the delightful mud. Rose says mud is good for your complexion so about now I am hoping she is right. If it's true, I am going to come out of this adventure with stunning skin, on my bum, mainly.
Hair..not so much. Maybe I should cut it off? Why do I spend half my life fighting with this long, tangled mess? It doesn't like me and is always protesting by frizzing in the rain and tangling up even just in bed at night. I even have one of those silk pillowcases that old ladies with permed hair use to keep their do looking fresh and mauve. Who started the whole mauve hair thing? Did some gay hairdresser have a bet with his boyfriend?
"Hey, Nigel, I hate women so much. I bet I can get every woman over sixty to let me dye their hair some ridiculous, never seen in nature, color? Green? Purple? No, let's go blue, blue for boys. What's that you say? Mix blue and purple and get some stupid mauve color going? You are on, boyfriend. I will have millions of old ladies thinking they look great with mauve hair and when they are on their deathbeds, they will all wonder "What the fuck was I thinking? I have spent my entire old age with mauve hair. I wasted my ..." what's the word for old youth? Though nowadays people waste their youth with purple hair so maybe Nigel's boyfriend changed the world even more than he thought.
I stood and packed my many possessions back in my bag and wondered if I should change into my clean thong now, these knickers I am wearing are pretty mud caked, or do I save them in case some handsome prince comes along and finds me? Then I will ask him to wait while I dash behind a tree and he will find my knickers so clean and dazzling, he will overlook my frizzy hair with the comb artfully tangled in it, and kiss me stupid, and rip my new, clean panties off me...well, that would just be a waste of panties. Maybe I should go commando, save him time like Rose said. Keep all his energy for the main event. With my luck, it will be Nigel who comes along on his white horse and rescues me, and I will end up with no devirginizing fuck, just a nice mauve rinse. Cos that's how I roll.
I wander further along the riverbank, as I can no longer call it a creek, it came of age today, I pronounce you a fully fledged river.
Ha, I laugh when I see a car actually half submerged and Charlie is right about one thing. The water may have stopped The Beast running but no way would it ever manage to sweep it down the river like this little heap of imported plastic shit. How do they even qualify as a car? More like an oversized rollerskate. It is wedged firmly between rocks but the water is cascading in the back window and out the front.
Something's inside. Shit, is there a dog in that car? Has some heartless prick left a poor little dog inside the car while they swam to safety? God, I hate people. I scramble over the rocks and the car is too far out for me to get to, but I can see movement, something is fighting under one of those hideous crocheted blankets they have in old folks homes.
As I watch in indignation, my heart suddenly clenches as a small, pink, human baby hand appears at the glass. Shit. Shit,do something, Bella.
I run/slip back to the bank and climb the tree whose branch hangs over the small car and climb along and the branch dips under my weight so it is almost touching, nope, slam, make that touching, the roof. I lean in and pull the blanket free and toss it in the river. Its wet and stinks. The baby looks surprised then bursts into loud sobs as I try and maneuver myself further inside without getting off the branch. It would flip up without my weight and I would be stranded on the car, with the abandoned baby. Those bloody baby seat straps are a fucking nightmare, how the fuck do they release? I grab the baby but can't pull him, whatever, it free from the seat. Damn.
Slow down and think, Bella. I look at the clip and see it has some twisty thing so I twist and it opens and the little guy almost falls face first out so I grab his sleepysuit thingey by the front and haul him up and into my arms. Evidently he likes being suspended in the air above a raging torrent as he laughs and kicks. He is some cute kid and I laugh despite the seriousness of the situation because he has green eyes, like emeralds, and a mop of copper curls. My knight in shining armor. Only I am saving him. I squiggle along the branch and thank God I didn't change knickers because the bark is killing this pair, and I carefully lower us to the ground. He is smiling now.
"Hey there, kiddo. So...my name's Bella and you would be?'
He grins and dribbles down his chin. Damn it, even my ideal man is not perfect. Whatever, drooling is not as bad as some men's habits, I guess.
"I will just call you Little Prince. So, I have actually been looking for a cute guy with your coloring all my life. Want to go on a date with me? I promise not to kiss you until you are eighteen. Shit, how far away is that? Not that it matters, there really isn't anyone else in line in front of you. Maybe Jake? And you are one handsome dude."
I place his little baby Nike clad feet on the ground and he slumps and cries. Shit, he must be one of the pre walking versions. How old does that make him?
A sudden rushing sound alerts me some bad shit is about to happen and I grab my first boyfriend and climb back up the nearest tree and sit tight as a massive wave of water rushes towards the small car and I grimace as The Beast falls into the water, and is tossed like a pebble, and it crashes into the little car and sweeps it away in front of it.
