~~The amazing smell of something delicious was what woke Bella up that morning. Please let it be scrambled eggs and bacon she prayed, her stomach rumbling in favour. She gradually got out of bed, grabbing her dressing gown and wrapping it around herself before slowly making her way downstairs, breathing in the delicious smell that made her stomach growl even more. She entered the kitchen to find Scott happily cooking. He glanced up at her and smiled brightly.
"Hey, I was just about to wake you, scrambled eggs -"
"With extra cheese and bacon, just how you like it," he smiled proudly at her.
"Thanks," she smiled cheerfully, taking a seat at the counter and taking a big mouthful of her food.
"Mmm, to what do I deserve such treatment?" she asked curiously.
"Thought you could use it, plus I know your parents are working a lot, the least I could do is keep you company," he smiled at her while leaning against the counter.
"Thanks Scott, you're the best and this is really good!" she smiled taking another bite of her eggs.
"That's because, I am the best," he boasted stealing a piece of her bacon. "So your dad went to Japan huh?" he asked, chewing away.
"Yeah, the last time my dad went to Japan I was still in primary school, you remember?" she asked.
"Seems like a lifetime ago."
"So listen, there's sort of a bonfire thing going on in town later, if you're interested?" he asked. "I know you like things like that, plus there's hot cocoa," prodding her side a little, making her laugh.
"Well how can I say no to that?"
Bella decided that she would go to the bonfire after all even though she didn't really feel like it, she knew Scott was trying to cheer her up and for that she was grateful. Once they arrived at the bonfire, they first wandered around a little until they bumped into some of Scott's friends which he introduced her to. She soon found herself becoming very bored though and when the subject of sports and chicks came up she had finally had enough.
Nudging Scott, she told him she was going to wonder a little more, reassuring him that she wouldn't go too far. She walked around a little more while looking at some of the stands nearby that were selling things from toys to gloves and hats to really pretty jewellery. Bella was feeling too cold to really pay attention to any of it and instead began walking towards the big bonfire that was burning. She took a seat in front of it, enjoying the heat radiating from the flames and onto her face.
Her mind skipped back to the lat time she and her family had gone camping, it was just a few months before her sister's accident. Unaware to them that it was the last time they would ever spend time together as a real family.
"Hey", she heard someone say, snapping her out of her thoughts. She looked up to surprisingly find Liam standing there, looking down at her with a soft expression on his face.
"Hi." She replied, wondering how long he had noticed her.
"Here," he said, handing her the plastic cup he was holding which she took carefully. "I remember you saying you liked hot chocolate, it looked like you could do with some warming up." Sitting down beside her as she took a sip of the heavenly warm chocolate, warming her instantly.
"Thanks, it's nice to know that you really listen."
"Of course I do," he smiled sweetly.
Bella took another sip of her hot chocolate, warmth rushing through her body once again. It amazed her just how comfortable she felt around Liam. She couldn't believe within the time she had got to know him just how much he affected her. Sure he could make her blush for days and send her stomach into a frenzy of nerves, but then at the same time she fet safe. It was a strange feeling, a feeling she had never felt before.
Bella had a boyfriend called Nick a few weeks before coming here, but they had broken up. These feelings never happened with him which she found odd because she had really liked him. Then again she thought he had really liked her too, but he had proven by hurting her that he obviously didn't care at all. When her sister had died; he had been a shoulder to cry on for a few days, but then he stopped and seemed to be only interested in making out with her, always trying for more. His way of comforting her which started out as caring turned into trying to get her into bed. Not being able to put up with it any longer; she broke it off with him which he became furious over,he couldn't believe that she was dumping him, it was their first real fight.
In the end he walked away and didn't even try to argue with her or apologize, he simply told her that she wasn't worth it anyway and left. Like an idiot; she tried to call him as she felt guilty and thought she had made a mistake. Her head was all over the place and she just wanted some company, but he ignored her. She found out a week later that he had already slept with somebody and was seen with a number of other girls. If Bella was honest with herself; she wasn't really surprised, but it still hurt her. He had been a friend as well as her boyfriend, but now he was just a memory, like a lot of other things in her life lately.
"Are you ok?" Liam asked, a worried expression on his face. She forced a smile, "Yeah, why?"
"You just look like something's bothering you," he told her, pausing for a few seconds before continuing, "I know I haven't really known you for very long but, I can tell something's on your mind."
She looked away, slightly embarrassed over the fact that he had been watching her without her being aware of it.
"It is to do with last night?"
Bella wanted to answer but what was she supposed to say to him?
"It's ok, you don't have to tell me," he reassured her. Should I tell him she thought? She stared at the fire for what seemed like hours before taking a deep breath.
