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Charcoal: A one-shot by FallenFlowers






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Table of Contents
- Text Size +
Story Notes:

 Twilighted beta: qjmom

 

Author's Chapter Notes:

Disclaimer: All characters belong to Stephenie Meyer.

 

This came out differently from what I imagined it to be (meaning: I expected it to be better...)

Give it a read anyways!


I carefully picked up the piece of paper at my feet. I had heard it flutter, and finally land. It was thick and slightly coarse, like art paper, with a smooth texture in the middle.

A charcoal drawing. I could tell.

“Um, Mr…” There was shuffling of more paper, but this wasn’t art paper. I could tell.  

“Hale,” I said, and she ah-ed. 

“Yes, Mr. Hale. The results are out; you are eligible for the operation. Should you wish to undergo…” 

I tuned her out. I had already had the procedures read to me three times, and being left here to vegetate for three hours while waiting for the rumored “test results” had gotten me grumpy.

Besides, I never had much patience with people, anyway.

“Yes, I know. May I have some time to think about it?” 

She nodded. I could tell. I was blind; I could see things even without looking.

I heard her heels click away – hard, clipped steps. Maybe she wasn’t a very patient person, either.

“Um, that’s mine,” a softer voice said. I liked this voice. It was gentle, warm… somehow more human than all the human voices I’d heard my past twenty-five years.

“This?” I raised the drawing still in my hand, and she replied, “Yes, that’s mine.”

I nodded and handed it to her; there was hesitation in her hands, her movement – in the very air around her. 

“I’m Bella,” she offered, almost like an afterthought.

Now she was seated beside me, in one of these horrible plastic chairs that made your spine hurt after sitting in it for three hours. Bella. That was a nice name, it suited her voice perfectly. It reminded me of flowers and rainy days. 

“I’m Jasper. I’m blind,” I told her, just in case she hadn’t realized it yet.

“I see.” Then she sucked in her breath. “I mean! I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it...” 

I smiled. That was strange, how long has it been since I smiled so naturally? “Don’t worry about it. What are you doing here? In the hospital, I mean.” 

The hesitation surfaced again, and this time it was more tangible. “I… I was in a car accident. Just here for the usual check-ups, nothing serious,” she lied.

I nodded, pretending I believed her. It didn’t matter. Maybe she didn’t want anything to do with me, didn’t want me to know anything about her. I nodded, again. I could accept that. Few people were drawn to hostility and misery. 

I thought of excusing myself to leave so she would be spared from the likes of me. Instantly, despair bubbled unhappily in my chest. In barely five minutes, I had grown attached to another person like I never had in my life.

I have been alone for as long as I can remember… perhaps I could use the company for a few more five minutes.

“I heard something about an operation…? If you don’t mind me prying…” 

Another first; by now I would have snapped at the person to mind their own business and leave me the beep alone, but I found myself wanting to let her know about me.

“Yeah, there’s a new operation that could cure me of blindness, I think by tweaking some nerves in my brain. But it has an amazingly low success rate, which means that I have a 60% chance of dying in the process,” I told her conversationally.

“And are you going to go for it?” 

Surprise flooded me. She sounded like she truly, genuinely cared about what would happen to me.

“I… don’t know. Being blind isn’t exactly a cup of sunshine, but it wouldn’t hurt to get my sight back, right?” 

“But at what cost?”

I didn’t answer. I knew that I had never been satisfied with life, or never really cared much anyway. I was just going through the motions, making my way slowly through each day until my last day came.

So then should I take the risk? Gamble with possible happiness, or death.

“Here, come with me.” Bella took my hand and pulled me gently down the corridor, until we were outside and clean, grassy-smelling air purged my lungs. 

“Can you smell the sun?” she asked me, inhaling the air deeply. I did the same; how come nobody ever told me that sunshine smelt like honey and happiness and hope?

I was left alone for a minute, before she returned and placed a flower bud in my hands. She laughed casually and admitted, “I don’t know what flower it is. It’s white and slightly pinkish and it smells lovely.”

I lifted it to my nose and sniffed. Yes, it did smell lovely. How long has it been since I touched a flower? I fingered the soft petal as she took my hand and led me down to the grass. We sat.

