Chapter 26: Turpentine & Patches
He has two wrinkles in the corner of his left eye. There is a faint scar on his stubbly chin. My mind has considered that he fell as a child. Maybe he was in a fight at school. It's not Chicken Pox, from scratching. I know what that looks like. Above my right eye. It's not the same. Plus, his father probably told him not to itch. If he ever even had the damn Chicken Pox. Why the hell am I laying here wondering about Edward and childhood diseases?
Oh, right. His arms are holding me prisoner and I cannot move. Would I anyhow? No. Shit, it's warm. Why would I move? Five light – you almost can't see them – freckles on his nose and he doesn't snore. He still smells like the snow. My finger has the urge to tickle his ear. I refrain. He's sound asleep. That would be rude.
I wonder how long he'll sleep for. Oh, he's moving. I hold still. I close my eyes and pretend to be asleep. He stops. I'm being hugged tighter and I can't see his face anymore. I only feel my cheek to his chest. His hand, arm, is holding me against him. He's on his back, now. His heart beats under my ear. I listen and it lulls me back to sleep. Seventy five. What a liar.
Two weeks later.
I nod and Esme smiles. The car turns on. My hands flex in my lap. It's cold, but I'm sweaty. She listens to the religious station. I want to change it. This isn't my car. It smells like leather and fruit. It's weird. Super clean. Cleaner then Edward's car; which I would have thought was impossible. I want to open the car door and throw myself out as we merge onto the highway. I could do it. Just reach for the handle and fall out. I'd surely be killed. There is too much ice on the road. No car could stop in time. This tragedy would be over. Bella Swan would be buried and laid to rest. No one would cry. I'd just fade away into the earth.
That's a lie, the little white figure on my shoulder says. Edward would care. He said so. Shut up. He was probably drunk. No, he doesn't drink, she argues. Yes he does. I saw him. The new laptop he picked out last week is proof. But he held you. He held you and kissed you, Bella. We never felt that before. No one kisses us and no one… shut up.
I eye the door and try to figure out how long it would take for Esme to react. Shit, she'd probably crash. Then Edward would have a dead mother, wife and whatever the fuck I am. The laundry would never be done. That's right, he likes your laundry. Called it a skill. Jesus fucking H. Christ. Shut up. Unless you are going to hand me a drink, shut up and stop talking about drinks and Edward and lies. No, no. You don't drink anymore, either. You're a good girl, Bella. That's why we are here.
And we are. Shit. How did we get here so fast? My chance for rolling down the highway has expired. No backing out, now. Shut. Up. Get out, Bella. Just get out. Oh, I wish you would. You little annoying voice of reason. You seriously need to get the fuck out.
"Are we going in, Dear?"
No. No. No we aren't going in. "Yeah, sorry." I get out and I'm fucking stupid. This is stupid. I am fucking stupid.
She holds the door and I step in. I fill out the stupid chart. Esme pulls out sewing needles from her bag as she waits. Who the fuck carries sewing needles around with them? Fill out the paper and stop avoiding what we are here to do, please. Shut it. I am. Name, birth date, social. Address…shit. I look at the crinkled paper in my hand and write down Edwards. That's right, that's home. Key in your bag says so. He even made sure it was just for you. B for Bella. Bella Swan. That's right, girl has a home.
Esme looks up. "What, Dear?"
I shake my head. "Sorry. Nothing."
Now you're getting us in trouble. I rub my face and try to concentrate. My writing looks like shit. My hand shakes too much. I write down his number. That one I know. It's embedded in my memory. I sign the form and wait. Esme hums, knitting away and looks like this is just another day in her normal, normal existence. At least she isn't trying to sweet talk and tell me how proud and blah fucking blah she is.
I really like Edward's mom. See, there is it. That sparkle of hope. You think that's why Edward likes us? There is no us. There is only me and you need to shut the fuck up. Edward is lonely. He is depressed and lonely. He needs a good fucking. But he doesn't want that. Said so, Bella. Slept all night without an erection or anything. Not even morning wood. Well maybe he has a goddamn issue. Nope. Had no issue when you went down on him.
