Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight or any of its characters. They all belong to Stephenie Meyer.
Thanks as usual to juliegirl18 for beta'ing and to sariedee, Bella's Executioner and MandyLeigh87 pre-reading.
Bella and I sat in the clearing behind her old house for a little while longer. I could feel her glance at me every once in a while like she wanted to say something more, but so far she hadn't. Finally my temper got the best of me and I yelled at her again.
"Just say what the fuck you wanna say, Bella!" I said harshly, seeing her jump out of the corner of my eye.
"Shit. Sorry, I just can't stand it when you sit there and fucking look at me without saying anything," I told her honestly.
"I don't do that," she said, looking at me. I looked straight at her, my eyebrow arched in amusement. "Do I?"
"All the fucking time," I said, laughing. She began to laugh with me and the tension in the air was broken. After we had calmed our laughter, Bella finally asked what was on her mind.
"So the reason you were having such a bad day was because it's the anniversary of what happened?" she asked quietly.
"Yeah. It's been seven years. I usually end up spending it all alone, but this year I'm glad I'm not," I said, smiling at her. It was the truth. I had always spent this day alone, but I was glad that Bella was here with me.
"Well I'm glad that for once you aren't alone today," Bella said sincerely.
"Me too," I said quietly.
"So, why did you move to Forks?" she asked. I figured I would be pissed when someone finally asked me this question, but when Bella asked, I found that I really wanted to tell her.
"Before I was diagnosed, I started hanging out with some really rough people. I started drinking and doing a lot of drugs. One night I ended up in the hospital. I had taken a lot of shit and was pretty fucking close to having alcohol poisoning. That's when I ended up being diagnosed as being bi-polar. The doctors told me that I was in a manic phase for a while and that's what caused my behavior. I stayed in a treatment facility for a while, until they got my meds right. Carlisle and Esme didn't want me to fall back in with the same crowd, so we moved here." I looked over at Bella as she quietly processed what I said.
"Wow. So, I take it the treatment facility helped?" she asked.
"The doctors there helped get my meds straight and everything, but that place sucked. I never, ever want to end up in a place like that again. Ever."
After that day in the meadow, Bella and I started spending a lot of time together. It wasn't us hanging out with Alice, Jasper and Rose. It was just me and her, alone.
Most of the time she would head over to our house after school and we'd work on homework together at the kitchen table. Sometimes we would just sit in silence in the meadow. On Friday nights, Bella and Rose would spend the night with Alice a lot. After the girls went to bed, Bella found her way downstairs where I would be sitting in the living room, watching a movie. I would lift up the blanket I was under, allowing her to climb in. She'd wiggle beside me until she got comfortable and then reach over and take the bowl of popcorn from my lap.
We weren't dating or anything, but it did often feel that way, especially if we went to the movies with everyone. Alice and Jasper would be paired up, and if Emmett happened to be home for the weekend, he and Rose would be. That of course left Bella and I to sit together. We might as well have been dating, except of course, minus the kissing part.
And lately I found myself wondering about the kissing part. I had taken over Bella's habit of watching and not speaking. When she was working on her homework at the table, I would stare at the way she pulled her bottom lip between her teeth as she tried to work through a problem. Which would lead me to wonder what it would be like to nibble on that lip myself. Then she would look up at me and I would have to look down quickly and pretend to be working.
I didn't know what was wrong with me. Bella and I were supposed to be just friends. I wasn't saying that Bella wasn't the type of girl that I would want to date. I had come to believe lately that if I wanted to start dating, Bella would definitely be the girl I would choose. But it wasn't about that with us. We were supposed to be friends. I wasn't supposed to get close to her in the first place. That plan had already went to hell and I really didn't mind.
Even after almost three months in Forks, I hadn't really made any friends, other than Bella, Jasper and Rose. Everyone tended to steer clear of me and my moody behavior which didn't bother me. I rarely had to deal with any gossip, but some of the chatter around the school this morning got to me.
I overheard Jessica and Lauren talking by their lockers about someone who had snapped at a couple of people earlier. After lingering for a few minutes, I realized they were talking about Bella. They said she had snapped at Mike and Tyler earlier in their History class and then ran out of the classroom in tears.
Once I heard that, I took off down the hallway in search of Bella. I would usually see her during the day by now and suddenly realized I hadn't today. I checked the library, her usual hangout, and found it empty. I even lingered around the bathrooms to see if she came out of one of them and she hadn't.
I walked back down the main hallway and spotted Jasper and Rose standing by the gym doors. By the time I had gotten to them, Alice had joined them.
"Have you guys seen Bella?" I asked them, half out of breath. Rose and Jasper shook their heads.
"No. I haven't seen her since she got here this morning," Rose said. Jasper shrugged his shoulders.
"I think I saw her headed toward the office earlier," Alice said. Without responding, I turned and ran toward the office. When I walked in, I found Ms. Cope and hoped that she could answer my question.
"Ms. Cope, can you tell me if Bella Swan has been in today?" I asked her in the sweetest voice I could manage, hoping it would work. She smiled at me and I could have sworn she blushed.
"Yes, she has. But I'm sorry, she checked out just a few minutes ago for the day," she answered. I cursed quietly under my breath and walked out of the office.
I walked down the hall, lost in thought, trying to figure out exactly what had upset Bella. Had either of those fuckers said something to her? If they did, they would have me to deal with. Bella was a good person who didn't need people like that fucking with her.
I walked back over to where everyone was at and they immediately asked what I had found out.
"Did you find her?" Alice asked. I shook my head.
"No. Ms. Cope said she had left for the day. I heard Jessica and Lauren say that she ran out of their History class in tears," I told them. Rose and Alice gasped and Jasper had the same angry look on his face I was sure I had.
I suddenly remembered one conversation that Bella and I had recently. She talked about how everyone at school was happy about the upcoming holiday season and how she was never happy around this time of year. While Bella was usually an upbeat person, I was sure that she would probably take on the same emotions I did just a few weeks ago.
"Jasper, when did Bella's parents die?" I turned to him and asked. His eyes got huge and Rose's filled with tears.
"Fuck," he said, as he ran his hands through his hair. I didn't need any more confirmation of what today was as I ran out of the school and to my car.
Today was the anniversary of Bella's parents' murder.