"I'm just.....thinking about my sister," she said slowly. He turned to look at her. "Oh, I didn't know you had one. Is she still living in England?"
"No," she bit her lip nervously, her eyes resting on her lap. "She's dead."
She felt him shift a little closer to her just then. "I'm sorry, I didn't know. When did it happen?"
She looked up at him as sadness filled her eyes. "About a month ago," she managed to tell him.
"Man," he sighed, bowing his head down before looking back up at her. "I'm sorry Bella."
The sadness and kindness in his voice was bringing her on the verge of tears and it was taking everything in her to keep them from rolling down her face. "It's ok," she muttered, trying to put on a brave face.
He stayed quiet for a minute making her wish she had never said anything. She knew he was trying to think of something comforting to say but that hasn't worked so far, she doubted it would now. "Do you mind me asking, how did she....?" Liam started, noticing the flash of regret spread over his face as soon as he did.
"Car accident," she told him.
"She had this boyfriend," she continued, not really sure what she was doing, but the sudden need to get it off her chest, to scream and let it all out was suddenly overbearing.
"His name was Jess. He was really nice at first, but his drinking became a problem. His dad died over two years ago which tore him apart. Not long after that he lost his job, we tried to help him for the longest time but he started drinking and turned into a mean drunk. That's when he started lashing out at my sister, she would always take it at first saying he was stressed and hoped that one day he would snap out of it and change, but he just got worse."
Bella slowly turned her head towards Liam wondering if she should continue or not? It's not like he asked for the whole story, but he just smiled at her in an almost sad and encouraging way like he was letting her know it was ok to continue. She looked back into her lap and took in a deep breath before going on.
"Once we found out and my dad was told, he went over to his house to bring her home and threatened Jess. When he tried to attack our dad that's when it sunk in for her and she eventually broke things off with him, but he still wouldn't leave her alone. He started following her, always calling, showing up at the house in the middle of the night. It would scare me so much. I was so worried for her, I was always afraid that one day he would end up hurting her really bad." She could feel the tears coming back as she let her sad memories take over.
"This one night; she was going out with some friends. I remember helping her get ready. She told me she would be back early so we could hang out and watch a movie. I waited all night....but she never came home," her voice cracked a little as her tears started rolling down her face, this time not strong enough to stop them. Liam stayed quiet as he shifted a little closer to her, patiently waiting for her to continue.
"That night he managed to track her down and he was already drunk," she stated, wiping her tears away. "Her friends said that he dragged her into his car before anyone could stop him. Soon after that, we got the call. Luckily she died on impact, so at least she didn't have to suffer. He died a few hours later," she finished.
Liam leaned forwards, his arms coming to rest on his knees before glancing over at her. "Bella, I'm so sorry you had to go through that. I didn't realize you were going through such a hard time. I mean if I'd had known, I would've...." contemplating over what to say.
"You would have treated me different," grinning weakly at him.
"That's not what I meant," he said sincerely, now sitting up straight and running his hand through his hair as he did. She glanced forward, staring straight into the fire.
"That's why I didn't want to say anything, I don't want people feeling sorry for me. The real reason we even moved here was to start over, to try to move on with our lives. But, I don't think I can," she told him. "I just....." her voice starting to crack again. "I miss my sister!" she sobbed.
Liam suddenly threw his arm around her and pulled her in towards him, while softly rubbing her back as she continued to cry. "It's alright," he tried soothing her. "I know you're hurting but, things will get better Bella, I promise you."
"I'm sorry Liam."
"For piling all my problems onto you, it's not fair!" she sniffled, feeling slightly embarrassed about her mini breakdown.
"Hey, there's no other place i'd rather be," he said, smiling sweetly at her.
"You're really sweet."
"I try," he joked.
Bella wiped her eyes feeling the cold air from where her tears had run down her face. She was suddenly very aware that she was now crying in public and was worried about Scott, she didn't want him seeing her upset again. Liam, sensing her uneasiness, lightly nudged her arm making her turn to look at him. "Do you wanna go for a walk?" he asked her.
A big part of her screamed no, he may be Scott's friend and all but, how much did she really know about Liam? Then again, it was Liam and something about him seemed safe, trustworthy. So instead she nodded her head and followed him as he lead her away from the fire and began walking along the snowy path leading away from the bonfire.
They walked in silence for a while, enjoying each others company. She was slightly taken off guard when Liam stood in front of her, unwrapping his scarf and gently placing it around her neck. She could feel herself going red when she thanked him and even noticed a slight shyness in him when she did. They continued to walk a little further until she caught something white from the side of her eye pass by. Looking up to the sky she noticed that it had started to snow.
