September 7, 2013
May, the lady boss at the small bookstore I worked at frowned when she saw me come in, “You’re supposed to be off today. Why are you here, Leah?”
I laughed at her expression. Poor thing: she was down with a harsh cold, and still insisting on working her ass off to save the literature deficient world. I had actually come to cover for her, but I knew she wouldn’t go down without a fight, even if she looked relieved at my presence.
“I know. I brought you some soup.” I smiled, “And I’ve come to tell you to get the hell out of here so I can take over.”
Her forty year old brow rose in mock strictness, “This could be interpreted very differently without the first part.”
I laughed again, “We’ll see about that if the time comes. Now, you drink the soup, and just pack your things. Go home.”
“No. It’s your day off. You should be relaxing. And you’re busy enough as it is.” She shook her head.
“Doing what: filling out college applications? Oh, come on. You’re sick. Go. Home.” I started to snatch the register from her hands, but she held on to it with weak hands.
“Leah, no, it’s okay. I’m perfectly fine. George is dropping by later to take me to the doctor. It’ll be all right. I’m closing early anyway.” George was May’s very blond and very cerulean eyed husband. I’d met him only a few times, but I could tell he kept May really happy.
“No way, May. You just sit in the back and relax. I’ll take over. Plus, I think Janie will be here in a while. I’ll leave then, okay?” I tried to be stern with my tone, and it seemed to have worked, for May narrowed her eyes for a minute and then sighed gratefully.
“You’re an angel, Leah.”
I just laughed at her response and led her to the cozy couch in front of the fireplace. I settled her in, covering her with a blanket and roaring up the fire, and then brought out the chicken soup. May took it with a smile on her face, and I left her to her devices.
On my way back to the reception table, I had the same thought I’d been having for quite a few weeks now.
The acceptance letter from the Harvard University was hiding under my bed in Seth’s and mine apartment. I’d never said anything about it to anyone. Everybody, including Mr. Mind Reader thought that I was still “in the process” of looking at schools after finishing my pre-med courses at a local community college.
This was my chance. People didn’t just get into Harvard Med. They had to work hard, toil themselves into the ground for that one piece of paper. And I had it in my hands, or for the moment, under my bed. I should have been dancing with joy. This was the opportunity that I had been waiting for: moving, starting a new life, away from everyone, possibly myself, however cruel and conceited that might sound.
I know, I know, the self deprecation should have gotten old now. But you can’t hide from yourself, from what you really are. That was something that followed me everywhere. I couldn’t escape the black hole of the supernatural realm I lived in.
Don’t get me wrong: I am not deriding everything and everyone I have. Strange and hard as it was, I had come to love the Cullens over the years. Contrary to all I had thought, they were, in fact, good, and the only extended family I had. I had found a surprising sister in Rosalie and Bella (Alice and I had ideological difference about what constitutes as fashion, but we got along). I loved Nessie. And I had to admit, although grudgingly, that Mr. Mind Reader was nice as well, though the air reeked with excess of love when he was around Bella.
Jacob had become my rock over the years. That was one thing that Bella and I agreed on wholeheartedly. It was totally his fault, though: that guy was so persistent. He could never let anything go. He’d coaxed me repeatedly to open up to him, as if he was some paranormal version of Dr. Phil. But, in the end, he gave good advice. I was honestly surprised to find gray matter in that upper story of his.
I had everything, and I should have been happy. It almost made me feel like an ungrateful bitch for wanting what I did, which was not here. I was still Leah: just Leah, Seth’s sister, Jake’s right hand, the Beta. It was always somebody’s someone, never my own, whatever that might have been. I longed for that ‘my own’, even if it might be small and insignificant to others.
That letter was my own. Harvard was my own.
So why was it hiding under the bed and not lying on the table, or framed on a wall? Why was I still Leah, somebody’s someone, and not in the process of becoming Leah, her own? For the life of me, I could not figure out.
I completed some entries in the register and tended to some people who came in. A cursory glance at the couch near the fireplace told me that May was fast asleep, and grateful for the rest. I looked at the clock in the rush, and found out it was already noon. Janie, my colleague started from one. I had still an hour to go, and I had to go the Cullens after work. Seth had all but demanded Esme to bake him a chocolate cake. I was the one who had been charged with the duty to pick it up. Such a fill-in-the-blank head my brother was.
Even though I knew the Cullens loved me company, I tried to keep my visits down to a minimum. Jacob and I had different ideas about what constituted as hospitality. It wasn’t like I didn’t like spending time with them: I was just not a people person. The entire happy family scenario (even though it was genuine) got too much for me after a while. And things were strained to say in the least nowadays.
Mark and Katherine were having a visitor: a vampire named Alistair. Apparently, he was the one who had deserted Carlisle in the time of need. I didn’t have a clear idea because I had never seen him. The time spent in preparing for the battle with the Volturi had been spent patrolling and in seclusion by me. Things had been different then.
