"Hurry up, I'm bored of waiting," a strange voice speaks as I lift the phone from it's cradle.
Exasperated with this already rude individual, I breathe, "Hello, Cullen residence."
"Ah! The god of all bitches recorded the message. Smooth move. I bet no one would leave them a message if they knew they were talking to that ice queen. Crap, it must be recording. Sorry. Wait."
I'm growing to dislike this person more and more. How dare they judge me when they don't even know me. "This isn't our voicemail. Who is this?"
"Did you lose the script or something? What a strange thing to say. Eh, doesn't matter. On with the message. Hey bitch! How's the red underworld these days?! Anyway I'm not that interested in hearing about your perfect little life or actually talking to you in general, so if you could just pass on this message to your dick of a brother Eddieboy, that would be good." The words are so slurred that I can barely make them out, but beneath everything, there's a tone that I didn't think I'd ever be able to forget.
"Bella?" Surely it can't be?
"No, Bella is dead, you're stuck with me. Now are you gonna pass on my message or not?"
So it is her. What is going on? How did she find our number? Why on earth would she call us? Why would she say Bella is dead? Most importantly, why the hell is Bella drunk?
"Where are you?" I ask hoping that I can at least call Charlie if I need to. That girl is a danger to herself sober, let alone wandering around drunk and alone.
"Don't matter where I is queen bitch, just save the message alright. Even you must be able to follow that simple instruction…" Her words trail off and I wait in silence for her to continue. There is no way I am going to get into an argument with a drunken Bella. Either she wants my help or she doesn't. Eventually, her voice, slightly dreamlike now, starts speaking again. "Ooooo, the sky is so pretty. It's so big and wide and important. Where would we be without the sky?" Her voice very suddenly changes tone once again. "Damn it Rosalie! Stop distracting me! I'm supposed to be telling you the message."
"I didn't distract you, I didn't even say anything," I snap at her, fed up with her inability to hold a sensible conversation. "Do you know what sky you are looking at?" Even as I say it I realise that it's a stupid question. It must be daytime over in Forks and no way would a drunk Bella know the difference between the skies.
"The blue one." I gloat slightly as I'm proved right. This human really was weak. "Now, are you going to pass on my message or not? I'm writing it in my head right now. Do you think I should address it to Eduardo or Eddie or Eddieboy?"
"Why not just use Edward, you know, his name."
There's a hiss down the phone. Apparently she dislikes that idea. "That name is banned. No one is ever allowed to say that name. No, never again. You have the choice between Eduardo, Eddie or Eddieboy. Maybe I could call him Ed. A cross between all of them and easier to spell. Yes. That's a good name. Anyway, it doesn't matter. That copper-haired prick…. WAIT – is his prick hair copper too? He never let me look. I bet it is! That's funny! You could dip his prick in green paint and it would look like a carrot!" She starts laughing hysterically with the occasional snort thrown in. "No, that's the wrong way around Rosalie. Would need to be an orange prick with green hair. Damn it. I was hoping to feed him to the rabbits. Anyway, on with the message!"
I rub my forehead. Why am I the only one home?! Whipping my cell out, I text everyone asking them to come home immediately. I don't bother contacting Edward, we haven't heard anything from him in months.
"Yo! You still there? I know you think you're too high and mighty to speak to common peasants like me, but you really aren't –"
I cut her off before she can continue. "I'm still here. I'll even pass on the message if you tell me where you are."
"It doesn't matter where I am queen bitch. I've already told you, Bella is dead. You won't find her and there's nothing you or your pansy ass of a brother can do."
Realizing I'm getting nowhere with that train of questioning, I change my tactic, desperately hoping someone arrives soon. "How did Bella die?"
"Duh, she jumped off the La Push cliff. Come on woman, keep up with the papers would ya. As I was saying. Eddie needs to know something. I need you to pass on the message alright. He needs to know I'm ok. It's all good. He doesn't need to concern himself with me anymore, I'm in a better place."
As soon as I hear those words I'm speechless. She's planning to jump. She's going to kill herself over what my idiot of a brother did. I agreed with us leaving, but never at this cost. And her sincerity at the end, how could she say that?! How do I respond?
