A/N Disclaimer: I own nothing. Stephenie Meyer owns the characters but Robert Pattinson owns all of me. There is no intended copyright infringement.
Thanks go to my beta Krystih for always telling me when I'm wrong and being stupid and kudos to her for always being right. To RPfangirlDC for all of her encouragement. And to Tina, the best friend a girl could ever ask for.
I woke in my bed at 7:00 am. I sighed heavily and swung my legs over the side of the small bed sitting up. Another day in the life of Bella Swan.
I showered and put on my usual black dress pants and white button down shirt. I glanced at the clock as I eat my cornflakes, 7: 20. In twenty minutes I would leave for my job at the Greenwich Public Library, eat lunch at Dojo's, where I will have the chicken cutlet with Japanese BBQ sauce, home fries and a side of green salad. Just like always. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a routine, it's comforting. The routine is all that keeps me going.
I knew that my life was my own making and I had chosen this mundane existence but I had survived enough tragedy for a lifetime. No one told me what to do or yelled at me, and I reasoned that without any friends or family, I could effectively sustain from anymore heartache. I didn't need anyone. I could take care of myself.
I lived alone, ate alone, and walked to work alone. I was miserable but at least it was a misery of my own making. My life was like a moonless night.
I had learned that people let you down. They leave.
They make decisions that ruin your life with no thought for you at all. People who are supposed to love you the most. They break your heart. The only end to love I saw was misery and I already had a ton of that.
Besides, people never love you as much as they say they do. As soon as they get a chance they will forsake you for their own happiness. So that's what I did. I abandoned all human contact to serve my own needs.
I lost my mother, Renee, when I was fifteen. She ran away with a baseball player named Phil. As if it wasn't bad enough that Renee had chosen another man over me. She didn't even bother to say goodbye. I came home one day from school and she wasn't in the living room watching her soap operas like usual. I went to look for her in her room, thinking she had decided to nap. But she wasn't there and neither were any of her personal belongings. I looked in her closet and all of her clothes were gone. Her make up bag and all her toiletries were missing from the bathroom.
I searched frantically for a note, on the fridge, the tables, even under the beds with my heart beating erratically. A mother didn't just up and leave her only child without any explanation. Surely, she would call me, I thought, but she never did.
I found out where my mother was from the gas station attendant. He told me that Renee and a man named Phil had filled up before leaving town. They were headed to Florida where Phil would be in spring training with the baseball team he pitched for. I was incredulous that she could tell some gas station attendant where she was going and with who, but not me. Did I mean so little to her?
I cried in my bed for two weeks, confused as to how she could do this to me and angry that she had. Charlie never even came to check on me. I figured I didn't mean much to him either. I could die of starvation in this bedroom and neither of parents would know or care. If my own parents didn't care how could anyone else. Was I unlovable?
I knew things had not been pleasant between her and my father for years. All they did was argue. They argued about the laundry, and the car, and money. The worst was when they argued about me. When I was little I used to hide between the box spring and the mattress to keep from hearing them and to keep them from finding me and drawing me into their fight.
"I don't want my little girl painting her fingernails. She's nine years old and you are trying to turn her into a whore just like you. You don't want to be a whore like your mother, do you Bella?" Charlie had raged.
"Bella should get to decide what she wants to wear and do and not be oppressed like a bastard like you Charlie. Right, Bella?" My mother had retorted.
They stood there with their hands on their hips waiting for my response. When I had begun to cry and begged them not make me answer, they had both called me a crybaby and sent me to bed with no dinner. They taught me no one wins, ever, no matter what you say or do.
Charlie was the sheriff in our small town of Forks, Washington. Since my mom had left he had thrown himself into work even more than usual. When he wasn't at work, he was fishing. At least that's what he told me but I could smell the whiskey on his breath more and more when he came home.
He didn't sleep in the bed he and Renee had shared anymore. Instead, he passed out on the couch either from exhaustion or the liquor. He didn't care anymore if I wore nail polish or even if I ate. Charlie didn't care about anything but drowning his sorrows and he made me feel like I was one of the things he was trying to forget. He barely spoke to me. I knew in my gut that Charlie nor Renee felt I was truly worthy of love. They were like actors faking lines.
One morning, I decided I would make him breakfast. He had barely been eating anything and I was getting sick of eating canned and boxed food all the time. The more I thought about it, the more it seemed like a good idea. Charlie wasn't much, but he was my father. I was scared that if I didn't try harder he would leave me, just like Renee had left. I almost felt sorry for him too, he seemed as heartbroken as I about her departure. Renee was gone, with Phil to take care of her. Charlie clearly could not take care of himself but I could take care of my dad. I could cook and clean for him. Maybe make him happy.
I went in to the kitchen with the intention of making pancakes, Charlie's favorite, when there was a knock at the door.
Standing on the threshold was Jacob Black, my dad's deputy. He had always been very kind to me but his eyes never met mine as he asked to speak with Charlie. It took both of us to finally roust him from his drunken slumber. Deputy Black said he needed to speak with Charlie alone and that it was important. I went back into the kitchen to start the pancakes while they talked but within minutes I was interrupted again.
