New Moon: A "Darkward" Tale

Bella Wakes Up

Scratch that last comment. She did do one interesting thing in those four months. It was about a week after I left her in the woods. She came out of the house, slamming the door open. She stopped and glared at her truck. For a moment I thought she would begin kicking it or something, but she climbed inside and started clawing at the dashboard.

I crept around trying to see what she was doing without letting her see me, and then I saw it: she was tearing out the radio we'd installed in her truck. It really wasn't that difficult to get out with the right tools, but she was bound and determined to rip it out with her bare hands.

She continued clutching, pulling, and falling back against the seat, over and over, screaming incoherently. When she finally got it, her fingertips were bright red, and small trickles of blood were running through the wrinkles of her palms. She took the thing out of her truck, went inside the house, and screamed one more time.

Then she went numb and virtually lifeless for four long, boring months.


Finally, someone with some influence over Bella had had enough of her moping.

The sound of a fist hitting the table reverberated through the house. "THAT'S IT, Bella! I'm sending you

home," Charlie declared.

Bella mumbled something too low for me to hear from where I was observing.

"I'm sending you to Renee, to Jacksonville," he clarified.

I took several minutes before his meaning penetrated her feeble mind.

"What did I do?" She sounded on the verge of tears. Still better than the numbness she had been carrying around the last four months.

"You didn't do anything. That's the problem. You never do anything."

"You want me to get into trouble?" That's the first conclusion you come to when he says he wants you to do something? All numbed up inside, but still have room for sarcasm, eh, Bella? No wait! I get it, you really can't do anything without getting into some kind of trouble, can you? My bad.

"Trouble would be better than this... this moping around all the time!" Yeah! You tell her, Charlie! I'm actually starting to like you, Chief Swan.

"I am not moping around."

"Wrong word," he grudgingly conceded. "Moping would be better-that would be doing something. You're just... lifeless, Bella. I think that's the word I want." Hahaha! Ooh, ouch! How I've missed being entertained by anything in this household, I should get some popcorn!

"I'm sorry, Dad." Her apology sounded a little flat. Bitch hadn't even noticed how much all her zombie-ness had caused Charlie so much concern. Heck, even I noticed! And I don't even care!

"I don't want you to apologize."

She sighed. "Then tell me what you do want me to do." Hey, you're supposed to be saying that to me!

"Listen, honey. I think that-that maybe you need some help."

"Help?"

"Maybe, well, maybe if you talked to someone about it. A professional."

"You want me to see a shrink?!"

"Maybe it would help."

"And maybe it wouldn't help one little bit." Aw, c'mon, Bella, it would be fun! You could tell the nice lady all about your immortal vampire boyfriend, and then she could introduce you to some of her other friends, and they would take you to your very own room, you would go nuts, I could Change you then, and we would have another Alice! Hey, that's not a bad idea. Hm...

"Look," I said in a flat voice. "I'll go out tonight, if you want. I'll call Jess or Angela."

"That's not what I want," he argued, frustrated.

"I don't understand, Dad. First you're mad because I'm not doing anything, and then you say you don't want me to go out."

"I want you to be happy¬no, not even that much. I just want you not to be miserable. I think you'll have a better chance if you get out of Forks."

Hey, whoa! Let's not get too hasty, now. At least when she's moping she's still moping about Moi. If she leaves, she might meet someone else who actually cares about her, and that would be awfully awful for me.

Lucky for me, Bella flatly refused to leave, and even promised to go out with J-something later for good measure. Whew! One bullet dodged, anyway.

She managed to get J-whatever (J-friend. I shall call her J-friend) to agree to see a movie with her that night. I was a little surprised, actually. Guess Jessica was even more kind-hearted than I thought. Boy would she be fun to corrupt!

They were going to see a movie called "Dead End." How deliciously appropriate. Bella ran out the door at the sound of Jessica's horn, and away they went to Port Angeles. I followed them there. This was the most interesting thing to happen to Bella in ages, and it's not like I had anything else to do, anyway.

The fun began when they left the theater.

"That was the scariest movie I think I've ever seen. I'll bet we're going to

have nightmares tonight," said J-friend.

"No doubt about that," Bella replied.

"Where do you want to eat?"

"I don't care."

"Okay."

They began walking down the street, toward a slightly shady stretch of road.

J-friend stopped talking and wasn't looking at Bella anymore. Her face was tense; she stared straight ahead and walked fast. As I watched, her eyes darted quickly to the right, across the road, and back again. I glanced around and saw what had made her so nervous.

They were on a short stretch of unlit sidewalk. The little shops lining the street were all locked up for the night, windows black. Half a block ahead, the streetlights started up again, and I could see, farther down, the bright golden arches of the McDonald's they were heading for.

