Title: Ache, Chapter 6
Fandom: Post-Breaking Dawn
character/pairing. Catherine. Canon pairings
rating. R, eventually
summary. The story takes place in Portland, following (some of) the events in Breaking Dawn. A human, Catherine, moves to Portland after a terrible accident in Texas. She meets Emmett Cullen at the university, and they become friends. But some things can't be buried no matter how much distance you put in between yourself and them.
disclaimer: SM owns it all.
A/N: I apologize, once again, for the long update. Hopefully, this monstrosity of a chapter will make up for that. It’s so big, I have to post it in two parts! Please review once you have read. I need to know how the story is progressing. Too fast, too slow, should just give it up all together? I won’t know unless you tell me. Thank you once again for taking the time to read.
I woke up in the morning feeling miserable. My body ached from the fight, and my head felt like it was the practice area for a marching band. I wasn't the only one feeling that way. Brad woke me up from his moaning and grumbling in the other room.
It took me a minute, but I was able to drag myself out of bed in order to make breakfast for Brad and I. Chance was still asleep when I got up, and I decided not to bother him. He was the only living thing in the world that slept worse than I did.
I walked out of the bedroom and Brad grunted a greeting. I returned it with a smile. "Hungry?" I asked.
He nodded as he lumbered to the bathroom, scratching himself inappropriately.
"Make sure you wash your hands, Nasty!" I received grunted response.
I scoffed and made Brad's favorite breakfast: chorizo (a Mexican sausage) and eggs. He walked out of the bathroom looking halfway human. "Do you think you can take Chance outside while I finish breakfast?"
"Sure, Cat," Brad responded with a gruff, scratchy voice. That voice used to drive all my girl friends crazy. It just made me roll my eyes.
By the time Brad made it back inside, I had finished the chorizo and eggs and was heating up some tortillas.
"Smells great, Catherine"
"Of course it does, who do you think you're talking to?" We shared a laugh and sat down to eat.
The meal was eaten in silence, with the exception of Chance panting and begging for scraps. Brad probably thought I didn't notice him slipping Chance some scraps. "He's gonna get fat if you keep feeding him like that."
Brad looked like a kid that was caught with his hands in the cookie jar. "I have no idea what you're talking about, Catty."
"I see what you're doing. Quit giving him scraps. He doesn't get a ton of exercise in this little apartment so I can't feed him human food."
"Aw come on, he deserves it after all he's been through."
The air grew tense. I knew Brad was inadvertently referring to the fire. I didn't want to talk about it now. Hell, I never want to talk about it. Brad thought otherwise.
"Catty, come home. We miss you. We can help get over all this… this pain that you have."
I smirked. "I have no idea what you're talking about, Brad." I could feel the heat behind my eyes that always comes right before the tears, but I held them back. Brad was always so sensitive to me and my feelings. I didn't want him to see that I was dying on the inside.
"Catherine…" he started.
"NO! Stop right there," my voice surprised me with how cold it was. Maybe it was what Brad would need in order to understand that I meant it.
"Do you know what Christy would say to you right now if she were here? She would tell you that you were being ridiculous. She would tell you to suck it up and stop blaming yourself!"
I slammed my fists on the table, causing it to jump. Chance, always the jumpy one, whined and ran out of the room. "Why can't she be here, Brad? Hmmm? SHE'S DEAD! She’s dead, and she’ll never be anywhere to tell me anything ever again!"
Brad's voice grew soft and hesitant. "There's nothing you could have done, Catherine. You need to stop doing this to yourself."
"I should have never let him into my life."
"How were you to know he would take it that far?"
I was silent. Part of me knew that he was right. Who could have foreseen such a thing? No. Christy would still be here if it weren't for me. This was my entire fault.
"It should have been me, not her."
Brad shook his head vehemently. He scooted his chair next to me and wrapped his arms around me. I wouldn't allow the tears to fall. He shouldn't be brought into my misery. I patted his arm and thanked him. I was trying to be subtle, but he could tell I was brushing him off.
He gathered the dishes and brought them to the sink. As he silently washed them, I scoured the apartment for Chance. I found him under my bed, refusing to look at me.
"I'm sorry, boy." I slid a bone under the bed towards him. He continued to ignore me. As I walked away, I could hear him grab the bone and begin to gnaw on it. I smiled, knowing that I was forgiven.
Brad was finished with the dishes and watching TV. There was a college game on, and to the untrained eye it would look like he was watching. I knew that he was deep in thought.
"How's Dad?" I asked as I sat down next to him.
"He misses you. He wishes he did more to keep you home. But I know that once you set your mind to something, no one can convince you of otherwise."
I nodded. When Brad turned to look at me, I gave him a weak smile. His eyes were sad and it broke my heart to look at him.
“We all miss you,” he added softly.
I was silent. I didn’t know how to respond to that. We watched the game in that silence. It was thick, full of things we both wanted to say. When the game was finished, Brad stood up and stretched. When he turned to look at me, he had a bit of the old smile on his face.
“Well, what are you gonna take me to do? I leave early in the morning tomorrow and I’ve only seen your crappy apartment and one bar in the entire city of Portland.” He grabbed my arm and pulled me off the couch.
“You’re leaving tomorrow?” I asked with a touch of shock and sadness in my voice.
“Yes ma’am. So let’s not spend this time thinking about this and that. Let’s paint the town red!”
I giggled and ran into my room to change. I chose clothes based on comfort rather than anything fashion forward. That is one habit I’ve brought with me from Texas.
We walked all around the city. We visited countless shops and bars. We would drink, then walk around and discover all the culture in the city. When the sky grew dark, we settled in a tiny piano bar. Brad would have never admitted to anyone other than me his fondness for piano music. There were a wide range of performers and acts: blues, jazz, soft rock, etc. We enjoyed the night, and then walked home once the bar closed. Our talk was light, never weighed down by each other’s ache. That was what I preferred.
We reached the apartment, and watched a movie before both of us fell asleep on the couch.
The morning came and passed quickly as I helped Brad pack and took him to the airport. His departure was sad, but I was happy to fall back in the little routine I created before he came. I would never tell him, never in a million years, but by having Brad there I could not escape thinking of home and all the horrific memories it held.
I was piddling around the apartment for a few hours before getting ready for my evening with Emmett. I was still confused as to why he wanted to meet, but I figured I could just get it over with and blow him off. It would be for the best, more so for him than me. I just wasn’t worth the time and trouble.
I dressed comfortably in a T-shirt, jeans, and an old pair of Converse. I would finish off the outfit with an old hoodie that belonged to Brad. There was nothing particularly attractive about the outfit, so he could not mistake this for a date. I became anxious, wondering exactly the night would bring. I had to think of all my cover stories: why I was there, why I decided to come to an unfamiliar city by myself. I knew he would ask all about my past, and frankly, it was something I didn’t want to discuss with my own brother, let alone a complete stranger.
I sat on my couch in the front room, nervously changing through channels. I wasn’t really paying attention to anything; it was just something to do to pass the time.
At exactly 7:00, I heard a knock on my front door. The sound of it scared me as it resonated throughout my tiny apartment. Chance came running out of my bedroom, barking his head off.
I shushed him as best I could, and dragged him back into the bedroom. I closed the door to prevent him from trying to rush my guest. I had no idea what Chance’s problem was with Emmett, but it was starting to bother me.
I opened the door was immediately greeted with that large goofy smile that never failed to place one of equal caliber on my face.