Alistair was Mark’s brother of sorts, and wanted to see his babies. Well, talk about double standards. The one thing that had driven him away from the Cullens earlier was the reason of his arrival now. Everyone was tensed and curious about what would happen in the next few hours. I didn’t plan on staying over at the Cullens today. I just wanted to rush in and pick up Seth’s goddamn cake and come back into town.
The hour passed fairly quickly, or it seemed so to me because of all the rush that was in the bookstore. Too bad May was sleeping: she would have been delighted at the population surge in the category of Literature Deficient People. Janie, a five feet six inches tall spitfire with curly red hair came in for her afternoon shift at one. We exchanged pleasantries and before I knew it, I said goodbye to May in her sleep and was on my way.
Seth called while I was driving.
I rolled my eyes, “What do you want Seth?”
“Are you off yet?”
I smiled involuntarily at his childish ways, “Yes, Seth, I’m off. And before you ask, I’m driving to the Cullen’s Mansion as we speak.”
I heard a soft prayer to God and laughed, “You’re crazy, Seth. Don’t worry. I’ll get you your cake.”
“Thanks Leah. And while you’re at it, get me some nachos from the store.”
“Lazy.” I grumbled, “Fine, but you’re picking up the groceries then. Tomorrow.”
He hung up before I could warn him again, and I had a premonition as to who would be picking up groceries tomorrow.
I turned into the Cullen’s driveway five minutes later, and saw that there was a black Mercedes right in the back. Alistair must be here already, then. I did a mental analysis of the situation inside, and figured that ten minutes was more than enough time to stay. Then. I would rush in, get the cake and be off.
I walked up to the house with hesitant steps like always. There was, I believe, some rush inside. Voices. Loud, angry voices. I strained my ears. Yup, definitely angry.
What the hell?
My hesitant walk turned into a mad run as I rushed up the stairs and threw the door open. Where there had been muffled sounds of an argument were now the clear, unmistakable tones of a fight.
“I’m not letting him near my babies, Mark. Ever!” I saw Katherine standing in front of a doorway: the one that led to the kids’ rooms.
“Katherine! What the hell is wrong with you?! He’s my brother!” Mark screamed at her, and my eyes turned to the back of a figure, standing demurely in a corner. Alistair.
“I don’t care! He’s a monster! How can you even let him be here after what he did to us?!”
“He said he’s sorry! Are you deaf?!”
“They’re all lies!”
“Katherine! Get the hell away from the doorway, or so help me God . . .”
“You will what? You choose him over me! Is that what it’s come to?!”
All right, it was getting out of hand. Katherine and Mark never fought like this, not in front of people. Everyone else seemed to have realized the same thing I did, and the figure standing in the corner moved first.
“Mark, it’s all right. I can . . .”
Oh, God. That voice.
Blood boiled under my skin, but it wasn’t a painful experience. It was like frenzy, a mania. A giggle ran through the red inside me, all over me. That voice . . . I could not register the mumbo jumbo that came out of Mark’s mouth after that, but I heard clearly what the voice spoke, in cadences as sweet as a river of honey, sweet and thick, flowing with ebbs and lows and curves and meanders through the woods and around me.
“Mark, this is not the way. She doesn’t want this. There is nothing like a furious mother.”
It was like sunshine to me, that voice of the figure. It was like drinking a hot cup of chocolate in the dead of winters, with my feet inside a blanket and my arms warming up from the feel of the drink. It was like the cold respite of rains after a long, dry winter. It was like . . . like the raw, hoarse, menacing tone of sexual prowess.
I didn’t know how and when my legs moved, but it was out of control as I ended up behind the figure and reached out to him, turning him toward me so I could look at the owner of the most enthralling tones I had ever heard.
My legs almost crumbled under the impact of his stare: red, raw, bloody in the literal, but so passionate, painful and confused, like he was running from the same thing I was. His emotions were the subdued undercurrents in a violent sea storm: one you only feel but never see.
The world blacked out of my vision until it just illuminated him: His tall frame, blood red windows to his soul, his lips, and his short cropped hair. My soul and body stretched, like a thread, but didn’t break, as if a knot had been tied in the middle to keep it hanging. Blood rushed to my heart in a violent surge, almost mutilating me with the rebellion that was raging against the very logical, but very weak part of my brain. The world collapsed until it focused just on one point: him. His eyes, his voice, his face, his soul. The cold and yet warm planes of his biceps, and the fire burning within me, that I wished would somehow touch him. Alistair.
The only man I would ever love.
Author’s note: I know, I know people that I am very, very late with this entry. But, I promise you, I am back for good. I have not abandoned you people. College is keeping me very busy, and as you all might know, life isn’t always peachy for all of us. Let’s just say the past two months have been grueling both mentally and physically. I have shared and mended and have been broken a lot, and am still in the process. But I promise you, whatever the deal, you people will always be in my heart.
P.S. Shocked? I’ll tell you everything in the next one! Tell me how you like it!
My personal twitter Here (which will have a lot of crap about food and random things and intermittent outbursts of passion for Robert Pattinson. You have been warned.)