SHORT A/N (Longer one at the bottom): For the record, I'm not dead. I'm sure you're relieved.
Disclaimer: Twilight belongs to the great Stephenie Meyer.
Chapter 13: Q and (no) A
I stared at my reflection in the bathroom mirror wondering just how long all the scrapes and bruises would last. A pattern of red lines—dried blood and open cuts—criss-crossed over my arms, neck, and face. I tried to run my fingers through my long hair but only managed to get them stuck. Taking my time, I gently pulled leaves and twigs from my snarled mane and dumped the mess in the trash. Was I stalling? Most definitely. I cringed mentally as I thought about my grandpa's reaction when I returned. Shocked, furious, worried—all things that told me I was in big trouble.
Since I was already stalling, I decided it wouldn't hurt to take a shower while I was at it. He was waiting—albeit impatiently—for an explanation, and I fully intended to have a good one by the time I was done. I'd edit the truth, tell him I was trying to go to Adam's but got lost. I'd leave out the bit about being chased and almost drowning, but definitely keep the part about the wolf in case he wanted to check it out tomorrow.
After using half of my bottle of conditioner to remove the knots from my wild hair, washing and caring for each of my cuts, and finding an ace bandage to wrap my wrist with, I was ready to face Grandpa Jake's wrath—
—Except when I reached the living room, my grandpa was no where to be found. I heard his voice on the front porch and hesitantly walked out to find him. He was sitting in the old rocking chair, his head was in one hand, the phone dangling from the other. He didn't even look up as I approached him.
"I just got off the phone," his voice was pained.
"Who was it?" I asked cautiously.
"Rebecca, its Adam—"
My breath hitched in my throat.
"—he was…in an accident."
My grandpa's mouth kept moving but I couldn't hear him over the odd roaring sound in my ears. An accident? Was it serious? Dead? Alive? I wasn't sure I wanted to know the answer to that. Was it my fault? Did he hear that I was missing and go out to find me?
"Did you hear me? Rebecca?"
I shook my head slowly, trying to focus on what he was saying. "What?" My tongue felt thick as I tried to use it.
"I said the doctor is with him now. He's pretty banged up. Do you want me to wake you up when I get another update?"
It took me a moment to process his offer. I felt like I was in slow motion, like every action took a ridiculous amount of energy to perform. "No...I'm not going to sleep, Grandpa. I mean, I don't think I could…considering." He nodded sympathetically and placed a weathered hand on my shoulder. I felt tears stinging my eyes as I folded into his hug, hoping and praying this terrible night would just end.
I settled on the couch, my eyes glazing over as I stared at the blank screen of the TV. My grandpa was bustling around in the kitchen, and when he came back he was carrying a thick blanket and a cup of what I could only guess was hot chocolate, my grandma's recipe.
He handed it to me and wearily stroked my hair. I sipped the drink, silently reveling in the rich taste, a taste that took me back to my early childhood. Grandma Bella had been an expert in the kitchen—no recipe had been too daunting for her. Winters in her house consisted of fresh batches of cookies daily, hearty soups and roasts, and of course, hot chocolate. No one could resist her creations. Opening my eyes, I caught a glimpse of my grandpa's bittersweet smile. He was no doubt thinking about her as well.
I let myself relax into the worn couch as I savored the hot drink, letting it warm me from the inside as it washed away all of the cold that the hot shower had left behind. My eyelids began to feel heavy, and I struggled to keep them open. I wouldn't fall asleep, I'd promised. I owed it to Adam to stay awake, to be there as soon as we heard any news. But, in my sleep deprived state, exhaustion won and I let my eyes close.
It was dark but I could tell there was someone with me, watching me. "Hello?" I called, moving my hands out in front of me to help as I moved forward. I heard a slight shuffle ahead, almost as if someone had moved away from me—or was it closer? "Hello?" I called out again, holding my breath to hear something. Silence. "Is there someone here?"
The sound was closer this time, almost in front of me. "Grandpa?" Nothing. "Adam?"
My outstretched hand finally hit something—something furry and breathing. I recoiled, suddenly frozen with terror. Then it hit me—my wolf. I tentatively held out my hand again. Just as my fingertips grazed soft fur, it was as if a light was turned on, like the sun had suddenly risen and I could see. I blinked, letting my eyes adjust. Hearing a soft growl, I looked up, opened my mouth and screamed—
"Rebecca! Rebecca, wake up!"
