Once upon a time there was a girl who always dreamed of getting away from her life to enter a fairytale land. One day her dream came true and she met her prince.
In a perfect world, this is where the story would have ended. The prince and the ordinary girl would have gone away together and lived happily ever after. But in my world, things are never so perfect. Instead, the prince was vampire; the girl was almost killed by a murdering psychopath, and as for the happily ever after, the girl and the vampire went about their lives, living them a world away from each other, denying the fact that neither of them believed they would ever be happy in love again.
Sounds dramatic right? Well, it would be so much more boring to just say, girl was stupid and denied boy even though he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. More so, I'd remind myself of the biggest mistake I've ever made in my entire life.
As things are, I get by, whether I like it or not.
** **** **
"Ashley," my father said, breaking through my blank daze and averting my gaze from the bare spot of dining table in front of me. This is how it had been over the last two months, the months since I'd left Forks for the last time. Normally, I attempted to block out most aspects of real life by absorbing myself in novels. Other people's problems, other people's triumphs. Although, there was still five books in my bookcase I simply refused to touch.
"Hmm?" I said, looking up. My mum and dad were sitting down at the table with me, holding my most recent set of exam results. Looking at them, I could tell that neither was extremely impressed.
"Have you seen these?" They held the papers out to me, many of the covers with scribbled fail percentage marks on the front cover. Oh dear. Seeing them all together, I began to realise just how badly I was doing in school at the moment. It was probably due to my resistance to doing any home-work or study these days. I'd never been like this before, not before….it had happened.
That was how I chose to refer to that day. The day in which I had been kicked, punched and thrown into the shape of a bloody pretzel on the floor of the Lugarno school hall. Several small scars still remained as reminders on various parts of my body but every shower brought back new memories as I scrubbed my skin clean. I'd always thought that it was scars that faded and memories that stayed. Why did I have to be the one to keep both?
"Well, yeah. I was the one who gave them to you." I said sarcastically.
My dad shook his head, disappointment and worry etched into every inch of his face. It was horrible to think that I was the reason for it. "Then, maybe you can explain to us why things have gotten this bad. We know things have been tough for you but you've always been quite a good student. What's going on?"
I looked at my hands, twisting them about in my lap as I chose my words carefully. How could I explain it? I'd always cared very much about school and tried my best in exams. Recently, things had changed and all of sudden, I found myself not so worried anymore. If anyone had given me a quiz on books from the Angus & Robertson top 100, I would have aced it, ancient history on the other hand, not so much.
I wasn't lifeless or comatose, nor was I depressed. Honestly, I didn't know what was wrong with me. These days I spent as much time as I could alone, whether it be running/ walking in the streets around my neighbourhood, reading a novel, playing the piano or even sketching. Either way, having to speak to people was…frustrating. There was no other word for it.
I hadn't been back to Tae-kwon-do in a while, seeing that place again would be just…too hard.
In some ways, I felt wrong but had no way to fix it. There was a piece of me missing and deep down, I knew where it was. But, to go and get it would be wrong. It would simply make things worse. For the both of us.
"Okay, yes. I know the exam marks are bad. I've been a bit distracted lately but I'll work harder next time, I promise." If there was one thing I hated, that was disappointing my parents.
"Ash, we believe you mean well but we think that maybe you should have a talk with someone about what happened. You say you're fine but clearly it's interfering with your school work. And what about you friends? You don't even seem to go out with them anymore." My mum explained.
I shook my head, "I'm fine. I just don't feel like going out. You know I've never been much of an out an about person." I protested, excuses flowing through my lips.
"We know that but you were never like this. You spend all your time by yourself and you won't talk to either of us about it. What can we do?"
Dad gave me sympathetic look, "We just want you to be happy. Just give it a go, it might not help or you never know it may. Go and talk to your school counsellor."
I hated the idea of having to see a counsellor. There was nothing wrong with me and I didn't relish the idea of having to talk to some unknown person about intimate thoughts and feelings. Still, if this would help ease my parents' minds, then I'd give it a go.
I sighed, "Okay."
Trudging upstairs I found myself alone in my room. I shut the door behind me and walked towards my bed. I lay spread eagled across the sheets, my head amongst the material before jumping up.