"Bella Swan?" I look up and a woman in scrubs calls my name.
"Would you like me to wait here?" Esme asks. She is still knitting.
"Um…yeah. I'll be fine."
Will you? Yes. I think. Please just shut up. I walk to the room she directs me to. I take a seat and she says the doctor will be in soon. They have crunchy paper. What is with the crunchy paper? It is so loud in a quiet room. It makes my skin itch. It's nerves, Dummy. I told you to shut it. There is laughter and I think I am insane. Yes, I must be insane. I'm here and I must be a goddamn fool who is goddamn insane. Hookers don't have babies. You're not a hooker. A personal assistant. Laughing again. Yeah, laugh. Go ahead. It is funny, isn't it?
All the pictures on the walls are lovey-dovey. A mother coddling her baby. A diagram of how it grows. I look at my fingers. The doctor comes in and I can barely hear him or make sense of what is going on. He's telling me to lay down and I am a robot. His fingers are pressing into my stomach. It is tender and painful, but he's not hurting me. There's cold and pressure. There is a noise, but I ignore it. It's called a heartbeat, you idiot. Go away. It's alive, just like he said. Congratulations, you're a mom. Semantics.
When he's done he gives me shit and then a nurse gives me shit and I simply nod like I get it and they smile. More kind words and I am done. Esme smiles when she sees me. I don't have to do anything else at the desk and I don't want to ask why. I don't want to know anymore of their kindness and caring and looking out for me. I don't want to know what strings were pulled to get a girl without insurance or the financial capability to pay for this visit.
I should have thrown myself out of the car.
One week later
"Beau-ti-ful, Bel-la?" He sings it as he enters the house. It's like we are all chummy-chummy. Like he means it. Like everything is just peachy. Like he is fine and I am fine and everything is fucking fine, fine, fine. He needs to go back to being sad. It was less annoying.
"Kitchen," I answer.
His fingers scratch at the back of my head when he enters. It's casual. It makes goose-bumps on my skin. Oh, fuck off. He gets something from the fridge. He doesn't look tired, though he's worked a double almost everyday this week. He's eating something from a packet. Some kind of fruit snack things. He's still rummaging through the fridge.
"We need to go shopping." He kicks the door closed.
"Whenever you're ready."
"I'm ready." I push the laptop aside and he looks at it.
"Find anything yet?"
I shake my head. "I don't even know what I'm looking for."
He shoves more fruit snacks in his mouth. If he's eating that shit, he must be starving. Not only is there high-fructose corn syrup, but there is food coloring too. Artificial flavors. Yeah, he's starving.
"We can talk about it when we get back if you want."
I shrug and push in the stool. He lets it go and we drive to the store. There are endless displays of hearts and red and pink and love. It's fucking gross. Didn't we just have a holiday? More so, who the fuck wants a singing monkey to show their love and affection? Or a goddamn box of conversation hearts. It's stupid. It's so fucking stupid. He tosses a box of them into the cart. Edward does. That's who. Yeah, but who is he giving them to? Not us. How do you know? Because I know.
"Bree loves those disgusting things. I should be shot for buying them, but…" he shrugs and looks at the stuffed animals.
See? Not for us. A little girl. He's buying a little girl things for a stupid holiday because only stupid little girls would buy into such crap. But you did consider it for a moment. Kill me now, please. He chooses a bear and some other shit and I am not looking. I don't want to know.
"Aren't you craving candy yet? Chocolate, anything?" We start walking and I shake my head.
"I told you I don't eat that shit." I push the cart down one of the aisles. He walks beside me.
"Why? Not that I'm apposed, it's good, but I'm curious why you have aversions to candy and not other junk foods."
