The Underside of Earth - Chapter 2
Bella POV

I feel like I am watching everything from the underside of Earth. I am surrounded by a window of glass, and I can see everything happening above and around me, but I don’t move through that world anymore. I’m not a part of it. I float in my own realm where only I exist, along with my pain.

Time is slow here, like I am moving through viscous water. I try to move faster, but when I do, the memories resurface, so it is best to just go slow. I let the water set my pace. So what if I’m slow? Nothing really matters; I can’t find my purpose. It is almost as if I am locked under the surface, looking up at what I can’t break through. I’m supposed to emerge and breathe. I don’t know if I can, or if I want to.

God, I feel as though I am suffocating; the world that I can’t touch and be a part of crushes me. Every day, I feel myself floundering just a little bit more; unable to take the next step forward, only backward. Always backward.

Like these scars that I have, my daily reminders of what I have lost, and that the loss is my fault. Everyday the pull me back one step further.

Along the outside of my right arm is a long, white scar that travels from just below my elbow and up to the ball of my shoulder. This one is from the broken glass of my passenger window that sliced right into me; I had thrown my arm up to protect my head and the glass had shattered from the force of the collision. The one large piece went right into my arm and caused quite a bit of damage. For a while they worried that I would never be able to work again. Then there are a few on my legs, but those are mainly scars from fragments of glass, they look like little white scratches that never go away.

The scar on my stomach was probably the ugliest, and the hardest to deal with. There is a crescent moon scar about six inches long that rests along the left side of my belly button. The skin there is relatively smooth for there being a scar, but the scar itself is puckered in a few places from the quick stitching they had to do on it. Sometimes, in my nightmares, the scar opens up and beetles fly out of it.


I jump, startled out of my head at the calling of my name.

“I’m in the kitchen, Em.” I shout to my big brother.

Emmett walks in with his wife, Rosalie. He gives me a hug and steps back, not saying anything.

Rose kisses me on the cheek. "Hi Sweetie." She says quietly, soothing.

I swallow thickly. She calls me sweetie all the time, but today, the endearment is too much.

"You guys can go make yourselves comfortable. I'll be there in a second." I say, and they quickly shuffle out of the kitchen; I can tell that it is going to be a tense visit.

Emmett is my big brother, and by big, I mean big as in older and huge. He was a linebacker in college for ASU and was quite a star. He played all four years, got his degree and now runs his own successful business. He is six years older than me, but has never acted like it, until he met Rose. But even after they were married, it still wasn’t enough to take the child out of him. Last year’s events did sober him up a little bit, though.

Rose is the sister I never had. When Em first introduced us, I had to mentally roll my eyes. She was such the stereotypical girl Emmett always dated, but she was the first he bothered introducing to me. Rose is beautiful, a bodacious blond. All the women that Emmett had dated in the past that he actually told me about were the same kind of women. They all turned out to be superficial Barbies, so of course, I automatically thought the same about Rose. I am not a judgmental person, but I knew Emmett's type so I thought I had her pegged. I was so wrong about Rose; she is vibrant and feisty and just my kind of friend and sister. We got along after a few awkward moments of smelling each other out. I adore her, and she is the sweet to my brother’s stink…so to speak.

“Jeez Bells, I knocked forever and even yelled your name a few times before finally using my key. Everything alright, kiddo?" Emmett yelled from the living room just as I walked in and leaned against the doorjamb.

“I’m fine. Dozed off in the chair for a bit,” one of his eyebrows goes up, but I roll my eyes, hoping that he will drop it. To my relief, he does.

“Can I get you guys something to drink?” I ask, wanting to be polite and to also keep my hands busy.

“I’ll take a beer Bells,” Emmett replies. Of course he will, even at eleven in the morning on a Tuesday.

“Iced tea, if you have any made.” Rose says, looking at me, but quickly turns her gaze to the window.

I muster a weak smile, “Don’t I always?”