"You really love snow don't you." She turned towards Liam who was eyeing her with a smirk on his face. "Yeah I do, it just makes me happy," making him smile at her even more.
As they carried on walking, they soon came across a small bridge that crossed over a lake. There were trees everywhere and they were all covered in snow making the view look like a Christmas card. They walked along the bridge and stopped halfway, staring out at the magical view and now frozen lake.
"I honestly don't think there's anything in the world that's more beautiful then snow," she sighed.
Liam watched her and smiled, "I could think of something." Bella turned to look at him. "Like what?" she asked curiously, cocking her head to the side.
He looked away with a small chuckle. "Nothing." Bella followed Liam as he started walking down the bridge. "Like what?" she asked again.
He finally turned to face her, his face now leveled with her. "You," he whispered.
Bella stared at him in surprise for a minute before a small smile crept on her face. "Liar," she giggled, noticing a second a look of surprise on his face. "You know, you were right about all those pick up lines," she reminded him, making him tilt his head back in laughter.
She laughed along with him as they continued off the bridge, but not paying attention to where she was walking, she didn't realise how icy the ground was and suddenly lost her balance. Seeing her start to fall, Liam quickly held onto her arm but lost his balance and ended up pulling her down with him. Bella's cheeks were on fire this time as she landed on top of Liam, their faces were closer then ever now.Bella awkwardly rolled off of Liam and started laughing at their stupidity.
"Are you ok?" he asked her, trying to contain his own laughter.
"Yeah, I'm fine," she giggled, hoping he didn't notice how red her cheeks still were.
"Liam," she muttered quietly, watching as he ran his hand through his hair and stared at her with that seriously intense gaze that made her feel giddy from time to time.
"Thank you for listening to me. You're sort of the first person I've talked to about.....my sister. Even with Scott I....I just can't," she told him, moving her eyes away from his gaze.
"Can I borrow your phone for a second?" he blurted out.
"Uh sure," a little confused, she reached into her pocket for her phone and passed it to him. He took it from her and began typing something.
"What are you doing?" her curiosity taking over her.
"I'm giving you my number," he stated, passing back her phone. "Anytime you wanna talk or need to vent, I'm just a phone call away."
She put her phone back in her pocket. "Liam, I can't do that," she told him, shaking her head.
"Yes you can, what are friends for right." She saw the sincerity in his eyes and smiled. "Right."
"Come on," he said, standing up and holding his hand out. "You wanna head back?"
She glanced up at him and took hold of his hand, this time without a moments hesitation. He helped pull her up and let her walk in front of him as they made their way back to the bridge, keeping his hand on the small of her back so he could steady her just in case she slipped again. She couldn't help the smile on her face as he did.
As they made their way back, it wasn't long until the bonfire was back in their sights. Having that little time with Liam was nice and for the first time she could actually say that she enjoyed herself. Having told him about her sister was a huge step but one that she needed to take. Bella spotted somebody running towards them and realized that it was Scott. Uh oh she thought, they had been gone a lot longer then she had intended.
"Hey, there you are! I was just about to come look for you," Scott said, with a slightly worried expression on his face.
"Sorry, I didn't mean to worry you," she told him.
"Everything ok?" he asked, glancing between her and Liam.
"Yeah, Liam was just showing me around, thanks again," she looked at him, hoping he wouldn't tell Scott of her little meltdown. He read the expression in her eyes and simply nodded, "No problem."
"Alright well, why don't you head to the car, I'll catch up in a second," Scott told her.
"Ok." She unwrapped Liam's scarf from around her and gave it back to him with a smile. "Bye."
"Bye," he said, smiling back.
Scott waited until Bella was out of earshot until he turned to face Liam.
"It's not what you think," he told Scott, knowing exactly what he was thinking.
"Oh really, so you really were just showing her around?" he barked, with a slight hint to his voice.
Liam glared at him like he had just accused him of something terrible. "What do you think I'm gonna do to her?"
"Nothing, because you won't get the chance alright! She's not just some girl you can hook up with for the night!" Raising his voice with a glare of his own.
Liam looked almost hurt. "I know that! God man, I thought you knew me better than that!" he snapped angrily.
"Look man I'm sorry, I'm just trying to look out for her, she's been through a lot lately. She's family," he stated.
"I know. Look i'm not gonna do anything ok, I don't see her like that, " he told Scott, hoping he could convince him enough. Sure his cousin was a little hottie, but he knew nothing could ever happen, she was way to innocent for him and it wouldn't surprise him if she never let him touch her like that anyway, not with what happened to her sister.
"Good, are we alright?" Scott asked, holding his fist out.
Liam lightly slapped his hand away and shook his head with a slight smirk on his face. "We're good."
"Alright man, see you later."
"Yeah yeah, get outta here."