today, I was so inspired (and, also, tickled pink at the fact that the main character and I share the same name) that I put off studying for finals and dashed something off. Tell me if you like - or if you think anything of it at all, actually. Concrit always welcome.
Disclaimer: So incredibly not mine. Also, title and end quote from Dylan Thomas.
Notes: Probably terrible, since it was written between my two hardest finals (oh, calculus, french, why must you torture me so?). Much thanks to the wonderful
for her amazing, fic-inspiring work - which, as some of you may know, has been a big issue with me lately.
“Hey, Dad,” she says, hair falling in her face, one arm clutching at a fraying duffel. “Long time no see.”
“Yeah,” he says, and she’s too busy fiddling with the bag to look up. “A lot’s happened since Christmas.”
“Tell me about it,” she says. “Back then, I could still pretend this thing was holding together.”
No response. She hears the wheelchair creak and knows he’s about to turn back to the TV.
“Where’s Jake?” she asks, still trying to make the duffle last just a little bit longer. “He too grown up to say hi to his big sister?”
The creaking stops. She looks up, and sees the strangest look on her father’s face, equal parts pity and fear.
“He’s gone,” Billy says.
The strap breaks.
She goes to Forks.
She doesn’t know why, except she does, and it’s because she needs to be somewhere else, anywhere else, and she’s not in the mood for a happy tourist trap like Port Angeles.
There’s a boy on the side of the road, halfway to the Safeway, his blond hair plastered to his forehead by the rain, a plastic bag full of papers slung over his arm.
She watches as he stops by a telephone pole and starts nailing up a flyer, a neon warning amidst the gray-green haze of the town.
She slows the car, curious, and he looks up.
Before she knows what she’s doing, Rachel is rolling down the car window and asking what he’s doing.
The boy jogs over, and she realizes that he’s not a boy at all, not really, more or less her age, caught in that hazy state just after high school when all the old ways of separating time no longer apply.
“I’m putting up posters,” he says. “We’re looking for someone.”
She smiles, but suddenly she feels cold.
“Friend of yours?”
He shrugs. “Yeah. We had a lot in common.”
“It’s cool of you to do this.”
“Yeah,” he says again, pushing his hair back from his face.
He grins at her, and she knows what he’s seeing. A pretty girl, a nice girl, one who stops random do-gooders at the side of the road just to congratulate them on a job well-done. A girl like Rebecca, she thinks, and shies away from that thought.
“I’m Mike,” he tells her. “Mike Newton.”
The name is familiar, but it takes her a moment to get it.
“Newton’s Outfitters?” she asks, the germ of an idea taking root.
“Yep. I’m headed back for lunch in a few minutes, er, if you want to come.”
She should say no, she knows she should.
Lunch with Mike is fun. Sandwiches, a couple cans of soda, bad jokes.
They raid the back room for his mom’s secret stash of chocolate (“She’s too busy dieting to eat it.”). It’s the good stuff, the kind Billy used to get Mom every Valentine’s Day, and Rebecca would always steal two pieces of just for us.
Mike grabs a racket from the shelves, reenacts old gym classes. His partner was impossible, apparently, and she howls with laughter as he pretends to clip himself in the head.
In other words, everything is perfect.
There is a stack of flyers by the cash register, the face familiar even in black and white stares up at her. She looks away and finds Mike’s gaze on her.
“I never asked,” he says. “What’s your name?”
Half an hour later, her car is equipped with a sleeping bag, four maps of the Washington-Canada border, and emergency flares.
“Good luck,” Mike says.
It’s too late. Her car is already speeding along the road, his words lost in the dust behind her.
She has been driving for hours.
She is all the way in Delta when the call comes.
“Rachel, come home.”
“Is Jacob there?” she asks.
A pause. Then –
“Then I still have work to do.”
Billy sighs, long and loud, a sound with a thousand childhood memories attached to it, and despite herself she can feel the old desire to please rise up within her.
“Rach, there’s nothing you can do. This doesn’t involve you.”
Just like that, she’s back to normal.
“He’s my brother.”
The phone clicks shut.
She spends the first two days combing the major cities. Victoria, Vancouver, Burnaby, all fall away from her list.
Rachel keeps asking herself where she would go if she was Jacob, what she would want to do.
It is only after checking every AutoParts in the province (maybe more, maybe less) that she realizes –
She doesn’t know what Jacob would want anymore.
(Truth is, that sentence should go more like this:
She doesn’t know Jacob anymore.)
A week passes, then two.
She is surprised at how quickly she has adapted, by now used to making her bed in the back seat of the car, sneaking into gyms and empty hotel rooms to shower, the sight of open road and empty forest becoming familiar. She’s running out of money, though, has been living off of the small fund she’d set aside for a week-long trip to San Jose, and when that’s gone she’ll have to head home, Jacob or no Jacob.
She can get a job, she thinks. Waitress in a diner; she passed one a few miles back. Scrape together enough money to continue looking, interrogate patrons during the day.