A sad look comes over Rose's face, but she nods. I have to swallow back my sob. Crying won’t bid well for me right now, especially this early in the day and not with Em and Rose here. If I start now, they won’t leave me alone for the rest of the day, hell, the rest of the week for that matter.

Jake loved iced tea, and if we had an hour or two of sunshine, there would be sun tea for us to enjoy. Jake did that, so I haven’t had sun tea in well over a year.

I can’t help but think about Rose as I head into the kitchen to get their drinks and some tea for myself. Too bad I don’t have a little whiskey to add to it. I'm going to need it today.

I haven’t seen that look on Rose’s face for some time. She was pretty close to Jake too. Jake, rose and Emmett had their love for cars in common, and Emmett did too; I can barely remember how many arguments there were about engines and which older muscle car is better, between them all. I stayed out of them, not knowing much about cars at all, but they made me laugh. They all got so heated and defensive about their favorites.

Other than the first day I saw Rose after the accident, the only other time I saw that look on her face was shortly before she and Em got married. She had been having a tough time, and Emmett couldn’t get her to open up. He asked me for help and so I arranged for Jake to go out with Emmett and for Rose to spend the night with me. It was a bad night and we both ended up crying for a long time.

Before Emmett, Rose had been with some uppity bastard named Royce King. His daddy had money, an oil tycoon, which made Royce believe he owned the world, or close to it. She said that for a while, things were great between them. Royce was a gentleman and bought her things and treated her like royalty. He took her places and enjoyed some of the same things she did. He indulged her passion of fast cars and he was attentive. After a while, things started to change between them. Royce started to get a bit aggressive with her, and his temper would take quick, unexpected turns. After they had been together for eight months, Royce asked Rose to marry him, and she said yes. She thought that he was just having a tough time and things were turning around. She was wrong. He became possessive and would strike her. The final straw was when pushed her down a flight of stairs and she ended up breaking three of her ribs and her wrist. At the bottom of the stairs, he raped her, twice, and then left to go drink with his friends. When she was able to, she ran from the house, but was in so much pain that she passed out two blocks from her apartment. That is where Emmett found her, just outside his auto body shop.

She didn’t tell Emmett what had truly happened to her, even with the wedding coming up. She worried that it would scare him away. That night that he found her unconscious he took her to the emergency room and never left her side. The next day when she woke up, she told him that she fell down the steps of her apartment. Emmett told me about the whole situation long after I had met her and that he hadn’t believed her, but she was a virtual stranger then, so he didn’t say anything. She would tell him someday if they knew each other long enough.

She told me first, but I understood why, and so did Emmett. She told me what happened over nachos and tequila and we cried until our eyes were dry. She said that it was the weakest she had ever been in her life. She had trusted Royce and loved him, and he kicked her around like trash and violated her. A part of her died that night, but a new part was also born. She was afraid of Emmett for a while after that, not just because of his size, but because he was a man. She got over it quickly though; he was always watching out for her and calling her. It was the little things that he did for her that eventually broke her down and made her realize that he was a man of worth and that he wouldn't ever hurt her. She couldn’t understand what he would want with her, but he was in love with her, and what happened to her made him want to take care of her all the more. It didn’t take her long to love him back, and the rest is history. They are perfect. I couldn’t have created a better couple.

I re-enter the living room to see Emmett kneeling in front of Rose; they appear to be deep in conversation. I clear my throat to announce my presence and they immediately stop talking, Rose is pink-cheeked. Emmett moves back over to the recliner and I hand him his beer and turn to Rose, giving her the glass of iced tea.

I don't like the look of her flushed cheeks. Rose isn’t easily embarrassed. She almost looks mortified, or guilty. Why would she feel guilty?

With barely a pause, Rose clears her throat and is back to normal. “Bella, my cousin Jasper is coming into town this weekend and we are going out. We would love it if you could join us?” She finishes the sentence in a question, unsure.

My eyes go wide and I can feel my heart begin to speed up at the implication of her trying to set me up with someone.

