Disclaimer: I own nothing related to the Twilight Saga. These are Stephenie Meyer's characters, and no copyright infringement is intended, now, or at any time in the future, near or far.
In this chapter, Bella finds out that she has been rescued by an angel who possesses an unexpected talent...
Chapter 2: The Angel's Digs
It was already late afternoon when I set out. No one figured that I would actually attempt to leave. I didn't think it would be that hard - this wasn't a maximum security prison, but only a juvenile detention hall. My lawyer had told me that he was doing everything he could to prevent me being tried as an adult.
I had a forged pass, as well as a set of regular clothes, thanks to the mother of one of the kids, who had actually believed my story. She had sent her daughter some clothes, including some extra ones for me. The jeans looked new, the sneakers were a little bit broken in, and the T-shirt was the nicest part of my "nice-teen-girl ensemble" - it sported a cute teddy bear with an armful of roses. I actually felt human again.
I wouldn't want to bore anybody out there with the details of my life. Because my life is just a big nothing. That's just the way it is. But people might wonder what made me consider suicide an option. Somebody's bound to read this journal, sometime in the future.
No one would have thought that I would be considered a murderer. Sure, he did cheat on me. Then he denied that he was involved with her at all. To top things off, he broke off our engagement in a text message. What a coward! He deserved nothing but contempt, at the very least. But murder? That's just not me. Not at all. Hell. I couldn't even bring myself to kill a mouse, when I saw one once, running across the dirty linoleum floor of an abandoned tenement I had hidden out in, while they were looking for me.
So tonight I was going to put an end to all the garbage that was my life. No one wanted me, and I knew I wanted nobody. I appreciated the gesture by my friend's mother, but doubted she would continue to be nice to me once the conviction came through. I had no one to put up the bail money, so I was at the hall, awaiting trial.
The guard at the exit barely looked at my fake pass, and soon I was through the gates, standing outside. I breathed a sigh of relief. This was due to my friend's mother, as well, I knew. She had bribed the guard.
I didn't care about being caught, because my purpose in escaping was simply to put an end to my life. After all, I had nothing to look forward to. Although this was a local crime, where could I go?. I would be a fugitive. Anyone who did some digging into my background would be sure to find out that I was an accused murderer. Who would hire me? What school could I possibly attend? And, last but definitely not least, what man in his right mind would be crazy enough to marry me, let alone have a romantic relationship with me? No man would want to risk being killed by the vicious, cold-blooded, Elizabeth Perkins Swan.
I had always liked my mother's maiden name, in spite of the dim memories I had of her - all of them unpleasant. So, I had decided to use the name "Isabella Swan", should I ever need to. I had some familiarity with Italian people, having grown up in the Bronx. That name had always made me think of romantic gondola rides, while nestled in the strong arms of my true love. The name "Elizabeth", while pretty, was the name of my abused self. Now this didn't matter anymore. Whether I was "Elizabeth" or "Isabella" wouldn't matter, once they found - or perhaps didn't find - my lifeless body.
I tied up my sneakers tight. I was going to be doing some heavy walking before I met my doom. I had calmly given my pass to the guard on duty, and was allowed to step outside, to a freedom that would not delight me. I sought the ultimate freedom. I was ridding the world of my unwelcome presence.
Hey, so okay, I like to feel sorry for myself. Wouldn't you, in similar circumstances?
Then I began to walk, toward the bay. I would find the bridge. That became my goal. The bridge. One jump, and, since I never did learn to swim properly, that would do it. Perhaps the tide would pull me out to sea, if I was lucky. If not, then there were would be no doubt that the case was permanently closed. I no longer cared about trying to clear my name. I had spent most of my life trying to justify myself, and it simply hadn't worked. Why would this situation be any different?
I didn't want to have to go through the trial. I knew I would probably be judged as an adult. I was nearly eighteen, after all. No one would believe me - the circumstantial evidence was just too strong. So I would then have to look forward to years and years of imprisonment, if not life. I shuddered. I had heard the usual stories of what really goes on in prisons...
Swallowing an entire bottle of aspirin never occurred to me. That was not an easy thing to get at the juvenile hall, though. Hanging myself with bed sheets? Nope. They had thought of everything. There were no bed sheets on the worn mattresses - only threabare blankets. As for eating utensils, they were all plastic, and we were still searched for those, on a daily basis.
I liked the bridge idea. I would make a splash, all right, then hopefully disappear into oblivion.
