Chapter 30 - With Gentle Melodies

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Lily finally thought she had it figured out. After talking with Jasper, she realized that her current path was unsustainable. The weight of everything was causing her to crack. The Cullen's were too focused on her to be completely fooled. It was time for a new game plan.

The plan was simple. The Cullens were now her roommates. She was planning on treating them the same way that she treated Scott and Laura. She would answer questions when asked. She would enjoy evenings with them. She could accept them the way they were. Roommates were temporary anyway. They could talk about superficial things. There was no reason to have deep conversations.

Emmett was obviously thrilled at the change. Lily could admit that she had missed spending time with him. Sure, he seemed to be a little more timid around her, but that was fine. He had spent some time away from humans, it would make sense that he was out of practice. At least, that is what Lily told herself. He didn't seem any different around Bella.

Emmett was relieved when he started to notice Lily opening back up to all of them. They were able to joke around again. They played video games, watched movies, they even played a few rounds of volleyball. They both seemed to have regained their footing. The warmer weather seemed to do wonders for the family. As the temperature rose, Lily's warmth seemed to increase. Good days seemed endless. Bad days also felt endless. Every day was still touch and go. They were all living in the moment. That seemed to be the only way to get Lily to engage.

Esme, however, was not so easily fooled. There was a difference in the way her youngest child carried herself. She was projecting openness even when her eyes were screaming to be left alone. Esme was trying her best. She was grateful when Lily started regaining some of the weight she lost, but it wasn't enough. Esme couldn't monitor her all day. While the dark circles under her eye faded, the haunted look in them did not. She often caught the girl staring off into nothing before zoning back into whatever was happening around her. It wasn't good to be that stuck in your own head. She tired more quickly and bruised more easily. She was gone all weekend and would sometimes leave to wander around in the evenings.

Esme couldn't help to remember the state she was in when she arrived home that first night they were all back together. She had seemed so small in Emmett's large arms. Lily had never been a particularly heavy sleeper, but it seemed as if nothing could pull her out of her slumber that night. Rosalie walked in front of them clearing a path with her jaw clenched tight. Esme had waited until they both left the room before checking on the blonde human. Lily was clenching Jasper's jacket as if it was a lifeline. While the majority of her was covered, her face still displayed the obvious months of neglect. Esme had failed as a mother again.

Without even trying to, Esme could pick up on the mess of odors that clung to the girl. She knew Emmett and Rosalie would have more information. She could hear their quiet voices in the living room talking to Carlisle, but she wasn't quite ready to let the girl out of her sight. What if she disappeared again without a trace? One thing gave her hope. Lily had stayed close to Forks. If she had really wanted to, she could have ran. There were places she could go that none of them could follow.

Nothing has ever been as bad as that first night. It was clear to Esme that she still went out, but not as much. Most of the time, only the lingering smell of sweat and alcohol could be found on her. That made sense, she worked in a bar, but she was more mindful when she came home. Esme tried to not be naive, she knew that Lily probably still took drugs, but she wanted to believe that things were different now.

Esme was right about one thing. Lily had stopped going out. She couldn't drown her problems when she had to look them in the eye on Monday.

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