A/N: ...Hello? I'm so sorry about the epic delay. A lot of stuff has happened that made it difficult to post. I won't go into detail because honestly, it's depressing and I'm sure you don't want to hear about it.
One thing you might care about however: I've had about 12 chapters of this story beta'd (that number keep growing as time goes on!). This means that some of the aspects of each chapter has changed(hopefully for the better), but most of it is still pretty much the same. I just added a few more details here and there, included a few more scenes and took out some things that weren't really working.
A big thank you to Lizzie and Annette- my pre-reader and beta. I couldn't have done this without you. Another thank you to everyone that has been patient. Your support means everything to me.
Okay...I think that about covers everything...More news below!
SM owns everything Twilight.
My hands are shaking as I stop and stare at my childhood home. It's the same as it always has been; brown peeling paint and off white shutters. The grass is still the same unhealthy color and is still littered with weeds in various places. The huge oak tree that sits in front of the kitchen window looks like it's close to being dead and I make a mental note to have Charlie call a tree doctor- that is if I'm allowed to stay.
I'm nervous about being back here because I don't know how my sudden reappearance will be received.
A little over two years ago I left Forks, without telling anyone. The only thing that made it clear I was gone was the mess I left in my room from packing in a hurry.
A few hours after I left, Charlie started calling my cell phone over and over, but I couldn't bring myself to answer. I couldn't tell him why I left. I was too ashamed.
A loud squeal rings in my ear and I cringe, looking down at my almost two year old son, Adam. I expect to find a pout on his face and tears in his eyes, but he's looking at me blankly. His youthful, jade eyes are staring at me, trying to figure out why I am standing in front of a strange house. I give him a small, watery smile and he must sense that this is hard for me because he places his head of copper-colored hair on my shoulder.
I kiss his head and look back up at the building that was once my home. I can't stand out here all day, but I'm too afraid to go up the steps and knock on the door. If I had another choice I wouldn't be here. I lost my minimum wage job at the diner and fell behind on my rent, therefore getting kicked out of my apartment. I tried finding another job, but since I only had my high school diploma and no one was hiring, it was difficult.
I could have called my absentee mother for a loan, but there was no guarantee that she would answer. She was traveling around the United States with Phil, her second husband. While I know she would have given me the money, she also would have asked why I needed it. That, I didn't want to get into.
Renee didn't know that I had left Forks and had a child. After she left my father when I was four, we didn't talk much and I knew she avoided any contact with him, like the plague.
At the time, I didn't know that my parents were having problems. It wasn't until my mother hadn't been around for three days that I finally asked where she was and when she was coming back. Charlie sat me down and gently explained that my mother left and wouldn't be coming back. I was confused and angry. I cried and screamed at my father, begging him to find mommy. I continued this way whenever he spoke or looked at me for months after she departed.
Looking back on it, I could see the pain and hurt my actions caused him, but being that young, I didn't understand that I was hurting him. After four months of being without my mother, I had gotten used to it just being my father and I. I had gotten used to morning breakfasts and evenings in the park. I even came to enjoy him taking over something I loved doing with my mother; nighttime story telling. From then on, I was happy and content with my father and he was all I had needed.
It wasn't until I was older that I learned Renee never wanted to be a mother. She had sent me a letter when I was sixteen asking me if I wanted to spend the summer with her in California. I agreed, because as I grew up, I wanted a mother to talk to about girl things, something my father was horrible at doing.
I went to California eager to meet her and learn about the mother I never knew. During that trip we bonded, but in a way I didn't expect. It wasn't the mother/daughter bond I wanted, but more of a sisterly bond. I didn't care. She was in my life and that's all I needed.
Whilst visiting her, we spoke about the past and she informed me of what she wanted out of life, before she got pregnant. Renee assured me that she loved me, but she didn't want to give up her dreams and she didn't feel like she was 'mother material'. Of course I was hurt by this, but I understood. Some people aren't born to be mothers. I was glad that she left me with my father and didn't screw me up by taking me with her and possibly blaming me when things didn't work out.
Since that visit,Renee has kept in contact with me through e-mail and random calls. We would talk about what she was doing and ask how my life was going. She would always end our conversation with, "Don't make the same mistakes I did."
