Chapter 17: Forgiveness
I can't get out of my car. I just went off on Bella, tugging and pulling her around like a rag-doll, all the while, yelling about someone else doing it to Tanya. It's Sunday and I should be standing there with flowers to offer, but I didn't stop and I have nothing. She doesn't need my anger at her place of rest and peace. I throw the gear into reverse and drive towards where my anger is valid.
I get to church and I'm early. I didn't stop for the food from Alice's and I don't plan on staying. I just need to say my piece. Rosalie and Emmett pull in. I climb out and walk straight towards the Jeep. My temper is out of control, but she crossed the line and I don't really care. She sees me approaching and I skip any and all pleasantries.
"Feel the need to spread lies about my life, Rosalie?" My voice is loud and her face is surprised. "Office gossip is no longer enough for you? You need to tell my fucking housekeeper about Tanya and the shit we went through? I won't talk about it so you do to make up for it? Seriously, what the fuck were you thinking?"
A hand pushes me out of her face. I swat it away and Emmett stands in front of Rosalie.
"This doesn't concern you, Emmett."
He crosses his arms. "Oh, I think it does. That's my wife you're shouting at."
Rosalie steps from behind him. "Honey, it's alright. Just get Josh from the car, okay?"
He eyes me, but does as she asks. "I'm sorry. I didn't tell her about Tanya, though. Not the way you are thinking. We were just talking and it came up. I didn't go into details."
"Funny, Rosalie; because it sounded like she had some serious ones to me. So much for being family and shit."
I turn to leave and she calls for me to wait, but I don't. I reach my car and before I unlock the door Emmett reaches me. He is the last person I want to see and I don't care how big he is in comparison to myself; I'm not being intimidated by anyone.
"What happened with Bella?" He asks.
My temper flares. "Why don't you tell me, Emmett? She was doing just fine until you showed up at my house."
He shakes his head. "Bella is far from fine and for the record, I didn't make her this way."
"You sure as fuck didn't help. And what kind of sick person are you to send a pregnant girl - who obviously is emotionally damaged - out on a date?"
He is staring at me. "Excuse me?"
"She shouldn't be sleeping around with random strangers you find. You don't need to be a damn doctor Emmett to know that shit about pregnant women."
"Who the fuck is pregnant?"
Is he kidding me?
There is silence. His face is reading mine. I'm not backing away. There is confusion, then anger and regret. The doors to the church close. Rosalie is inside with their son. Emmett kicks the shit out of my car's back tire. His palms lay flat on the trunk lid. I almost want to laugh – not that anything is humorous – but just at how screwed up we all are.
"She didn't tell me that shit." He is still pissed and looking at the trunk.
"I sort of gathered that by the way you abused my tire, Emmett." I lean against the car and he lifts his hand to hit the frame, but he pauses as I glare. "The Mercedes didn't do anything to you. Do you mind not kicking its ass?"
He wants to stay pissed, but falters. His hand rubs over his face. "Sorry."
I see my parents pull in and I groan. "I need to get out of here before I get the Spanish Inquisition going on." I dig out my keys and unlock the door.
"What the hell am I supposed to tell them?"
"Tell them I'm sick." I laugh a little. "It's sort of true." His eyes meet mine and understand. I climb in and he taps the glass. I roll down the window.
"I need to talk to Bella."
"Good luck with that, Emmett. Finding her, I mean."
His face scrunches. I elaborate. "We had a fight. I'm sure she won't be home when I get there after the shit I said to her."
He doesn't look surprised. He nods, rubbing his chin. "I'll find her."
I don't care. I pull away and drive off. I have flowers to pick up.
My anger is following me around town. No matter where I go, it keeps up. I go into a shop and buy a new sweater. A shoe store and I have new boots. Mike's are in the trash. A scarf. A hat. Gloves. I am warm, but my anger is still following me around. I won't bring this to Charlie, today. He doesn't deserve it. I don't want to see Edward. I find the tree in the park and sit. My knees are to my chest. The parasite is hungry and I am not moving. The food won't taste good, anyhow. I sit for a few hours, until the sun starts to find cover behind the clouds and it is too damn cold.
My legs are sore from sitting and I start to walk to again. I end up at the church. There is no food and even if there were, I wouldn't take it. I don't deserve such charity. I sit in one of the back pews and just listen to the preacher preach. It's a hock of shit, but I listen. There is a woman with a little girl and a man sitting in the front row. The little girl keeps turning around and making faces. Her mother is scolding her. She isn't being mean, but she is still scolding her. The girl thinks it is funny. The rest of the church thinks it's funny, too.
"Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are bad, your body also is full of darkness."