"Oh god," I said, realising my mistake. On entry to the room, I had given in to an old habit. Up until I had first travelled to Forks, I had always shut my door when I wanted to do something in my room. Nowadays I tried to avoid opening shut doors altogether. They seemed to have a tendency to open up to where I really wanted to be, fictional Washington.
Now I was trapped in my room with the door shut and no other way out of the room. For the briefest of moments I considered climbing out the window but there was really no way to do that. Even if I could somehow get through the gauze that covered it behind the glass layer, how would I get down? Although, seeing our neighbour's face as he caught sight of me scaling the veranda as he chopped his firewood would be pretty funny.
Damn, I would just have to open the door and hope to god it opened up to reveal my hallway. Padding across the carpet, I stood in front of the door and reached out for the handle. It felt cold against my skin but also gave the impression of a ticking bomb, something about to go off and destroy me at any given moment.
A deep breath filled my lungs as I turned the knob and pulled. My eyes widened in panic as a familiar hallway filled the door frame. The only problem was that this wasn't part of my own house. This was somebody else's. Bella Swan's to be specific.
Wait, was it even Bella's house any more? The last time I had spoken with her, two months ago before she'd left, she had been planning to leave Forks as soon as her mum could find a house in Florida. So many questions but no way to get the answers without breaking the rules I had set down for myself when I'd came home for the last time.
Don't go back to Forks
Avoid reading any form of Twilight related literature
Do not think about any of the events from two months ago
Most important of all, do not think about…him.
So far I was doing okay on these fronts but sometimes, on rare occasions when my mind ran away with itself, I dreamed about him. He was there, he was so real and I could almost touch him. But then I woke up and realised that if this continued, I'd never move on. I'd never be able to…forget.
I slammed the door, trying not to calm myself. It was times like this that I spent trying to forget, to convince myself that I wasn't crazy. It had happened. It had happened.
Taking a deep breath, I reached out again for the door but was faced with sudden relief as it opened from the other side, my sister standing in our hallway, her face looking at me oddly.
"Ash, you okay?"
** *** **
The next morning I got up and got ready for school as was my usual routine. I dressed, ate breakfast and was driven to school. The whole go-and-talk-to-the-school-counsellor-to-make-you-feel-better thing was not exactly high on my 'I can't wait!' moments. As I crossed the floor one word echoed in my mind. Run. But I couldn't. I said I'd do this and I was going to stick to my promise.
Taking a deep breath, my eyes darted towards the girl's bathroom on my left. Unable to pass up the chance to sort myself out before my deep and meaningful chat, I headed straight for it, barely missing out on whacking myself in the face with the swinging door.
From what I could tell, the bathroom was empty but at that moment I was more focused on other things. Dumping my bag beside me on the ground, I leant over the basin and looked at myself in the mirror. The freaked out, panda eyed look was not working for me. I made a mental note to get some proper sleep that night before attempting to smooth down my hair a little. It was first period and already I was looking…frazzled.
For a moment I froze, a self loathing look crossing my face for the briefest of seconds. It was like Bella's empty, zombie New Moon phase all over again. That was definitely something I wanted to avoid. Sure, I hadn't exactly been focusing on school lately but that could improve.
As much as I missed….him, I wasn't about to admit I was filled with an enormous black hole just yet. That would be taking the self destruction to a whole new level.
Denial land. It's a lovely place. If you can completely push the issue from your mind then it's likely you won't ever feel the reality of your situation until you book a ticket out of there.
A streak of red flashed over my shoulder but I paid not attention to it.
I took another deep breath and leant back, flatting my heels inside my shoes as the muscles in my face began to twist themselves into a smile. Smiles are good, happy people wear smiles, I told myself.
It was then that I finally took a proper look in the mirror into the bathroom behind me. I spun around on my heel to find myself face to face with someone familiar. Not from my dreams, but my nightmares.
Victoria grinned, venom sinking into every inch of her face as she walked towards me. Before I could react, my world had gone black.
Opening my eyes, I could see a series of blurred images. A moan sounded through the room while I sat up groggily.
My fingers reached up for my head, touching the tender lump now quickly forming towards the top of my forehead. "Oh for the love of god," I muttered. Looking down, I noticed that despite my finger's freedom, my hands were tied together at the wrist as were my ankles. Damn, this is uncomfortable in my school uniform, I complained mentally.