That was the reason I couldn't call my mother. I didn't really want to hear her say "what did I tell you?" Even though getting pregnant at eighteen wasn't on my list of things to do, I couldn't regret my son. From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I loved him and I knew that, no matter what, I always would.
If only his father had felt the same.
I shook my head to clear the thought. I knew Charlie was going to want to talk about Adam's father and I needed to save my strength. Thinking about Charlie causes my nerves to start up again. I don't know how he is going to react, but I have an idea. While driving from Olympia, I had three hours to think about the outcome of my impromptu visit. I thought about Charlie screaming at me on the front lawn, telling me that I was a disappointment and that he would never accept me back into his life or accept his grandson.
A small voice inside me tells me that I am being ridiculous. Charlie loves me and has never yelled at me. In fact, Charlie hardly ever speaks. It isn't that he hasn't got anything to say, it's just that he doesn't quite know what to say. I knew he couldn't relate to me, so instead of saying the wrong thing, he just didn't say anything at all.
Drawing in a deep breath, I watch as the sun moves down in the sky, turning it a pale pink color. I don't have much longer because if Charlie throws me out I will have to find a place to stay for the night.
Drawing in another deep breath, I swallow thickly and take small steps up to the front door. I stare at it for a moment, my worst fears playing out in my head again. I close my eyes tightly and ball up my free hand, getting ready to knock.
Just as I raise my fist, my son's head rises from my shoulder and he moves my head so I'm looking at him. I push him up on my hip a little more, supporting him with both hands.
"What, baby?" I whisper.
He leans forward and gives me sloppy kiss on my cheek. This is his way of telling me 'I love you'. I don't know why he won't speak. I know he can I've heard him in his sleep - he just doesn't. The doctors that I took him to were puzzled too. They told me it's a phase he's going through. I just hope they're right.
Since he doesn't speak, I've learned his habits well. He's telling me what he wants to say, without actually saying it. While this is fine, I still long to hear his voice. I keep my fingers crossed, hoping that one day I'll hear something come from his lips besides his occasional moans, grunts and cries.
Drawing the tiny bit of strength that my son gives me, I raise my hand and knock, all the while holding my breath. I listen for some sort of noise to tell me that Charlie's home, but I hear nothing. After waiting for a moment, I despondently turn around and prepare myself to come back another day, trying to figure out where we're going to sleep tonight.
My feet reach the last step when the door opens and I hear Charlie's gruff voice call out.
"Can I help you?"
Slowly, I turn and look at my father with nervous eyes and my teeth embedded in my lip. Upon seeing me, Charlie gasps, his eyes going wide, staring at me in shock.
"Bella?" he asks disbelievingly.
"Hi, Dad," I say quietly, hugging Adam to me as Charlie's eyes dart back and forth between my son and me.
Adam wraps his arms around my neck, hugging me tightly. I rub his back gently, knowing that he's probably afraid of this stranger that is his grandfather. Sadness strikes me that he's afraid of him, but I can only blame myself.
"Bella?" he asks again.
"It's me, Dad."
His mouth opens and closes like a fish as he tries to speak. I wait anxiously, trying to prepare myself for whatever he may say.
"Come in," he says after a few moments.
I nod and swallow thickly, walking up the steps with heavy feet. He steps aside as I get to the doorway and I walk in. I'm immediately assaulted by the familiar scents I grew up with; leather, cooked fish, and gun powder.
As I stand in the entry way, I look over and expect to see Charlie's gun belt hanging from the coat hook. I frown as I see the empty space where it once hung. I don't know why I expect it to be there, I knew he retired a year and a half ago. Just because he didn't hear from me, didn't mean I didn't know what happened with him. Well, mostly.
A year and a half ago, I looked at the Forks online newspaper to check up on things in my hometown. On the front page was the announcement that Chief Charles Swan had been injured in the line of duty. Of course, I panicked. I almost stopped reading and left for Forks right that moment, but forced myself to keep reading. The story went on to say that Chief Swan dislocated his knee while chasing a suspect and had to have surgery to repair it. The predicted recovery time was six months or longer and the uneventful town of Forks couldn't wait that long for their Chief to recover, so Charlie silently retired.
