Chapter NineMature

There was a quietness to the air that surrounded me. The elevation helped to stifle the noises of busy California below. I reached into my rear jean pocket and pulled out my pack of cigarettes. Shaking the lighter out of the pack as well, I lifted a smoke to my lips and brought the lighter towards the tip. I sighed inaudibly to myself as I inhaled the first drag of my cigarette. It occurred to me that I hadn't had one in more than a day. I smiled to myself as I looked down at my sneakers, my legs dangling over the side of a cliff. Addiction had never been a problem of mine, even before I'd been changed. I smoked simply because I enjoyed it, and why not? It couldn't kill me. Bella's recherché smile crossed my mind and for a short moment, I wondered about my immunity to addiction. I wondered how long she would sleep for. I wondered if she would sleep at all. I debated how long it would take me to run back. A few short hours, max. Maybe two and a half.

I wondered if Bella had ever been to California, I wondered if she would like it. I decided to ask if she would like to accompany me some time. I was suddenly bored. It occurred to me that I didn't know how long I'd been sitting there, smoking my cigarettes casually and not registering when I lit another one up. I glanced down at my pack. Empty. Not a good sign. I was a slow smoker. I sighed to myself and put the empty pack back in my pocket. No use tossing it into the woods. I began my run again, weaving through traffic without being noticed, then through trees, then through crowds and back through trees. When I was thinking about it, I had a relatively useful ability to estimate time as it was passing. So I thought about it on the run back towards Bella's house, so I could see if my estimate had been correct. It was. I was off by fifteen minutes, making the trip shorter than I'd expected.

It was late afternoon when I wandered back into Forks. No later than five. Twilight would be coming soon. I walked casually through the woods behind Bella's house, stopping short as Charlie's words hit my ears. I was only a few yards into the woods yet, still out of sight, so I sat down and listened. I felt slightly guilty, knowing that it wasn't my business, but Charlie's voice was pained. I was concerned for Bella.

"Dad, that's ridiculous. I don't need to see a therapist."

"Bella... I know you don't feel like it's necessary. But I'm worried for you. I - I feel like you're just digging a deeper hole for yourself. I don't feel like you're getting any better and I know you try to hide it for my sake, but that's not the way it should be, Bells. I'm your father, I need to help you."

"A therapist isn't going to help me, Dad!" I heard the panic in her voice. I knew why. Bella was smart. She knew the way therapy worked. In order for them to tell Charlie there was any progress, she would have to be honest. Being honest involved, clearly, informing them of exactly why she was depressed. They would not settle for "my boyfriend left me". They would want details, reasons she was so torn up about it. "My boyfriend is a vampire that will never die and never return and here I am, dying every second of the day, knowing I'll never get the chance to be with him forever" simply would not make them think very highly of her sanity. She'd be carted away, drugged and analyzed day in and day out. They would tell Charlie that it was the only way she'd get better. Charlie would be desperate to help his delusional daughter, begging her to understand. Bella would be trapped. If she didn't tell the truth, then she was being difficult and causing Charlie to worry and pay for endless bills that were doing no good. Bella was too selfless. This situation was going to rip her in half. I winced when Charlie spoke again.


"I really don't want to. I'll try harder on my own."

"I know you would, kiddo, but I don't think it's going to be enough for you. It's been months and you haven't really brightened up any."

"Therapy isn't going to cheer me up, Dad."

"I'm not saying it will. I'm just saying that I think it will help you overcome this. I don't want to see you this depressed for the rest of the year."

"I'm not depressed."

"Bella, I think you're wrong. You need to go. I'm your father and I'm telling you to do this. Please, if for no other reason than for me. Do this." I could almost hear Bella's heart breaking. Maybe that was the sob that burst from her lips. I had to fight the urge to run to her, to grab her and take her away from there. There were more delicate ways of going about that, though. I would wait.

It was an hour or so later when Charlie finally mumbled something about how Bella should go to bed and get some rest. He said he had scheduled an appointment for her after classes the next day, and he was sorry she didn't understand why this was necessary. He was incredibly uncomfortable. I heard his loud steps as he approached her hesitantly, and placed a soft kiss on the top of her sobbing head. "I'm sorry, Bella. I love you." Bella lifted herself off the couch and sulked her way up the stairs. She walked into her room, I assumed to grab her toiletries bag, and marched down the hallway to slam the bathroom door closed. I heard the water run in the shower, where she only remained for around ten minutes, and then I heard the softer sound of water from the sink. Within a few minutes she was slamming the door to her room and collapsing on the bed. My silent heart cringed in unto itself. I snuck across the yard and yet again, tossed a small pebble up to her window. I heard her gentle footsteps as she walked over, throwing the window open and heading back to her bed without waiting for me. I leapt up and into her room smoothly, leaning against the wall by the window and crossing my arms in front of me.

"Want to go to California with me, tonight?"

The End

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