"I'll pass on the message for you, but can we talk some before you go?"
Using my cell, I start calling Carlisle's work, hoping they can patch me through to him.
"Why would you want to talk to me?"
"No reason specifically, but I'd like to talk nonetheless. Just for a little while?" Maybe if I can keep her talking it'll give someone a chance to get to her.
"Sure, not much to say though. Hey, I know, do you still have the broom pole up your ass?"
"No, Emmett removed it for me," I say, humouring her antics. Down the phone I can just make out what sounds like foot falls. She's pacing. "How about we sit for this chat?"
"Oooo, all prim and proper. Are you going to bring out the tea tray too?"
There's a thump. I don't know if she sat or fell, but at least she's now on the ground. Less chance of accidentally walking off the edge if she's sitting down.
Carlisle finally answers. "Rosalie, is everything alright?"
Putting the home phone on mute, I hurry to explain. "Bella is drunk and on a cliff edge, I need help. Please. I need to keep talking to her. Can you get home or get help or something?" I'm surprised by the panic in my voice. Do I really care about this girl? No, she's just a stupid human.
"I'll be there soon." He hangs up the phone and I return to Bella.
"Rooosaliieeee," Bella is singing rather off pitch.
"I'm here. I don't have any tea, and to be frank, I think those floating leaves are horrendous. I don't see how anyone could eat that crap." I try to keep my voice cool and detached. It wouldn't do for her, or anyone else, to even suspect I'm going soft.
She drifts off into silence. I can only imagine the thoughts running through her head. They must be similar to what I'd been thinking that night. Just desperation for all the pain to end. No, don't have sympathy for her. Remember, you don't care. Really, what pain had she been through? If she's struggling with a boyfriend breaking up with her, thank goodness that Edward stopped those men when she went to Port Angeles.
Thankfully, Carlisle takes that moment to run in. From the lack of car I know he's run at least part way from the hospital. I pass him the phone. "Get Charlie on the phone," he whispers to me.
"Hello," I hear him say into the phone as I boot up the computer to find the number. Surely the police chief number will be somewhere online. "Sweetheart, can you hear me?"
"Yes." Her voice no longer holds the fire.
"Good, can you tell me where you are?"
"No, you can't try to stop me. I've thought it all through."
I much preferred her with the fire. The heartbreak in her voice is eerily familiar.
The phone connects. "Forks Police station, this is Sally, how can I help?"
"I need to be connected to Charlie Swan, it's urgent."
"Just a moment, hold the line."
Resisting the urge to pace, I listen in to the other conversation. "Do you know what you've been drinking?"
"Not really. I don't normally drink. Everyone called it liquid courage and I thought I might need some of that. I think it's working, but I don't really know…" So she did have doubts, even subconsciously. Good.
No, where did that thought come from?!
Erugh! How long does it take to connect a call through. Maybe we need to make a hefty donation to their phone lines.
"Oh it's working, do you know how much of it you had?"
"It ran out. Stupid bottle."
Damn, she must have had all of it. With any luck it was half empty before she started.
The phone clicks to life and a gruff voice speaks. "Chief Swan speaking." The voice is of someone beyond weary and I realize that these problems with Bella must have been going on for longer than I'd initially thought.
Sliding out the door so as not to risk Bella overhearing, I speak. "It's Rosalie Hale here sir, Carlisle's daughter. We've got Bella on the phone…"
"Ah hell. I thought I'd deleted that number from everywhere. I'm so sorry. I'll head home and deal with her."
"She's not at home sir. Carlisle is speaking to her, but she seems to have drunk a fair amount and is…" I take a shuddering breath, not wanting to break this man further. "She's at one of the cliff edges in La Push."
"Shit!" There's commotion down the line as he must be arranging some sort of response team. "Billy," Erugh, he must be calling the tribe. I suppose it makes sense, but I don't like the pack of mutts either way. "Yeah, I need you to get the boys searching the cliffs. Apparently Bells is drinking up there. No. Yes. Hang on, I'll ask." His voice becomes clearer as he comes back on the line. "Do you know where?"
"No sir, Carlisle was hard pressed to get that information out of her. He's still talking to her inside."