Even though I was glad he wasn't seriously injured, I had felt compelled go back and care for him. As far as I knew, he didn't have anyone to help him. In order to find out if he was alone, I paid a fellow co-worker to call his house and say that they were concerned about him. That phone call revealed that he was fine and his old friend, Sue Clearwater, was taking care of him. When I learned this, I felt a little better and continued on with my life.
The door closing behind me brings me out of my thoughts and I look behind me to see Charlie standing by the front door, looking at me with an 'I can't believe you're here' look. After a moment, he clears his throat and motions toward the living room.
I silently walk into the other room and briefly notice that everything is still the same. The same worn out yellow recliner, the same pale blue couch and the same giant flat screen on the wall, showing some kind of sport. I am glad that this hasn't changed, and I hope that other things were also as I'd left them.
I walk over and take a seat on the couch, hearing the old springs creak. I move my baby so he's sitting on my lap more comfortably. I try to sit him where Charlie can see him, but he won't cooperate. I give up and let him bury his head in my chest as I watch my father with cautious eyes.
Charlie walks slowly into the room, not taking his eyes off me as if I'm going to disappear. Finally, he sits in his recliner and continues to stare at me, keeping my nerves on edge the longer he stays silent.
"How?" He finally speaks, breaking the silence between us.
I open my mouth to reply but an announcer on the television cheers for some team playing and Charlie grumbles, reaching for the remote and turning it off. He flings the remote on the table and the sound it makes as it hits the glass coffee table makes me flinch.
"How?" He asks again, not acknowledging my reaction.
"How what?" I croak out, my voice hoarse and fearful.
"How do you have a son?"
"I had sex," I answer, not knowing what else to say.
"I know that," he snaps. I look down, focusing on my son as his bright eyes look up at me.
"I know that," he repeats, his voice softer. "I mean, when did this happen? When did you find out? Why didn't you tell me?"
"I found out I was pregnant the day I left."
"So that's why you left?"
"Sort of," I mumble.
"What do you mean, 'sort of'?"
Tentatively, I look up at him and feel shame and embarrassment rushing through my body. Flashes of that afternoon come to the front of mind and I hear the harsh words all over again. I push them back to focus on the present. I can't break down now.
"When I found out I was pregnant, it wasn't what I expected, but I loved him already. When I went to tell his father, the happiness wasn't mutual. There were some….words exchanged and I left..."
The majority of what I told him was true. I didn't want to get into the whole story right now. If I did, I would start to cry and I don't want to scare my son. It's obvious that Charlie wants the full story. He deserves it, really.
Charlie nods tightly. I can tell he's upset. His jaw is clenched and his hands are balled in fists. What I can't tell is if he is upset with me. He has every right, I know, but the little girl inside of me is hoping that he isn't.
"I know there's more to that story than you're telling me and I want answers. But," he says pausing, seeming to collect his thoughts. "I know that it must be hard for you to talk about so I'm not going to ask right now. However, I am going to ask this: is Edward Cullen the father?"
I bite my lip and nod.
"I knew it," Charlie replies, his voice low and angry. "I knew he was the father the minute I laid my eyes on that baby! I knew it!"
Adam fusses and squirms in my lap, getting upset at the rising voice of my father. I hug him to my body and rub his back, cooing softly in his ear. Almost immediately, his little arms circle my neck, clutching me tightly. He's on the verge of choking me, but I don't care. He needs my comfort and that's all that matters. I wrap one arm around him and keep him close to me while the other is still rubbing soothing circles on his back.
Charlie sees my son's obvious discomfort and his face creases with worry.
"Is he alright?"
"He's just a little scared being in a new place. It doesn't help that he's cranky."
Charlie nods with an understanding expression. "What's his name?"
"Adam. Adam Masen Swan."
The corner of Charlie's lip curls up in a happy smile. It's very obvious that he's happy with his name. I don't know why, but this little bit of information makes me happy.
"You should put him down, then. Your old room is yours to use. Do you have any stuff in the car?"
I look at him, surprised. I'm shocked by his invitation and I feel a small sense of acceptance from him. I give him a smile and nod.