"I just don't eat fucking candy, Edward. Who cares." I ditch the cart and go off looking on my own. Why are you getting mad at Edward? He only asked a question. He's being nice, you twat. As usual. Maybe that's the problem. You want him to be mean? Cruel and unusual? No. Well, what's the problem then?
I keep walking until I reach the restrooms. I find a stall and close the door. I don't know why I'm crying, but I am. I try to stay quiet. I sob into a balled up wad of itchy paper. My head leans against the stall door. I wish I could just stay here. I don't want to go back out there. If I do, he's just going to ask more questions. He's going to try and make it better and nothing is better. There is this swollen bulge under my belly button that says nothing is alright. Nothing is better. I have a key, so what the fuck what. He cares, so the fuck what. He's a gentlemen and only seeks my best interest. So. The fuck. What.
It's not going to change anything. Nothing is going to change anything. It can't bring Charlie back. It can't undo whatever I have done. It can't fill the hole in my heart or replace the nonsense in my head. It's as fake as the words written on hard candy hearts. Be mine. Forever. Go fuck yourself.
Renee will never sit next to me knitting stupid baby blankets and asking me if I need her help. Never did before. Why let someone else do it? Why even let the false hope - someone who isn't even my own goddamn my mother cares - live? Why? Because it feels good when she calls you Dear. You love that she cares and you love that she loves you making Edward happy. You love her hugs and you love her smile. Shut up.
She'll never tell you to get out, Bella. She'll never yell and cry and drink herself stupid. Esme is strong. She'll never weep at night into her pillow. You'll never hear her sobbing about how it's all your fault. Esme feeds you. You'll never have dishes thrown at you and be cursed at for killing him. Esme would never let you go hungry. She'd never blame you for what happened. She'd never let her daughter take her clothes off for random men. She'd find you if you were lost, Bella. Esme would go out and look for you.
I'm sliding down the door and begging it to stop. It doesn't listen to me. I can't breathe.
Edward would go find you. He's probably waiting right outside the door. His hands are probably in his pockets and he's waiting for you. For Bella. He wants to take her home. Shut up. He wants to make dinner and help you find a home for your baby. He wants to ask you if your feet hurt. He'd rub them if you asked him to. He'd do it without hesitation and no matter how long you sit here and cry, Bella, he'll wait. The store could threaten to close and he'd ask them to stay open just five more minutes. You're lost and he'd look for you. He'd find you. He'd wait.
"Do you understand what I'm saying?"
I answer through my sobs. "No."
"Bella you were a little girl. He never got a chance to explain these things to you."
"Shut up. Please just shut up."
"Bella you were a little girl…"
"Bella you were a little girl…"
"Bella you were a little girl…"
"And she just pushed me out. I needed her and she just pushed me away. I didn't mean to. I swear I didn't mean to. I didn't even want the fucking candy. It wasn't that good. I was just hungry. She was a shitty cook and I was hungry. He would have stopped anyway. He was out of beer and he would have fucking stopped anyway! She was a shit mother and a shit wife and she had nothing else to do during the goddamn day but she couldn't even keep the fucking fridge stocked or boil water and make goddamn pasta! She was a shit mother! A fucking shit mother!"
I shake my head. "No it's not. It'll never be okay. It'll never fucking be okay."
"Yes it will."
I'm rocking back and forth. There are arms holding me that I know. They are not mine. My skin breaks out in goose-bumps as he consoles me, rubbing his hands over my arms. I don't understand it. I don't know what the bumps read, mean. What does it say? Why is he able to produce them when he touches me? Never happened before. I can't decipher the code.
My face to his chest. I'm ruining his clothes with my salty tears and he doesn't care. He rocks me. He holds me. He whispers that's it's alright and he doesn't care when it is not. So foolish, Bella. You were lost and he went looking for you. He waited and he found you.
"This is the only way anyone should ever touch you, Bella. The only way you should ever want someone to touch you. The only way I want to touch you."
Do you get it yet? Do you get it yet, Bella?