Frowning, I realized I had forgotten the type of neighborhood I would have to cross on my way to the bridge. I was on foot, of course. I had decided against taking the bus. I just didn't want to be with people who had fairly normal lives. Well, maybe one of the neighborhood undesirables would save me the trouble of going all the way to the bridge.
I had been walking for some time when I met him. Night had gradually fallen, although I had no notion of time. It must have been pretty late by the time he found me. Winos and crackheads had leered at me, and I had kept walking, indifferent to them. I was on a mission to find this bridge, you see. It shouldn't have surprised me when I stumbled. I simply picked myself up and moved on. These streets were very poorly lit, and my lifelong klutziness sure didn't help. I should have turned around and gone back the way I had come, but what was there for me to go back to?
And then I fell down. A dim memory came to me as I hit the concrete sidewalk. My mother, hauling me up by one hand, slapping me hard across the face for falling down, for being so clumsy. Hell, for just existing.
I felt hands picking me up. Gentle hands. They supported me carefully, as if I would break. I looked up, and met his eyes. They were deep black, and they mesmerized me. I couldn't focus very well at first - I had never seen such a breathtakingly beautiful guy. Then I smiled. I had been walking in some sort of daze, just focused on that damn bridge. But then the power of his eyes snapped me out of it, and I had to smile at the irony of things. Here I was, on a mission to end my life, and an angel from heaven appeared. Well, it was too funny! Why would an angel abandon his holy green pastures and stoop to earth to rescue someone like me?
No, I wasn't hallucinating. This guy had to be an angel. He didn't seem interested in attacking my body, whether sexually or violently. Wow. Now that was a first. Yeah, he had to be from the next world, although those hands holding me felt very real.
Half-seriously, I asked him if he was in the habit of rescuing hopeless people. He reacted as if I had spoken in a foreign language, because he repeated the word, "hopeless", as if he hadn't understood it. I wanted to go on my way. I tried to shrug him off, but he persisted, telling me that I shouldn't be walking in this neighborhood alone, at this hour of the night. Yeah, yeah. Tell me something I don't already know.
I really couldn't understand why he bothered to scare off those three dudes that came up to us, clutching knives in their hands.
Before the night was over, I discovered, to my surprise, that I was going home with him. He didn't really ask, just slung me on his back, telling me to hang on. I made my muscles obey him, wrapping my arms around his neck, and my legs around his waist. I closed my eyes tightly, and we were off.
Well, you meet all types, I guess. What an interesting way to travel. Live and learn, for sure. Only I was so tired of living and learning...
As I opened my eyes, I could tell that I was lying on a mattress. Then I shifted slightly, and noticed how very comfortable this mattress was. It was much too comfortable, in fact. I rolled my eyes around the room, gingerly turning my head to the left, then to the right. The pillow was very comfortable, too. The room was dimly lit, but I could tell that it was daylight, although there were heavy, burgundy-colored drapes on all the windows, and they were drawn. The room was large. I began to notice, as my eyes roamed around it. The furniture was very modern; in fact, it was obviously expensive. Everything was a warm sienna tone - the dresser, the two night tables, and the desk and chair by the window. An intricately carved, paneled sculpture dominated one wall, which was painted in a golden shade of yellow, just like the other walls. I wasn't up on the latest trends, but I was familiar with the work of Louise Nevelson. One of my foster mothers had sold art in a New York gallery, and I had seen pieces by Nevelson from time to time, not to mention other sculptures by more recent artists. There were performance artists also, but those didn't appeal to me. This piece was wonderful, and it looked authentic. I smiled wryly. So my strange rescuer was an art collector. More and more interesting...
The temperature in the room was very nice, too. Not too cold, not too warm. Just perfect, in fact. Still, I had been covered by a comforter, a luxuriously thick, huge thing, with a solid bright blue background on which stars of various shapes and sizes seemed to have been sprinkled. For some reason, I looked up at the high ceiling, only to find that it, too, was sprinkled with stars. The background was cobalt blue, making me think that the ceiling was actually an open window to the universe. I smiled in spite of my inner despair.
I simply lay there for a few minutes, going over the events that, up until a few minutes ago, had seemed to be a dream. I knew I was awake, although on second thought, I told myself maybe I wasn't. This whole scenario seemed to be the stuff of New Age visualizations. It couldn't be real...of course it couldn't be. I could never hope to have such a nice room, in my real life.