"Yes. It's in the trunk."
Charlie nods and makes a move to stand up, but I remember his injury and jump up, jostling Adam.
"Stay here. I'll get it."
"What are you going to do with Adam?"
I look back and forth between my son and father, silently wondering if Adam will be okay with his grandfather. I know that Charlie won't hurt him, but I don't know how Adam will react to being left alone with him.
Deciding to take a chance, I hand Adam over to Charlie. Charlie holds him like a pro and I stand there, watching my son and father for a moment. As expected, Adam whimpers a bit, but once Charlie starts bouncing him in his arms, Adam quiets. I smile at seeing my baby with his grandfather. I never thought I would see this day.
Tears form in my eyes, but I don't let them fall. I know that if I let them out, then I'll really start to cry and I know that neither Adam nor Charlie would like that. To distract myself, I walk outside and open the trunk with the keys in my pocket. I sigh as I look at my meager belongings.
When I left Olympia, I couldn't bring much for two reasons. One: my car couldn't fit most of my stuff, and two: my landlord padlocked my apartment, making it difficult to get my stuff in the first place. I managed to convince him to let me inside so I could get as much as I could, then I would be out his hair. Since I didn't have much, it was easy to grab the essentials.
The next twenty minutes had been spent dashing around the apartment, throwing things in bags and folding up Adam's playpen, which would double as a crib for right now.
I shake my head, hoping I can get more things for my baby. It saddens me that I had to give up some of our things, but I suppose that's the price I have to pay for running away.
I begin unloading the trunk and setting the items down on the ground. Once the trunk is empty, I close it and look at my things. Three bags are Adam's and two are mine, plus his crib/playpen. I know Adam is going to need more things soon, which means finding a job so I have money. I just hope someone is hiring.
I pick everything up and carry it easily into the house, setting it down in the doorway of the living room. I close the front door and go to pick our belongings up and carry them upstairs when the scene before me stops me in my tracks.
Charlie is sitting in his recliner with Adam curled against him, his eyes closed as he sleeps.
Seeing me in the doorway, Charlie looks up and gives me a small smile. He stands up carefully and walks over to me, pointing in the direction of the stairs with his chin. I nod at his silent message and pick everything up again, going up the stairs to my old room with Charlie following behind.
When I open the door I had walked through so many times before, I have to stop. Everything is the same. The bed has the same purple flower bedding on it, the desk is still there sitting against the wall, in front of the window, overlooking the world outside. The only thing that's different from the last time I was here is there's no sign of the mess I left behind.
I look back at Charlie and he gives me a sheepish smile. I give him one in return and walk all the way in, setting our bags down on the bed and getting to work on setting up Adam's bed.
Once it's up, I pull out his blanket from his bag and his sheep printed pillow, along with the bunny I had given him when he was younger, and set them down inside. Slowly, I walk over to Charlie and gently take Adam from him. Carefully, I lay my baby down. Once he's lying down, I dig out the hand-me-down baby monitors I bought from a charity store and set them up.
When everything is set, I take the monitor with me and walk out. Charlie is leaning against the wall in the hall staring intently at me. I look at him warily, fidgeting the longer we stand in silence.
He must have taken pity on me because he pushes off the wall and walks up to me, squeezing my shoulder gently.
"We need to talk."
I nod and follow him down the stairs and into the living room. I sit down on the couch, and wait for Charlie to speak. He takes his usual seat and looks at me with a 'go on and talk expression'. I guess I'm going first.
"I don't know where to start," I say, my voice small.
"Why did you come now?"
I swallow thickly, worried about where this conversation is going.
"I lost my job and fell behind in my rent."
"Where were you living?"
"Hmm," he hums, looking at me with a calculating expression, his chin resting on his palm. "So you just decided to come back here because you had no other choice?"
"We-well," I stutter. "Yes. But that's not all of it! I missed you!"
It was the truth. I did miss my father. There were many times I wanted to come back and cry on my father's shoulder, but my fear of being a disappointment stopped me from doing so. There was also the fear of being talked about, since I know how the people in this town are. I didn't want to be known as the tramp of Forks and have my son teased or picked on, because of me.