Across the street there was one open business. The windows were covered from inside and there were neon signs, advertisements for different brands of beer, glowing in front of them. The biggest sign, in brilliant green, was the name of the bar: One-Eyed Pete's. I vaguely remembered that bar. I think I picked up a chick there-no, wait, Alice brought a guy home back from that place once. Rocked his world, and borrowed drugs from Carlisle to make him forget it happened. The metal door of the bar was propped open; it was dimly lit inside, and the low murmur of many voices and the sound of ice clinking in glasses floated across the street. Lounging against the wall beside the door were four men.

I glanced at J-friend. Her eyes were fixed on the path ahead and she moved briskly. She didn't look frightened-just wary, trying to not attract attention to herself. Perceptive and smart, that girl is.

Bella paused, looking back at the four men. She felt a strong sense of déjà vu. This was a different road, a different night, but the scene was so much the same. One of them was even short and dark. As she stopped and turned toward them, that one looked up in interest.

"Bella?" Jess hissed. "What are you doing?"

She shook her head. "I think I know them..." she muttered.

Really? Was she really going to go over to those men who reminded her of the potential rapists that accosted her that other time in Port Angeles?

J-friend was beginning to get frantic. Small wonder. Her voice cracked in panic as she called after Bella. "Bella, come on!"

Bella ignored her and continued toward them as if in a daze. What the-? She was getting an adrenaline rush from this! Well, why not? I'm sure if I still had human anatomy, I would get from Carlisle's various "attentions" toward me, too.

She was halfway across the street when Jess caught up to her and grabbed her arm.

"Bella! You can't go in a bar!" she hissed.

"I'm not going in," she said absently, shaking J-friend's hand off. "I just want to see something..."

"Are you crazy?" she whispered. "Are you suicidal?"

That question caught my attention, and Bella focused on her.

"No, I'm not." She said defensively. Well, at least she wasn't suicidal.

"At least she's not suicidal." I nearly jumped about four feet in the air and quickly looked behind me to my left. Carlisle! When did he get here? He scoffed at my surprise. "Edward, I taught you everything you know about monitoring a person like this, but I didn't teach you everything I know. Actually, I've been watching you watching her for quite some time. I thought it would be fair to warn you that it looks like she might choose one of those men, and if she does, I will have won. Oh, and if she dies, you lose."

"What?! That was not part of the original deal! You can't just change something like-"

"Can and have, and there's nothing your sweet little ass can do about it."

I hated the way he said that. "I hate you so much," I told him as I turned to watch Bella again, more anxious now than before. "Bella, stop this right now!" I said under my breath, willing her to listen to me.

She stopped. A light came back to her eyes, and I was a bit mystified. I opened my mind to hers, and realized with a jolt that she had heard me. I mean, yeah, I was thinking it, and pretty hard, too, but I don't think I was projecting, and she heard me.

"Carlisle, I think she heard me!"

"Really? And you didn't try to speak to her?" I shook my head. He absently rubbed his chin. "Interesting. This could be more fun than I anticipated."

I looked at him suspiciously. "Why? What do you know?"

He turned to me and smiled in that infuriating way he had. "Nothing for certain; a suspicion, nothing more. If I'm right...oh, that could be too fun! You should really take care of her now, though." He nodded down toward the girls.

Bella hadn't moved from her place before. "Go back to Jessica," I urged. "Don't do anything stupid."

She didn't move from where she stood, but her mind was working furiously, wondering how she could hear me (I wondered that too) and slowly taking in the situation around her.

Even after all that, Bella still engaged in light conversation with one who called out to her. All the while, her companion just stood there, wide-eyed in shock, horror, and disdain.

"I can't believe you, Bella Swan! I feel like I don't know who you are," she said when Bella finally came back and imperiously "suggested" that they go get dinner. So do I, J-friend; so do I.

When she finally got back (after an awkward, silent ride home, I might add) she went through a truly fascinating ordeal where she finally decided to feel the emotions she had been warding off with numbness. I lay on her roof above her bedroom and soaked in the feelings: pain foremost, and guilt over what she made Charlie feel. Doesn't sound like much, but my kind feed off the so-called "negative" emotions of humanity. The feeding sent waves of pleasure through me, until it felt like a high, or what I'm assuming a high feels like. Don't think I ever got high as a human, and even if I did, it's been so long I don't remember.

I finally had to close myself off from her when I began shivering from the intensity of her emotional state.

Eventually she went to sleep, and I smiled when I heard the steady cadences of slumber, glad that I had stuck around long enough to "share" that with her.

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