Interrupted by the sound of crashing glass as the father who had quietly been drinking away his heartache for six months suddenly began cursing and throwing furniture.
Deputy Black desperately begged Charlie to calm down. "Charlie, please stop this. You are scaring Bella. You've got to stop this and take care of your daughter."
Charlie continued as if he had not heard the deputy. Jacob blocked my entrance out of the kitchen when I attempted to go to my dad. I had no idea what was going on but I knew something was terribly wrong. I had never seen Charlie act this way.
I watched in horror as my father destroyed our living room. He overturned the furniture and broke the pictures on the wall. He kicked the coffee table, sending the family photo album flying in pieces all over the living room. I watched, grief stricken, as he stomped over them, creasing the edges and smearing the faces with the mud on his boots.
When it was inevitable that there was no dealing with Charlie, Deputy Black looked at the panicked expression on my face, picking me up just as my legs were ready to give out because I was shaking so badly. He carried me out of the house and to the safety of his car.
I was so confused. What could upset Charlie so badly for him to act this way. My heart was beating so fast I felt like I was going to pass out. I wrapped my arms around my middle to try and steady myself. Was he upset over something I had done? What if Charlie didn't want me anymore? The questions were filling my brain making me feel dizzy.
Jacob, as he said I could call him, took me to get a breakfast sandwich and talked about inconsequential things. I wanted to ask him what he had said to Charlie but something stopped me. Something told me that maybe I didn't want to know.
Jacob knew I was worried and tried to take my mind off of it but I just wanted to get home and begin my new life of taking care of Charlie. Wasn't that the plan just hours ago? How can things go so badly so quickly?
After I finished my sausage biscuit, we began the silent drive home. The tension in the car was palpable. I was sick at my stomach with worry, just wanting to put this morning behind me. I was becoming afraid I may not be able to keep my breakfast down. Both of us lost in our own thoughts, Jacob hoping my dad had calmed down and I hoping I could be a comfort to him.
I stepped out of the squad car into our driveway, walking slowly toward the house. A feeling of dread had overcome me as I took the last few steps to the door. I stood staring at the door and listening for sounds from inside. There was nothing but silence.
Jacob reached around me, the knob turning easily in his hand, as he opened the door for me. I hesitantly walked through, into the home I had grown up in. I was prepared for the mess. I had witnessed most of the destruction before Jacob had taken me out.
What I was not prepared for was the sight of my father sprawled on the floor covered in blood, his police issue 9mm still in his hand.
Again, I was carried out of my home by Jacob Black.
The shock kept me quiet on the way to the station as Jacob radioed in what had happened. The sobbing and shaking began as I sat alone in a room begging helplessly for someone to call my mom. I was angry that again I had been left alone with no explanation. Sad that I had been abandoned by another parent. Horrified, knowing that the sight of Charlie and all the blood and destruction would be carved into my memory forever. Terrified of what would happen next.
A while later, a lady who identified herself as Tanya Denali, social worker, came into the room to speak with me. At first, I hated her for what she told me. I needed someone to blame and she was all I had. All the emotion flowed out of me and was replaced by emptiness as I listened to her tell the sad tale that was now my life story.
Charlie was dead. He had shot himself after his rampage through our home. A rampage brought on by Deputy Black coming to notify him that Renee had hung herself in the bathroom of her motel room when she found Phil with another woman. A waitress, I was told.
My life, as I knew it, would never be the same.
Within two hours of waking, both my parents were dead by their own hands and I was alone. An orphan at sixteen. Who would want me when my own parents would rather be dead than with me?
I was taken by Tanya to live with my grandmother, Elizabeth Swan. Gran and I lived comfortably together. Our grief bonding us. We would have tea together in the afternoons and she would tell of the strange dreams she had. Gran was easy to be around. She kept the conversations light and even managed to make me smile a time or two while she chatted on about dreams and their meanings. I was beginning to think that this where I belonged.
We were only granted a single summer together before the doctors found the cancer. She was gone within a month and I was left alone again.
I felt absolutely nothing as I stood by Gran's graveside. I had no feeling left inside of me. No more sorrow. No more tears left to shed. Nothing left within me to give.
I spent the rest of my days, till my eighteenth birthday, in a state home. I learned to keep to myself. It was better to have no one, then you couldn't lose anyone.
The state home is where I begun my routine. Everyday the same. Wake, breakfast, studies, lunch, chores, dinner. Just like always. The schedule made me able to get through the days. I knew exactly what I was supposed to do and I did it. I didn't have to think about it. I didn't have to think about anything. More importantly, I didn't have to feel anything.
None of the other kids in the home bothered me. I didn't even see their faces. It was all a blur. Day after day of the same.
I was forced to see a psychiatrist. They thought I was traumatized but I was okay, all I needed was my routine. The doctors name was Mrs. Zafrina and I hated her. She always wanted me to talk about it. Why couldn't she see that, even though I was miserable, talking about it was torture?