"Nice to see that you're up," Victoria purred, her cat like eyes were wide and staring directly at me with a hate so strong I thought it would burn me through. Great, another enemy, just what I need.
"Yeah, well, I was thinking only moments before you whacked the hell out of me that I was in need of some more sleep but if you don't mind, I think I'll stick to my regular sleeping patterns." Touching the bump again I winced, "and minus the giant bruise."
Victoria smiled, pleased to hear that she'd caused me some sort of pain.
"Okay, before I forget, how in the world did you get here?" I asked.
She gave me a look, "But here, I'll assume you mean your world."
I rolled my eyes, "No, this classroom. Of course, I mean my world." I snapped. Pissing off someone like Victoria probably wasn't a smart thing to do but considering that she'd just knocked me out and dragged me into a near by classroom, the niceties had been lost on me.
She glared at me, with me half expecting her eyes shoot out red sparks before she answered. "When you returned with James and you're friends, you left the door open between the worlds. I simply followed you."
"Now, the better question, why are you here?" I asked.
Her expression was a mix of emotions. "Why do you think?" she shot back viciously.
It hit me. "Oh, let me guess." I laughed, finding the humour in the situation. "You can't get the door to open again." The laughing continued. "You're stuck here." The idea that someone like her was out of control with no way home, for some reason, had become extremely amusing.
In a fit of rage, she reached out and pulled me up, her fingers clenched around my throat. The laughter ceased. "Wrong," she said, a wicked smile crossing her face.
Then I realised why I was there. "Oh dear," I said. "You're going to use me to open it aren't you?" I asked. It was more a statement than a question, yet the intention was clear behind it.
"Finally, the human catches on."
"I wouldn't be so heavy on the human thing, at the moment, you're human you know." I pointed out.
She growled in a very inhuman manner as if to show just how very wrong I was. Still, she couldn't deny, here in my world she was not a vampire.
Moving on, "Anyway, you're at a loss here. The portal doesn't open on command, trust me. Besides, even if I did know how to work it, I wouldn't open it for you." I shot out stubbornly.
This brought a glow out of Victoria, one I didn't like. "Wrong on two accounts now, you control the portal more than you know. And if I'm right, I don't think it will take that much effort to get you to open it, whether you like it or not." At this she released her grip on my throat, letting me fall to the floor again.
Her strength surprised me. It was not the level that of a vampire – nowhere near that, but it was extremely strong for a human woman of her stature.
I tensed, waiting to hear her grand plan for getting me to open the portal. Part of me knew what was coming, the other denied it and simply sat impatiently.
"So?" I urged, wishing it wouldn't work and that she'd just let me go. This seemed so unlikely it was laughable but still, I couldn't help dreaming.
Victoria smiled again, cruelly. "You and I both know that you're dying to see Edward again." At my confused expression she continued, "Oh yes, I know exactly what's been going on the last few months. Every time you open a door it seems to lead back to him." Clearly I hadn't had much alone time the last two months. Victoria had been watching me. Planning this.
"That's none of your business." I said quietly. My mind was racing, trying to block things out. I mustn't think about him. You can't go back there. You promised.
"Don't you want to go back there? All that lies between you is a little…tiny…door." She pressed confidently.
No, no, no. Ashley focus. Don't let her manipulate you this way.
But he's so close. All I have to do is give in. Just a little while. I just want to see him one more time.
No, you can't!
"He's so close Ashley. Just open the door between you." Victoria continued.
A small visit. I won't even speak to him. I'll just…just watch. I need to see him. See… Edward.
The defensive part of my mind which had been in place for so long, restricting every name and every memory was gone. The resistance had been lost and I knew that there was nothing I could do about it.
Watching my defeated expression, Victoria reached out for the door to the hallway and swung it open. Faded sunlight shone through into the room, casting shadows on my face. Victoria laughed in triumph, standing inches away from the opening.
Now she could go, she could leave. I had done what she'd asked. Now she could just let me be.
"Can you let me go now, please?" I asked, the weakness etched into every word. "You got what you wanted. Just….just let me go." I was almost pleading for her to understand.
The malice returned in an instant, like the flick of a switch. "Let you go?" She echoed as though it were ridiculous. "Oh no, no," she laughed coldly. "You misunderstood. This was just the beginning."
At this she grabbed me by my legs. Without a second though, she threw me out of the classroom and into the pale sunlight.