“Oh God. No. I don’t mean like that. He’s married, well, engaged. Ugh, I’m stupid. He is bringing his fiance, Alice along with him. I just thought that it would be fun for you to meet them, and to get out. That’s all.” I rarely see Rosalie flustered, but as she explains herself, I calm a little bit.

“It’s okay, Rose, and thank you for clarifying. It’s just that…” I take a deep, cleansing breath and look up from my hands to her face and give a small smile. “Never mind. What do you have planned and for when?”

She looks to Emmett, a little shocked that I am even inquiring as to when they will be going out. I don’t go out anymore. I have no desire to. I don’t want to be social and meet new people. What’s the point? But I also know that if I don’t let Emmett know that I am alright, he is going to want to have a talk with me really soon. I really don’t want to go there.

Am I alright? No. I won’t ever be alright again, but I can’t let my big brother know that. It would crush him.

“OH, umm, this Saturday night. We are going out for supper at Titan and then bowling, for some reason. I guess Alice likes to bowl, which should be interesting. I guess it is a disco bowl and they serve alcohol there too. Some place in Seattle.”

“Seattle, huh? Well, I guess it wouldn’t hurt to get out for once. Meet some new people?” I can’t help the last part coming out as a question, I know that they would want for me to meet new people, but I have no desire to. I do my best to plaster a smile onto my face, “Besides, I’m not really sure I can miss Emmett disco bowling.” Out of the corner of my eye I see Emmett’s bottom jaw drop. Rosalie hisses at him, sounding like a cat, and he shuts his mouth.

“Fantastic. I’m so glad you’ll come. I think you will really like Alice. She’s ahh, energetic.” Rose eyes Emmett again, her eyebrow quirks up.

“Yeah, squirt it’ll be fun. I’m glad you’ll come with us. Do you want to ride with us? Pick you up say….five o’clock?” Emmett asks, beginning to bounce on his heels a little.

“Sure Em. That sounds good. Just call me that morning and let me know the plans a little more. Okay?” Maybe I can get sick and back out at the last minute tomorrow.

“Sounds good.”

They get up from their seats and head to the door.

“Bella, if Dad could be here, you know he would. You know he’s watching over you. So is Jake and..” Emmett says, his voice growing quiet and low.

Rosalie kicks him in the shin and he practically collapses. I feel tears beginning to build.

“You idiot. Shut your mouth.”

“Jeez Rose.” Emmett looks at me sheepishly, “Sorry sweetie.”

I nod at him but keep my eyes to the floor with the traitorous tears brimming high.

“O-kay! We gotta go. Emmett wants to go to the auto show in Port Angeles and you know how he cries when he doesn’t get his way.”

I look up to see Rose smiling at me, trying to get past the intense moment. And I love her for it all the more. They both give me quick, impersonal hugs so I won't cry and I walk them out.

“We’ll call you Saturday morning then, sweetie. Don’t forget, and don’t back out of this. It will be fun!” Rose chuckles and lifts one of her eyebrows at me, she somehow read my earlier thoughts.

“Sure, sure Rose. I’ll go. Talk to you soon.”

They get in their car and leave, and once again…I am alone.

I don’t want to sit at home and listen to my phone ring all day long. I refuse to even answer the phone; I don’t want to listen to all the sympathies that will spew out of the phone receiver. I just can’t do it. It's bad enough that I have to remember all of that pain, but then to hear people speak of it and to hear some of them cry. I can’t do it. If I do, I’ll break down all over again.

I head upstairs and to my bedroom to change out of the pajamas that I've been wearing for the last two days and quickly scrub my face and throw my ratty hair into a sloppy bun. With a fresh pair of jeans and a long sleeve tee on, I am quickly on my way out the door with purse in hand, pausing to turn on the answering machine. I lock the door behind me and drop into my car.