I roll my eyes. Really? He keeps on spewing his shit and I am about ready to leave. Everyone is just so fucking brilliant, aren't they? It grows quiet and he steps back behind the podium. His face grows serious, somber. He nods his head towards the family with the little girl.
"Let us join in prayer. Let us ask the Lord to watch over the Smith family." Everyone bows their heads and they listen and pray. There is a member of their family that is sick. Another child. Not the girl. I don't close my eyes. I watch the girl as she climbs all over the place and her mother tries to keep her calm as the prayer continues. She looks like the girl from Edward's house. It's not her, but they look they same.
Edward has good eyes; these good eyes the preacher spats off about. So where is his light? He gets stuck with a person like me. He gets his wife taken away. He gives his body to serve another; save another. A child. He has nothing but the things the lord says not to be in love with. Money, material things. Where is his light?
"Please give what you can to help this family with the surgery costs. Even if it's a prayer. Everything helps."
A plate goes around and people stick their dollars and coins in it. I stare at the colored glass and ignore when it is passed my way. Money doesn't solve shit. It gets you new shit that still feels like old shit and that is all. If you really believe in this…this all seeing all being creature….God…what the fuck ever….then why not just pray? You are using money to get a doctor to save you. Not God. Fucking hypocrites. I swear the Saint's frown at me. I give them the finger and stand.
My bag still weighs a ton.
I huff and people are staring. "Fine, let's test this little theory, okay?" I am now talking to the Saints. I'd say I am going crazy - but fuck - already there, you know? I walk up the front row and now everyone is staring. "You want miracles and shit?" I dig in my bag and start tossing out the dollars from it. Bills fall all over the stage and floor and I don't give a shit.
"Here's a miracle for you. Hooker walks into a church and donates the money she made getting nailed from behind and deep-throating last night." I keep tossing the money out. The church is silent. "Wonder if God minds you saving a child's life with money that not only was earned by a sexual deviant, by also by someone who lies and cheats and steals and has no qualms about fucking someone else's husband."
More cash. More cash.
"The REAL miracle however, will be if this guy I know, a real stand-up-type, real good hearted wonderful citizen of this God loving community – who by the way – donates kidneys and shit to sick children – will forgive me for doing it. I mean, I am giving it to you to save your kid….so clearly that earns me some brownie points with the guy upstairs, right? All is peachy fucking pie, now, right?" I put my bag back on my shoulder and walk out.
Light as a feather.
When I get to Edward's house I am still wound up. I don't knock. I storm in and head straight for the steps. He never said I had to leave. The door is loud and I don't care. I am half way up the steps, stomping like a child.
"Please don't slam my front door."
I pause and look over the rail. He is walking from the living room towards the patio. He isn't looking at me. He is drinking something. There is a bottle of some good shit in his other hand and if the good doctor is getting tanked, I am RSVPing to that pity party. I follow him out and eye him curiously. He seems oblivious. He sits on the lounge chair and I sit on the other. It is fucking cold. I put my hand out for the bottle. He makes a face.
"You're pregnant, you idiot." He tucks the bottle into his side and sips his drink.
He looks over at me. There is a desire to roll his eyes, but he doesn't. "I take it back. You're a goddamn genius, Bella."
"Why are you drinking?"
He sits up. A little bit of golden jumps from his glass. "You know, for someone who is so against others prying, you sure are doing a lot of it." He takes a sip. "In the words of one Bella Swan; it's none of your goddamn business."
I ignore his words. "Is it because it's Sunday?"
He rests back into his chair. "Just go away, Bella."
"Can't. Was sent on a mission from God."
His head lolls to the side. I want to laugh at his expression. "God?"
"I'm testing out a theory, let's say."
He waves his cup as he asks. "And that would be?"
"There's this kid dying. I gave the family the money I made last night to get a fucking operation or some shit. I want to see if my sin is forgiven."
Edward sits up. He body turns towards mine. He puts his glass on the table between us. I eye it. He picks it up and moves it to the ground behind his chair. His elbows lean on his knees.
"Bella? You can't repent by doing things that you think are good deeds. You just fucking repent and hope that your apology is forgiven."
"I think you're wrong."
He rubs his face. "I think I know the bible and how that shit works. I've sat through it my whole life. Every Sunday." He reaches for his drink; it reaches his lips. "Except today."
"The fact that you're speaking to me proves you wrong, Edward."
He swallows and pours himself another. "What do you mean?"
"My theory is to get you to forgive me. Not God."
His eyes meet mine and I look away. I can still feel him looking at me. I scoot back in my seat and fold my legs Indian style.
"Tell me about your father."
My head turns towards him. "Tell me about your wife."
"I already did."
"No you didn't. You showed me pictures. I don't know the story. And that was rude by the way. I don't stomach that shit well."