"Bye, Beast. Sorry I never taught you how to swim."
The roar of the water deadens my words and I cling tight to the little tyke and hope it will calm down again. He falls asleep, squeezed so close to my boobs I hope he can breathe, I remember Rose telling me she nearly smothered a fully grown man with her boobs once and this little guy is so soft and quiet. Shit, he is breathing, right? Do you have to check that? Is that a rule of motherhood, do you have to go in and check they are still breathing? I raise him to my cheek and his fresh baby breath that needs no mints, washes over me. Alive. Thank God. Not for long if I don't find food. How many days will I spend marooned in a tree before we starve? I grab my bag and examine it, he might just fit if I toss the crap out. I lay the sweater and g string on a branch and tip everything else into the raging waters below and rip the remains of my dress from my body and drop it below, then off with the mud caked bra and what's left of the knickers. Then I slither the gstring onto my bare ass, not that it covers a lot, and pull the sweater over my head. The baby is still slumped against me, and we are wedged so tightly I just pull the sweater over him as well. Hmm, should have chosen a longer one, this one barely covers my ass. I ease him so he is half inside my bag, and put the strap over my head.
The baby wakes me from my exhausted slumber when he starts giving me a hickey on my left breast.
"Hey, kiddo, none of that. Charlie would never fall for this story."
He is rooting around with his mouth and it hits me, he is one of the breastfed variety but I may have the equipment but it isn't in working mode.
I turn him so his back is against my chest so he isn't tempted by the closeness of my boobs, and he drifts off again. What the fuck can I do? Me dying in a tree wearing a sweater and a sexy gstring is kind of expected, Charlie would nod his head and say "We knew it would come down to this", but there is no way this little tyke deserves to die here.
The rush of water is lessening and the noise abates.
I have to get us down and start walking along the road I drove down a lifetime ago. Baby sleeps and snuggles in close and a car appears on the horizon, tearing towards us.
A shiny silver Volvo. Shit. My knight in shining armor-all cleaned vehicle screeches to a stop and jumps out. Fuck me, he is like the big brother of the kid here. All green eyes and copper hair, but his eyes are hard and angry and his hair is messier than mine, yet no comb as far as I can spot.
"Victoria? Where is my son?"
I shrug and step back, he is one crazy dude and I don't want him anywhere near my Little Prince.
His yelling has woken the baby who struggles under my sweater and I try to save what little dignity I have left as I fish him out and don't expose the puppies to this angry man.
"Give him to me, you bitch" he hollers and snatches Little Prince off me.
LP cries and reaches out towards me.
The AA (Angry Asshole) reluctantly hands him back. I hug LP in close and kiss his hair and he stops crying.
"Get in the car" he snarls. I wonder if I should. Maybe we should take our chances with the river.
"Where is your car, by the way?' he growls.
"In the river, it got washed away" I snarl back. What the hell stick is up his butt?
He screeches the tires as he does a 180 degree turn and speeds back the way he came.
"Were you that fucking anxious for my money that you would drive here in this weather and risk not only your life, but his as well? I knew you would be a piss poor mother, that's the only reason I agreed to this. Where the fuck are your clothes? Though, you weren't wearing many that night, either, I seem to recall. Do you make a habit of walking around naked? No wonder you have a stray child."
"He didn't get here by immaculate conception" I throw back at him. I heard that in a movie once and always wanted to say it to someone. Wait till Jake hears I actually found a situation I could use it in. He loses that bet.
The car screeches to a halt and he leans in close to my face so I pull away.
"I know I fucked you and made you pregnant. Believe me, if I could take back that night, I would. Now, when we get to the house, go straight upstairs and have a shower for God's sake and I will get some of my sister's clothes for you and you will be respectful when I introduce you to my parents, and if you expect me to support you and your spawn you will play along and pretend we were in a real relationship, not a drunken one night screwfest at a party, and we broke up because...shit, think of a reason that makes me look good."
"Because you didn't want to inflict your charming personality onto me and your innocent child?" I suggest.
"Bitch. If I had met you before I was blind drunk, believe me, it would never have happened."
"I think it would take a shitload of alcohol to make you look good" I replied.
"Well, you didn't think so on the night, did you? Your legs were apart faster than the speed of light. And what the hell, did you get your implants removed? Your rack is a lot smaller than I remember."
I blush and squirm in my seat. My rack is perfectly adequate. Alice said so. Small but adequate.
"Um, yeah..pregnancy, didn't gel" I hastily improvise. Just take me to your parents home and let me use your phone, fuckwit and I am so out of here.