Port Angeles has a good library. The library in Forks isn’t bad, but the one in P.A. has a bigger selection and a few of the rare books I like. The drive takes me about an hour in the rain, but it's a nice, calming drive and I’m not really in a hurry. Once I find an open parking space and step out into the rain, I run inside through the downpour and head back to the classics section, steering clear of any of the romantics. I think today is a good day for Dante, the Inferno, maybe? Maybe I should skip on to the seventh circle to get to the good and gruesome parts. Paradise is still so far off for him at that point. I know how he feels, but at least he has the chance at paradise. I don’t. My paradise died.

I grab the book from the shelf and go to the corner that I like. It is in the back a bit where the older reference books are located; they don’t get much attention aside from a few from the older generation. It is quiet and a perfect place to just enjoy the peace and read. It doesn’t take long for me to get lost in his words.

There hasn’t been a summer day like this for a long time. The blue sky expands above me, with barely a cloud, which is unheard of around Forks. This could almost be more of a Phoenix sky. Looking around me, I see trees and the prairie grass and flowers are almost knee-high. I sit down with my legs crossed. My dress is ivory and flowy, I thought I had gotten rid of this dress, which is ridiculous since I love it. I hear my name being called, so I stand up and look around. There are trees surrounding the field, I feel safe, protected. Charlie would approve. I begin to walk, and the grasses are just tall enough that I am able to brush my palms against the grass, tickling me as I walk. The sun is gloriously warm, it almost feels like Phoenix, not that I remember Phoenix all that well.

I hear my name again. It is closer this time and I look around again. “Bella.”

It’s Jake calling for me. I smile and call to him but he doesn’t answer.

“Jake? Where are you?” I keep walking, this time toward the tree line, but still, I don’t see him. I turn around and head back to the center of the field, the grass still tickling my palms.

“Jake, this isn’t funny. I’m getting annoyed. Where are you?”

“Bella!” This time, Jake sounds worried and his voice is brittle; it frightens me.

“Jake! You’re scaring me. Where are you?”


I jump, waking myself up; forgetting where I am, I look around, confused. My chest is heaving and my face is wet with tears. I look down and see Dante’s Inferno on my lap.

“Miss, are you alright?”

I snap my head to my right to see an elderly lady looking at me, concern written on her face.

And then, I feel like I am just suffocating, trapped and the air has become so thick. I hear the blood pulsing through my ears and I am vaguely aware that I am running. My legs work of their own accord and carry me where they choose. But I run, and I keep running.

I barely notice the cold pricking of the early spring Washington rain splattering down on me. I don’t register its cold bite, or the water that immediately that immediately logged my shoes. I just follow where my legs carry me, in full panic mode.

I don’t notice the thoughts in my head. For the most part, I only notice the silence; I realize my vision had tunneled and there is a tinge of red in the periphery. My throat has opened up a bit more, but that just allows for the bile to come closer to the surface. I hear my breath panting out of me and notice that the rain has begun to come down a little harder. It doesn’t matter to me.

Doesn’t matter to me.

My feet leave the pavement to a much softer surface. It gives away easily and I have to work harder to maintain balance. Just then, my body can’t contain it, and I double over, vomiting the bile that was sitting in my throat. My legs begin to carry me again and after barely anytime at all, I feel the water.

Oh, the soothing water. If I could just be under the water, it would be even more silent. I like silence, like a blanket tightly wound around me.

The water is to my knees now and there is someone behind me, shouting loudly. I can't make out their words, but it makes no difference; my silence is so close. I move a little further into the water and feel the waves begin to lap at my waist, just below my scar. Just a bit further now, and all will be silent.

I really need silence.

I take a few more steps, with the person still shouting somewhere in the background and then I am under. Oh, the silence is so beautiful. Exquisite.

The silence does feel a bit cold, but I will warm up, and it's worth it. I can stay like this. In this silence, I can think of my Jakey and it doesn’t hurt. For once, the pain is gone and it is oh-so soothing, and the silence is that blanket I have been dreaming of.

But the silence is short lived, and I hear the whispering. The sound, a shush shush shush of a little boy’s voice.

Jakey, am I finally home?
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