"Okay. We'll find her. Can you both stay on the line?"
As Charlie is arranging whatever it is that needs arranging on his end, I go back inside. Although I can hear the conversation perfectly from outside, I have a strange need to feel close.
"It's all sparkly down there."
"It's the water, Bella. You need to stay away for me." For the first time ever, Carlisle looks his age.
"But it's so pretty. I want to get closer. It looks like E – him."
Mouthing to him, I say, "She doesn't like Edward's name."
Just as silently, he replies, "Thanks, I worked that out when she started screaming. Does Charlie know?"
"Yes, but he's getting the mutts to help."
"I don't care who helps." He returns his voice to normal levels to talk to Bella. "How about looking at the ground you're already sitting on? It's much safer."
"Don't really matter about safety anymore. When we're done talking, nothing will matter anymore." Her voice turns firm. "Does Rosalie remember the message?"
I nod to him.
"Yes, we've got it right here. Don't go yet though. Tell me about the ground again."
"It's so far away, I can't see it clearly."
"No, not that ground, the one you're sitting on."
"That's boring ground." There's a hint of the fire coming back. I don't know if that is a good thing or not. "It's all green and leafy… Wait, is grass a leaf?"
"Technically yes, but are there any proper leaves from trees?"
"No, the trees are behind me."
"That's alright. Is the leafy grass soft to lay on?"
"No," she snaps as though talking to a disobedient toddler. "It's all pointy. It might stab me. Bad grass." Her voice goes soft again and she asks something I never expected. "Is Rosalie still there?"
Carlisle offers me the phone and takes the line to Charlie which has been quiet for a while now.
"Yes, I'm still here Bella."
"Thank you for never lying to me." I'm befuddled by her words. I'd barely spoken to her, let alone lied to her. Her words are becoming more slurred and I wonder how long she's going to be able to stay conscious for. "I always thought of you as just as much a sister as Alice, but you never tried to pretend to like me. I know your family doesn't want me. Just thank you." I'm baffled. What?! We don't want her? Where would she get such a thought from?
Just as I'm trying to come up with some form of response, she shocks me by saying the most random thing I've ever heard. "Did you know the world is spinning?"
"Yes. It always spins, both around its axis and around the sun." Stupid, stupid, stupid. What a stupid response?!
Her voice is panicked. "It's spinning too fast, slow it down."
"Umm, alright." I go quiet for a moment, wondering how on earth to reply. At Carlisle's mouthed "Lie" I say, "I've slowed it down, is that better?"
"Yes, thank you." Please pass out soon, I can't help but hope. "I might get up now."
"No, stay on the ground. I swear to God that if you fall off that cliff edge I'll skin you alive." I hadn't intended to say that last part aloud – woops.
"What would you do with the left over pieces?" She asks deadly serious. "Would you wear me like a coat? I'm not as soft as puppies or goats, but I try to moisturize."
"Jesus Bella!" I stare at Carlisle dumbfounded.
He takes sympathy on me and trades the phones once again.
I tune out the random conversation, having no interest in hearing anymore from her. How dare she worm her way under my skin.
A while later, Sally's voice returns. "Someone has found her truck and what appears to be a path. Hopefully someone will be with her very soon. Thank you for your help, is there anything else I can do for you?"
"No, that will be all." I hang up and focus on the other line.
Indeed, after only seconds we hear footsteps down the phone.
"Bells?" an unknown voice asks. "What happened to you? Charlie will be here soon. Can I have the phone?" She must have passed it over because the voice changes dramatically. "Leech," it snarls.
"It's Carlisle here, Bella called us. You know of our nature."
"Sure, I know about you bloodsuckers, all of the pack knows. I've got this now. Bye." And the phone goes dead.
"We need to get the family and go back to Forks," I say before Carlisle can speak.
He smiles at me. "I was thinking the same thing."
As he starts dialling everyone's number, I can't help but whisper, "Do you think she is going to be alright?"
Carlisle walks over and holds me in an embrace. I resist the instinct to pull away knowing that I need his support. "I don't know," he practically cries in response. I realise he needs the comfort as much as me. "But I will do everything in my power to ensure that she is."