My head jerked from the pillow and I looked around, panicked and confused. My grandpa was sitting next to me, slowly rubbing circles on my back. A nightmare. That's all it was. Even so, I shuddered at the thought of what I saw. I sat up slowly, letting the blanket that had been draped over me fall to the ground. My hair was sticking to the back of my neck, and my heart was still pounding.
"Are you okay?"
Looking into my grandpa's worried eyes, I tried my best to smile. "Yeah. It was just a nightmare, right? I can't even remember what it was about."
His frown deepened. "Rebecca, what happened tonight?"
I sighed, knowing that this moment was inevitable. I just hoped he would accept my half-truths and leave it at that.
"Remember the path behind the house?" I started. I picked up the blanket and focused my attention on the loose threads, picking at them one by one. "The one that leads to the Clearwater's?" I saw him nod out of the corner of my eye. I took a breath and plunged into the story.
"...And then, when I was as lost as I thought I could be, this massive wolf jumps out and—"
"Wait," my grandpa interrupted for the first time. "Did you say wolves?" I looked up and saw his worried expression.
"It's okay, Grandpa. It didn't hurt me. I know it sounds crazy but it actually helped me." I searched his eyes for approval. He still seemed disconcerted, but he waved his hand for me to continue.
"The wolf started growling and disappeared into the woods. There were these awful sounds," I shuddered at the memory. "And when I found him—the wolf," I clarified, "he was hurt pretty badly. I tried to do as much as I could for him, but then the other wolves showed up. One of them led me home," I glanced at my grandpa to see if he thought I was making all of it up. His eyes were guarded and his mouth was set in a firm line. I swallowed hard, hoping he wasn't too angry with me. "And here I am," I finished weakly.
Grandpa opened his mouth to say something but the shrill ring of the telephone interrupted him. We both froze a moment. I could feel my heart pounding with trepidation as he got up and answered.
"Yes...Okay...Right. She'll be over soon." He paused, listening to whatever was being said on the other line. Brow furrowed, he glanced once at me before turning around. I couldn't hear what was being said, and it was obvious that was what he'd intended. He finally hung up and rubbed his eyes before looking at me. "Adam is okay. He's hurt...but he'll be okay."
I let out a shaky breath I wasn't aware I was holding. My eyes flooded with tears and I shut them tightly to avoid crying. I couldn't describe the sense of relief I felt at those words. If it had been more serious, if I had been the one to cause it, I wouldn't know what to do with myself.
"He's up now," my grandpa continued, "And asking for you."
I shook away my despairing thoughts and rushed to get my coat.
"Wait a second."
I stopped, impatiently waiting for what he had to say next. "Rebecca, Adam is going to be fine. But you've had a rough night. I want you to at least eat some breakfast before we go over there."
I glanced out the window and was shocked that the sky was already pink with the early rays of sun. I considered arguing, but knew he was right—as always. I felt shaky and weak, and I knew it wasn't just because I was worried for Adam. I let him lead me to the table and ate whatever he set in front of me, never really tasting it but knowing it would make him happy.
I tried to focus on visiting Adam but instead my nightmare kept plaguing my thoughts. Eyes glowing red, fangs dripping with saliva, and claws that could shred through skin and even bone—some hybrid beast straight from a horror movie towering above me. I wasn't hungry anymore. The dream had been more realistic than any other I'd ever had, and it still had me feeling a little shaken. I just had to keep telling myself that there was no such thing as werewolves.
Adam's mom was waiting for us when we got to the Clearwater's house. I was barely out of the car before she gathered me up in her arms and squeezed me tight in a motherly hug. It had been years since I'd seen her last, but time had barely touched her. She was beautiful with her smooth skin and long, dark brown hair that made me want to hide mine in shame. Her eyes always seemed to smile when she was happy and even when she was mad, she could never pull off an angry face.
"Becca," she said, smoothing my hair, "it's good to see you." She wasn't smiling now, but I could tell she was relieved that I was there.
"It's good to see you, too, Kara. Is he—?"
"Adam's inside. Some of the boys came over to visit. Of course, Dan hasn't left his side since they brought him in. That boy carries too much responsibility."
"Dan brought him in?" I searched my memory. Was it really only yesterday that Adam was avoiding Dan and his group?
"He and a couple of the boys did. I about had a heart attack when they broke through the front door. Of course, they fixed it earlier this morning." She swung the door on its hinges a few times to demonstrate.
"Can I?" I asked, pointing inside the house.
"Oh, of course! He's been asking for you since he woke up. I'm glad Dan stayed, if only to keep him occupied. I'm sure he would have been out of bed and at Jake's before we could stop him."