In the back of her mind, she hears her father’s voice, remembers the chaos Becca had caused when she’d turned down college to marry.
I guess dropping out is the fashion, she thinks, and revs the engine.
The envelope appears in her car the next morning, square in the middle of the front seat, the handwriting on it old-fashioned and unfamiliar.
Find him, she reads.
She tilts it upside down, curious.
The flood of money covers the seat.
Rachel remembers –
(a Christmas tree laden in paper ornaments, a lopsided popsicle stick picture frame, a decrepit teddy bear shoved out of sight under a huge bed)
It is harder, now. They’ve all drifted so far apart; it seems like they’ve been like this forever, separate entities connected by that one, powerful word. Memories of the old days, as she thinks of them now, are odd, tinted in sepia tones like they belong to someone else.
Idly, she wonders when they stopped calling each other.
Then she thinks, when did calling become the same thing as caring.
Sam Uley and his gang of council approved misfits won’t stop calling her.
Leave off, Rachel, they say. He’s fine. He needs timespaceroomtobreathe.
Shut up, she wants to tell them. I’m his sister.
It scares her sometimes, in the moments after she hangs up, how much she has missed. Where is the boy-brother she remembers, all long hair and giant smiles?
She’s jealous, she knows, of these outsiders (they may be family, they may be friends, but they are not family, aren’t Blacks, aren’t part of that strangewonderfulfrightening emotion that fills her heart whenever she thinks of Jake, or Becca, or even Dad). Why does everyone think that they know better than she does?
“He’s my brother.”
She says it out loud, again, speaking to the dashboard as if it’ll understand.
The next day she tells Sam Uley to quit calling and get off his damn high horse or she’ll shove it up his ass.
She feels a lot better after that.
Even in northern Canada, summer brings with it warmth, hot nights, sweet breezes.
Rachel curls in the back seat of car, covered in her sleeping bag, unaware that 1500 miles away her sister was thinking of her, that 300 miles away a boy with too-long blond hair was dreaming of her, that just outside her car two people were whispering about her.
“You should go home,” one says, her white face inhumanly luminous in the moonlight.
The other shakes his head. His hair flops into his face.
“There’s nothing stopping you.”
The boy doesn’t say anything, and in that silence there is a skepticism so deep-rooted that it can only come from a teenager.
“Then say something,” the other says, undeterred.
Jacob frowns, his eyebrows slanting down in a V.
“Did he put you up to this?” his voice turning fierce.
The woman tosses her head, dismissive.
“Say hello to your sister,” she says.
In the blink of an eye, she is gone, a white shape in the darkness.
Jacob sighs, his hands shoved deep into his pockets, and in that one section he looks so young.
He raises one fist, taps on the window, his inhuman vision able to easily pick out the shape of his sister behind the dark glass. He sees her sit up, hair in one long tangle around her face, feels a twinge of some long-forgotten emotion as he watches her scrabble at her face with the back of one hand. How many times has he seen her do that, he wonders, and how long has it been?
He knows the exact moment she’s spotted him and he expects her to be afraid. She should be afraid, he’s a huge man looming over her car in the darkness, and his mouth etches into faint lines of disapproval as she immediately unlocks the car and flings the door open.
“Where have you been?” she breathes, and just like that, things fall into place, months of awkwardness and heartbreak and boundary lines erased between them.
His mouth falls open in a grin, twisted, raw, a gleam of white teeth in the darkness.
“Well, there was this girl,” he begins, and they both crawl back into the car for this bedtime story.
Two pairs of eyes glow golden in the darkness, watching the siblings from the shadow of a nearby wood, every word perfectly audible to their ears.
“Are you happy now?” Tanya asks.
He doesn’t answer, but she is nothing if not persistent.
“I don’t see why you’re doing this, anyway,” she says. “By all accounts, you should want him gone. Rosalie told me all about that juvenile little feud you had with him.”
“Because Irina’s behavior was so much better?”
Tanya stiffens, her spine going rigid.
“That was different,” she snaps, her voice hard.
It doesn’t matter what she says, she knows that. He already knows about the flood of white-hot anger that rises within her whenever she thinks of that; of Laurent, her sister, the way they were willing to abandon their dearest friends and how she still doesn’t feel guilty about it.
A smirk curves across his face, a perfect double-bow. She has the incredible urge to slap him, though it would do no harm to him. Old habits die hard.
“Was it?” he murmurs.
“Go back to Bella, Edward,” she says. Her voice is hard as diamonds and just as beautiful. His fingers twitch. “We both know her…pet, is not.”
Anger clouds his features, but it is too late. Tanya is gone, her hair streaming behind her in a wave of pale gold, a bright glow in the darkness.
He pivots back into place, casting one more look to the small car, able to pick out the dark shapes of the Black siblings hunched against the glass, before turning away. The sun is going to come up soon, and he needs to be back in Forks before Bella can suspect anything.
Love is the last light spoken.