He is silent and I think he is clamming up. I sure as fuck am not spilling the beans first. I hear him sigh and rests back into his chair, again.
"I already told you how we met, so let me give you the short and sweet version of the rest." He swallows a little more golden from his glass. "She was in med school and I already had my practice. You know this…" he waves his hand. "Because I already told you I was Bree's pediatrician. I asked her to marry me about six months after we started dating. I loved her. I loved her so fucking much."
His eyes close and he is quiet again. He stays that way for a while and I wonder if he passed out, but he takes a sip and continues. Eyes still closed.
"I knew she dated that asshole. She told me one day…we were like…in the living room…she was studying, before we got married. I knew he used to hit her and there was always a part of me that just…knew? I guess I just knew something wasn't right. She hated gifts and shied away from me when I tried to do things for her. I hated it, but I assumed it was because she didn't want me to think she wanted my money….or whatever. You know how people are."
He takes a drink and his glass is empty. He doesn't refill, he just goes for the bottle this time.
"We got married and she graduated school. My father gave her a job at the hospital. She was a nurse." There's a long pause. "She started acting different. I assumed it was the job. She worked a lot of graveyard shifts and hospital hours suck…but then she shows up one night with a story about how a patient hit her and I knew….I just fucking knew."
The bottle is back to his lips. "When money started missing from our account and drugs started missing from the hospital, it all made sense. She denied it and had some good ass excuses for everything…for an entire fucking year… but I didn't graduate at the top of my class two years early because I'm stupid. She was helping him…giving him the pills and the money. Our fucking money. My fucking money. This scum who hit and…." He stops and tosses the bottle. It breaks and his jaw tightens. That is all he going to say on his own.
"He….he killed her?"
He nods. Eyes closed.
"Why? I mean, she was helping him….why…"
His eyes open and his anger is back. "Because he's a fucking crazy drug addict, Bella. I don't fucking know. Why does anyone kill anyone?"
"Did they catch him?"
"Yeah….yeah they caught him. He gets to do the next forty years of his life behind bars. My tax dollars ensure he has medical, dental and I hear they just got a brand new library installed; full of all your hearts literature desires."
I sit back and don't press him any further. He's annoyed. "Don't fucking play the silent shit. You're supposed to tell me about your father, Bella."
"Can we go inside? It's cold out here."
He stands. He trips slightly. I pretend like I don't see it. "Yeah sure…need something to drink, anyhow."
I sit in the living room as he gets a bottle of clear from the kitchen. When he steps in, he glares at me and motions with his hand for me to move. "Don't ever sit there."
I don't know why and I'm not asking. I just move. He sits on one side of the couch. I sit on the other. He flips on the fire place and slouches down into the cushions. His eyes are lazy and he is going to feel like shit in the morning.
"There was this kid in our neighborhood that went missing one year. Sam Uley. He was a year younger than me…"
"Leah Clearwater's brother?" He asks.
I nod. "Yeah….how do you know them?"
"I treat Leah's son Seth."
"Oh…..well yeah. Anyhow…Sam went missing that summer. The kids used to go cliff diving and stuff and they assumed he jumped and drowned, but Charlie, my dad, he didn't. He looked for Sam every night and it pissed my mother off. They fought a lot about it. She felt like….he was neglecting us to go search for some kid that they already thought was dead. I remember how people used to look at him – he was the Chief of Police – and they'd always ask him why he keeps searching for the 'Uley Boy'. My father would just give them a line….but then when I asked one day, he said that if it were me, he would want someone to go looking for me; until they found me."
I look away and focus on the fire. "Sam's body was found on Christmas Eve. He was buried just five miles from his house. My dad found him."
It's quiet and I play with my fingers. The fire crackles and Edward sits forward. The bottle rests on the coffee table. "How did he die?"
"He was strangled. They think someone kidnapped him when he was on his way down to First Beach, to go cliff diving."
Edward shakes his head. "I mean Charlie, your father. Not that I don't appreciate the story…but I sort of sat and told you how my wife was murdered, Bella. That doesn't exactly compare to some kid in your neighborhood."
I look at him. "You asked me to tell you about Charlie. Not how he died. That story is about him. It's who he was."
Edward scratches his head and looks annoyed still. "Fine, without the major details. What happened to him?"
"He was shot. Happy now?"
He shakes his head. "Not particularly. No."
He slumps back into the couch. The bottle stays on the coffee table. I bring my knees to my chest and rest my chin there. I glance at Edward. He is staring at me. My voice is low. I feel nine. "You know…this was the first time I've ever told anyone that story."
He understands and closes his eyes, giving a slight nod. "Sorry about today, Bella."
I hug my knees tighter. I watch the fire and stay silent. My eyes feel brighter, but my body, it still feels dark.