She ushered me in, and I walked down the hallway to the last door on the right. It had been his room for as long as I could remember. We would spend rainy days sitting on his floor, setting up battalions of army men and waging war on each other for hours until I complained. Then he'd grudgingly allow me to replace the army men with dolls and would play my way for a while, until one by one the dolls would start losing limbs in what he called "casualties of war." That was how Adam and I worked. Give and take, push and pull. Never was our friendship out-of-sync.
His door was slightly ajar and as I approached, I felt a ball of nerves growing in the pit of my stomach. What would he look like? Was he in pain? I let out a shaky breath, preparing myself.
"Becca?" I heard Adam call from inside the room. How he knew I was standing outside his door, I had no idea. I pushed the door open to reveal a group of seemingly carefree guys lounging around. Connor was idly flipping through a Sports Illustrated while Chris—who I hadn't seen since his grandfather, Jared, had died—and Evan were shouting expletives at the TV, obviously wrapped up in the epic battle they were having via video game. Dan regaled a laughing Henry with the time he mistook the ladies' room for the men's and ended up walking out with two phone numbers. Sitting on the middle of the bed was Adam, a small smile gracing his mouth. His eyes found mine and didn't let them go.
He looked fine. If I had to be honest with myself, I'd say he looked better than fine—and not just health-wise. I could see he was scrutinizing my appearance as well, and knowing I looked like hell compared to him, I lowered my eyes in guilt. His gaze was like fire—I could feel it on me, burning everywhere it touched. Color crept up my neck.
Someone cleared their throat, obviously trying to get our attention. I looked up and was surprised to see the room had cleared out. Dan stood up and walked towards the door, shooting a pointed look at Adam. When he was gone, I stood awkwardly in the doorway for a moment. I approached the bed slowly and carefully sat on my knees in front of him. I didn't want to hurt him any more than I already had. Adam opened his arms, but I ignored them, not daring to look him in the eye. Regardless, I could see his hurt expression, and it was almost enough to make me fall into his arms and never leave again, if only to make him happy. I inhaled deeply and let go, worries and apologies spilling from my lips.
"Are you okay? I was so worried about you. What happened? Was it my fault? I'm so sorry. If it was my fault, I don't know how I can live with myself. Are you in pain? You look okay. Grandpa said it was pretty bad, but maybe he was just being overdramatic. Do you need me to get you anything? I could—"
"Becca," Adam breathed, placing one long finger up to my still moving lips. For a long moment, he just sat staring at me, taking in every scratch and bruise visible. His face was a myriad of emotions. Anger, frustration, sympathy, hurt (or was that guilt?), I couldn't keep up.
"What happened to you?" he asked, his eyes narrowing though his voice remained tender.
"But what about you—" he took the finger that was still against my mouth and gently pinched my lips together.
"What. Happened. To you?" he repeated slowly, releasing my lips and gently tracing the long scrape by my eye.
"It's nothing really," I said, resisting the urge to close my eyes and lean into his hand. "You know I'm clumsy."
He rolled his eyes. "The truth, Becca. Please."
I took in a deep breath, preparing myself. I may have gotten away with the half-truths I gave to Grandpa, but Adam was far more in-tune with me. "I tried to get to your house on that path we used to take as kids, remember the one?" He nodded. "But I got lost. Really lost. It was so dark out. I couldn't see, and I tripped and hurt my wrist." I lifted up my bandaged arm as proof. He gently took it in his hands, the unnatural warmth gradually soothing the dull ache.
"And then I heard something. I don't know," I sighed, frustrated that the night's events were already fuzzy and mixed together. "I think I was just freaked out, but I ran and I almost drowned. But there was this wolf..." I looked up at Adam's stoic expression. I was confident that he would believe me. Even still, I added, "Who knows, it might have been a dream."
He shook his head and played with a strand of my hair. "No, I want to hear. Go on."
His stare was tender and affectionate. I had to shake my head to clear my thoughts. "This wolf...it was huge. More like a bear, really. And, I know this sounds crazy, but he was smart. It was like he understood me. It was almost as if he was there to protect me. I can't explain it," I said, knowing my story sounded far-fetched, even to my own ears. "But then something happened, and the wolf ran off. I think there was something out there, Adam." He stiffened and I looked up at him. "This wolf saved me from whatever it was." Worry began to creep back into my mind as I pictured the injured animal broken on the ground.
"I'm sure he's fine, Becca," Adam said knowingly, wrapping an arm around me. "You did everything you could for him."