I imagined her as a woman with the ability to get inside your head and make you see unspeakable horrors or absolutely nothing at all. Either option, a terrible one. I mostly ignored Mrs. Zafrina. Going to her office once a week was just another part of the routine.
When I was released from the state home, I took the money they gave me and ran as far away as I could afford to and got an apartment. I got a job serving coffee at the university cafe in NY and I put myself through college. Always keeping the routine. Days that strayed from the routine were difficult.
Once, while I was walking to the cafe across the university grounds, I heard a shot and I immediately ran back to the bed in my apartment where I stayed for 3 days, crying and pulling at my hair, feeling every bit of despondency I always refused to feel and had pushed to the back of my mind. It was as if I was being forced to acknowledge the huge hole inside my chest.
Eventually, I had to go back to the comfort of the routine. The routine was all I knew. The only way I knew to move on was just to keep going. Doing what normal people did, work, eat, and sleep. I found out that there had been a walk for charity that day and the shot I heard was a blank to signal the start of the race.
I shook myself from my thoughts and glanced at the clock. Time to leave for work. I got up from the table and rinsed my bowl out in the sink, slipped on my shoes, and went over to his poster on the wall.
Edward Cullen. Famous actor and musician. I whispered I love you to him and kissed his papery lips before heading out the door. Just like always.
As I walked I allowed my mind to be filled with thoughts of Edward Cullen. He is truly a God in a heavenly body. He has the most beautiful green eyes that seemed to sparkle and this radiant smile that I liked to pretend was all for me. His hair was a force of its own, sticking out everywhere in the most vibrant bronze color.
He was tall and lanky with broad shoulders. He was a sight to behold but he more than the way he looks. Edward Cullen also has the voice of an angel and a heart to match. He's smart, sensible, and funny. He is, well...everything. Everything I want and everything I don't deserve.
I felt somehow drawn to him. Besides his poster on my wall, I kept a picture of him in my purse and one in my desk as well. I knew it was silly but he was part of the routine. He comforted me. He was the only thing that could help me through a bad day. I could just look at him and I feel peaceful. I rationalized that he was safe to love because I didn't really know him. I couldn't hurt him and he couldn't hurt me. He made the hole in my heart feel better. He was like the sun, warming me.
I has isolated myself from everyone and everything for as long as I could remember. Everything but him. Sometimes, I worried he wasn't real. That I was dreamed him up. Could someone be that perfect? I needed him though. Needed to know he existed in order for my soul to survive.
For the last two years, I had lived on autopilot, going about my routine, speaking to no one and thinking only of Edward Cullen. I envisioned various scenarios of meeting him and how we would fall in love. He was the star of all my fantasies. In my mind he rescued me from my dark existence. He loved me and would never leave me.
I liked to pretend that I was Mrs. Cullen and that he would be there when I got home. I would cook us a lovely dinner and he would take me to bed where I would sleep soundly in his arms. But they were just fantasies. In real life, someone like him could never love someone as damaged as I.
I arrived at the library and set about my tasks for the day. I replaced books on the shelves that been returned and sent out letters about those that were overdue. I didn't talk to any of my co-workers and they had long since given up trying to talk to me. If a customer needed help, I would simply point to the head librarian at the desk and walk away. I kept my head down and my thoughts on Edward and I was able to make it through till lunch.
I walked to my usual restaurant and ate my usual meal. Lunch was the most difficult part of my day because I had to speak to someone to order my food. I dreaded this part of the day. I never made eye contact, just ordered quietly and quickly as possible and then sat the same table in the back as I did everyday.
I smiled a little to myself as I pretended that Edward was with me and we were sharing a romantic lunch together. I knew I must look like a crazy woman to the others in the restaurant but that was good, it kept them away from me.
After lunch, I walked back to the library the same way as I had come. When I returned I resumed my duties and kept my mind occupied with Edward until it was time to leave for my apartment. Just like always, I chose a book to take with me that I could get lost in for the evening. I avoided television and newspapers, so many terrible things happened on television and in newspapers. I preferred to read novels where I could pretend Edward and I were the characters who would fall in love and live happily ever after.
At five o'clock, I locked the doors to the library, and with my book in my purse, I left for the day. I
watched my feet as I walked and counted my steps. 1 - Edward, 2- Edward, 3 - Edward. When I reached step 1, 650 - Edward, I looked up, knowing I was home.
Inside my apartment, I locked the world out and went to him, whispering my love and kissing him again, the same as when I had left this morning. I poured myself another bowl of cereal and sat down to read my evening book.
At ten o'clock, I stood and stretched the soreness of sitting so long out of my limbs and went to bed hoping just this once I could dream of him instead of the nightmares I knew would come. Just like always.
I woke the next morning and was relieved that there had been no dreams. When I glanced at the clock, I noticed that not only was it 8: 15, but instead of my wind up clock on the bedside table, in it's place was a Bose radio. I stretched in the bed trying to clear my thoughts when I felt a warm and hard body next to mine. I rolled over and smiled, "Edward, I had the strangest dream," I muttered sleepily.