There weren’t many people around, as far as I could hear, but it seemed like the whole place was bursting with bustle.

I heard the distinct ploop-ploop-ploop of a stone skipping water, and then she handed me a pebble

“Bella,” I said quietly. “May I see what you look like?” I asked, not knowing if that was the right time or if she would feel offended or anything. I was new to this; I never felt this way before and I had no idea what to do or what to say.

She smiled - I heard it in her voice, “Sure.” She seemed to do that a lot – smiling, I mean. 

I put the pebble on my lap and brought both hands to her face gently, learning my way through the contours of her face – her high cheekbones, plump lips, almond eyes… I painted a beautiful picture in my head, but even then I was sure it was far from what she looked like in the flesh. She seemed about 18, maybe younger.

I noticed that she had on a beanie, which hugged at the corners of her face.

I took my hands away before she accused me of sexual harassment, and placed them demurely on my lap. I stroked the pebble idly.

Suddenly, Bella scrambled to her feet. “I have to go,” she muttered. “Goodbye.” And then she took off and all I was left with was the pebble in my hands and the memory of her face in my mind.

I got up to my feet too, and someone took my elbow. My heart skipped, was Bella back? 

“Careful, Mr Hale.” The person sounded like she was slightly bored – it was the nurse. I suppose this must all be very tedious for her. I wonder how tedious it was for the patients under her care.

“I will go for the operation,” I told her. She nodded - I could tell.

I could tell, but I couldn’t see.

*



When it came down to it; I was terrified. Afraid I wouldn’t be able to make it, and see Bella again. Plain afraid that I would make it, but still not be able to see Bella again.

I made up my mind to stop thinking about negative things, and think positive – once I got through the operation successfully, I would somehow, miraculously, find her and tell her about my feelings for her.

And I had feelings for her; that part was undeniable. I had realized it too late, but I had realized it nonetheless. 

I never felt such love for another human being.

“You ready, Jasper?” The doctor was friendly, or at least friendlier than the nurse. 

I licked my lips. “Yeah, I’m ready.” 

Here goes.


*



I can see. 

I blinked painfully, my eyes weak against the sudden glare of light. I saw the doctor standing before me, the stale white paint on the walls, my hands in front of my face. 

I could see.

“Congratulations.” The doctor beamed at me, and I managed a weak smile. Like a drunkard, I burst out of the room and stumbled into the hallway. What a sight – a semi-unconscious man with his head wrapped up tight, staggering around the hospital.

I almost laughed, but I didn’t.

A coincidence – I heard the voice of the nurse from before, and I turned to her. 

“Mr Hale!” Her expression went from astonished to amazed. “You look great! Congratulations!”

I nodded. “Thanks. Uh, do you know a Bella?” I cursed silently at not having caught her last name.

She pursed her lips. “The girl you were with last week?” A sad look crossed her face.

I nodded anxiously. “Yes, she went for some check-ups?”

“Check-ups? She had chronic lymphocytic leukemia; she was here last week for radiation therapy…” 

I stared at her in shock. 

“Where is she now?” 

“I’m sorry… Bella passed away this morning. She had an infection and her body couldn’t fight the virus…” The nurse bit her lip, like she was trying to bite back a sob.

My knees went weak. Virus? Virus? Leukemia? Virus? 

Passed away?

“No,” I moaned. “No, you’re lying.” 

“Mr Hale-”

“You’re lying!” I yelled. I refused to believe it. 

The nurse ignored my outburst. I could tell that she, too, was close to breaking down – had Bella meant that much to everyone around her?

“She left something for you, Mr Hale…” 

I found the nurse who had kept it for safe-keeping – she handed the piece of paper to me. In my shaking hands, the piece of paper fell and fluttered to the ground. 

I carefully picked up the piece of paper at my feet. 

It was thick and slightly coarse, like art paper, with a smooth texture in the middle.

A charcoal drawing. 

I could see.

Titled, 

The man in the waiting room
19/03/2009


It was me. Me, slumped in the corner, in the horrible plastic chair that made my spine hurt. Me, with my blind eyes closed, looking like I had fallen asleep.

Me.

I turned the drawing over; on the flip side, she had written in a beautiful cursive:



Jasper Hale,
I love you.

 B.

 

 

Chapter End Notes:

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