"Yeah, I—wait. How do you know?" I asked, twisting to look him in the eye.
"You're grandpa told me," he answered nonchalantly. He broke eye-contact after a moment and let his gaze settle on the doorway behind me.
I narrowed my eyes. "You are lying, Adam Harold Clearwater. Now tell me the truth."
"What makes you think I'm lying?" he asked, crossing his arms defensively.
"You did that eye-shifty thing!" I yelled, gesturing with my hands. "I've known you my whole life, and you didn't think I would know when you're lying?"
"You were gone a long time. Who knows how well you know me."
Ouch. He was right, of course, but it didn't hurt any less. Instead of making me cry though, it only made me angrier. "Right. I left. Let's blame it all on me. But that still doesn't change the fact that you're lying! Now tell me the truth!"
"I...can't." His eyes were dark as he literally shook with anger.
"Can't? Don't you mean won't?"
"Becca, I can't tell you...things. I want to. God, do I want to. But I can't."
"What is it with you?" I seethed. "You ignore me, won't look at me, won't...oh, I mean can't tell me things. I think I deserve an answer. An honest one." I got off the bed and started walking towards his door. "And until you can give me one..." I stopped and decided to say what had been on my mind since I'd arrived. "I don't know why I'm even here!"
"What do you mean?"
I whirled around to face him. "Why did I come here when you were obviously better off with your new friends? Friends you couldn't even stand twenty-four hours ago! Why were you all acting like brothers when yesterday you were happy running away from them? Why was I worrying about you when you are obviously fine?" He sat silently, staring at me. "Fine. Don't answer." I turned to leave.
"Come to the bonfire this weekend." He blurted, his voice sounded desperate.
"Come to the bonfire we're having this weekend. I might be able to give you some answers then. I can't promise anything, but I'd really like you to come."
I thought about it for a moment. There was a higher chance of me getting answers if I went. I could even interrogate Evan if I got desperate. "I'll think about it," I finally answered. He looked relieved.
"I am sorry about...you know," he gestured to the space between us.
Sighing, I walked forward. I stood on my tip toes to place a small kiss on his warm cheek and said, "I know."
A/N: Honestly, looking back at the reviews I've gotten since I announced I was taking a little break due to my mom, it makes me want to cry. You are all so amazing and I really can't thank you enough for all of the encouraging words and support. I think it's pretty safe to say I have some of the most amazing readers in this fandom!
So now to the news you are all probably waiting to hear (other than whether or not Edward comes back soon). My mom is doing great! After the surgery, it was touch-and-go. One day she'd look great, the next it seemed to take everything out of her just to greet me and my dad. But believe it or not, it only been four months and she is back, better than ever! She gets tired easily but to compare her today to the person she was right after the surgery, it's like looking at two completely different people. I know that it was because of all of the positive energy you guys were giving her, right?
On the off chance that some of you are still reading this (don't worry, I don't blame those that aren't), I'm sorry for the long wait. Some of you may remember that I was in the process of transferring schools over the summer and although most of the drama the admissions office decided to throw my way is over, this school is much harder than my first one. I have so much homework and only so much time to write. Plus there's this boy...you know..."the glory of first love, and all that." If you could see me right now, I grinning like an idiot just thinking about him! I feel bad because I feel like some of you think I'm abandoning this story, but I'm really trying!
One last thing and then I swear I'm done! NEW MOON COMES OUT THIS WEEK! Enjoy and please feel free to let me know what you think of it!
I don't normally do this, but I want to thank each and every one of you individually. I appreciate all of you so much!
eeddwwaarrddiloveya (Because I don't want the world to explode)
Claudia (Because you and my mom are both still alive and kicking!)
Sap96 (Because you read my story for 2 hours straight. And you're in luck, I do have original fiction ideas!)
Pinksummer (Because you gave my pack story a chance!)
prettyinpinknh12 (Because you know the REAL Becca Black!)
French Shark (Because my story entertained you during your road trip)
Noble Korhedron (Because you graded me…which has never happened before so it's strangely exciting…is that weird?)
Giova (Because you live in Italy)
twilight girl (Because you gave me suggestions!)
SkinnyLove (Because you love Adam! (So do I!))
xeoa (Because your review, however boring you thought it was, was actually very insightful and much appreciated!)
Randomness is Bliss (Because Docter Who is the shit!)
LivesInDreams (I hope your mom is doing well)
vampirechic666 (I did tell my mom and she was amazed that people around the world were praying for her!)