The sweet, poignant notes of the Debussy came softly through the door at first, then got a little louder. That was one of my favorite pieces - again, thanks to the gallery foster mother. Too bad she had gotten so bored with me so fast. I could have really picked up more culture from her. I did show her two or three poems once, but she accused me of copying them from somewhere, and wouldn't believe that I had written them myself, no matter how much I insisted that I had.
I savored the melody, the flowing chords, picturing swans paddling elegantly across a placid lake, on a late Sunday afternoon, as the sun's rays warmly caressed the cool water. I sat at the edge of the lake, my head in my true love's lap, watching the clouds skidding across a brilliant blue sky. That was part of the reason I wanted to kill myself. I was always imagining beautiful, romantic scenarios, torturing myself with dreams that would never really take place. Nothing good ever happened to me.
"Are you awake yet?" A young man's voice came from the adjoining room. Startled out of my impromptu fantasy, I leaned on one elbow, wondering if I should try to get up.
So this was no dream, after all. Interesting.
He suddenly appeared in the doorway, wearing a ragged old T-shirt splattered with paint, and faded jeans that were also splattered with paint. To top it all off, he wore a huge grin. His eyes, however, made me feel uneasy. They were very, very black, very ominous-looking.
"Did you sleep well?" he asked, leaning on the doorjamb, arms crossed. He shifted his eyes to look around the room. I could tell he was trying to avoid my curious gaze.
Silence from me. I literally could not speak. The sight of him was almost painful to my eyes. He was unbearably gorgeous. No. That just doesn't cover it. Words failed me. I had thought he was an angel last night, and then decided, upon awakening, that such an impression must have been the product of a morbid imagination. I was on my way to the next world, after all. The reality of him standing there did nothing to alter my impression of the night before, though. He was an angel incarnate, a denizen of the heavens above, and no mistake. His physical beauty contrasted strongly with his disheveled, stained clothes.
"Well, I see that my appearance has rendered you speechless," he said, in that beautiful, melodious voice of his. Was there anything about him that was not beautiful? Even his manner of speaking was beautiful. Somewhat old-fashioned, but beautiful. He was speaking like someone out of an English novel. Yes, that was it. I felt like Jane Eyre meeting her Mr. Rochester, except that this guy was not much older than me, from the looks of it. He was probably a model for some glitzy New York magazine. Or maybe one in South Beach. That would account for his excellent taste in art. He was obviously a very succesful model.
"Ah, but I am a terrible host!" He bounded into the room, and I couldn't help but smile at his irrepressible energy. "You must be terribly hungry! Come on, let me get you something to eat."
He held out an arm, and I stared up at him. He was grinning from ear to ear. His eyes remained a marked contrast to his wonderful smile, though. I felt funny for a moment. I couldn't help but smile back. Relax, Bella, he's a sweetheart. It was surprisingly refreshing to be greeted with such cheerfulness just after waking up. He totally disarmed me. He was sort of like a big, happy, kid. At least, he seemed to be. Maybe I needed to be careful, though. My smile faded. Maybe I should wait for the other shoe to drop. He still held out his arm. So, I sat up, and laid a hand on his arm, with the intention of swinging my legs to the side of the bed.
At the contact with his arm, I let out a yelp. It was ice cold.
I looked up at him, and he frowned. "Yes, I know," he said, his voice taking on a tinge of sadness. "I take medication for that, but I'm not due again for a couple of hours. It's worn off by now."
I didn't know whether to believe him or not, but I did have to get up. So I gritted my teeth, and stood up. I swayed a bit for a moment, but he steadied me with his other hand. Then he escorted me into the adjacent room, exactly as if he were walking into a ballroom.
My jaw dropped as we crossed the threshold into the room. It was huge, with high, wood-beamed ceilings. One wall, painted electric blue, had floor-to-ceiling windows, although these, too, were covered, by those same burgundy drapes, huge ones, too. Dozens of paintings were stacked along two other walls, which were painted in the same bright blue. In the middle of the room stood a very large painting-in-progress. Three easels accommodated it. Next to the painting, there was a medium-sized wooden table, loaded with several small plastic pots, a large glass palette, more than a dozen jars of paint, and more plastic pots full of brushes of all types.
I looked at him, and he was still grinning.
"You like it? I have a one-man show coming up soon, and I'm working like mad to finish it. I thought only corporate types had to worry about such things as deadlines, but I was totally wrong. Once you become succesful at anything, you invariably get invaded by those disgusting deadlines."
I still couldn't speak. Not only was my rescuer an angel, but an amazingly talented artist, as well, if I had learned anything at all from my artistically-inclined foster mother.