"Okay, Bells. I believe you," he tells me in a soothing voice. "It's just…why didn't you stay in the first place?"
"I was afraid of being a disappointment. Plus, Edward didn't want Adam and I didn't want to stick around while he went to New York and everyone talked about me."
"Are you going to tell me what happened between the two of you?" He asks his voice hard again.
"Not now. Please."
"Alright," he says, begrudgingly. "About your other comment, you could never be a disappointment, Bella. Never. I just wish you had believed that and stayed here so I could have helped you," he finishes, his voice and eyes full of sadness.
Seeing that look on his face, knowing I put it there, finally makes my tears fall. I begin to sob in earnest, my loud cries echo off of the walls in the tiny living room.
Out of nowhere, a large hand pulls me into a strong pair of arms and I clutch at the body in front of me, taking the comfort it offers.
"Now, now, Bells. Don't cry. There's nothing to cry about."
"But I-I-I-made you sad," I sob into his shoulder. "I hur-hur-hurt you."
"Bells, I'm not going to lie, it hurt when you left and I wanted to call the FBI and use every resource I had to bring you back kicking and screaming. But no matter how pissed or scared to death I was, I knew there was a reason you left; I just had to let you make your own choices and mistakes." He stops and rubs my back gently as I process his words. Before the shame of how selfishly I acted can resurface, he begins again. "Don't, for one minute, think that I'm still not mad. I'm pissed as hell at you for leaving like you did. But you're back now. We can worry about everything else later."
"What do you mean?" I ask, looking up at him with bleary eyes.
"I mean that we still have a lot to work through, but right now, all that matters is you're back."
"Thank you, Dad," I say to him, hugging him tightly.
He pats my back and kisses my head gently. "I'll always love you, Bella. Every part of you."
I smile, knowing he is talking about loving Adam too. After all, he is a part of me.
"You look tired, so why don't you go up and sleep? We can talk later."
I stand up slowly, suddenly feeling how exhausted I am. My body feels heavy and I feel as if I couldn't lift a piece of a paper. It seems as if it takes all of my strength to move my feet.
I begin the trudge up the stairs looking forward to a much needed nap.
"Have a good sleep, Bells."
I wave at him from behind my back, not having the energy to say anything back. I walk into my room and shut the door quietly, minding my sleeping son, and collapse on my bed, my exhaustion taking over.
I wake to rare sunlight streaming in, warming my face. A smile forms on my lips as I bask in the rays, remembering the time I spent in California. It was just a few weeks, but I always remember the feel of the sun on my skin.
I stretch my limbs, groaning as my dormant muscles protest and my joints crack from being still so long. I settle myself into the soft mattress, not wanting to get up yet. My body still feels tired from the long drive and stressful day. It feels as if I've never slept this long or well before and I want it to last as long as possible while Adam is still sleeping.
Adam. He has never let me sleep in before. He always wakes up crying when the sun comes up. I didn't hear any noise this morning and from the position of the sun, I know it must be getting late.
I shoot up from the bed, my heart thundering in my chest. I rush over and look in Adam's bed and see that it's empty. Immediately, I run out of my room and tear down the steps.
"Adam?" I scream, wondering where my son is.
"In here, Bella," Dad's voice calls to me from the kitchen.
I speed walk into the kitchen and find my father watching my son with an amused expression as he shovels scrambled eggs into his mouth.
Charlie looks up as I enter and the amused expression fades from his face.
"Nothing. I just sort of panicked when I wasn't woken up by Adam."
He nods in understanding. "When I checked in on you, this little guy was awake and you were sleeping peacefully. You looked like you needed it, so I took him with me. Is that okay?"
"Yeah, of course," I say, alleviating his worried face.
"I fixed him breakfast."
"I see," I respond, laughing as my son munches happily on his eggs.
"Do you want anything?"
After that, we sit in silence not knowing what to say to each other. It's a little uncomfortable, but it always was with Charlie, especially after we had a disagreement or a fight. We didn't really have either of those, but right nowour relationship is on very thin ice and we have to tread carefully for a while until everything is resolved.
"So," Charlie begins, breaking the silence. "Tell me what happened between you and Edward."
This was a command, not a request. After last night, I was foolishly hoping that it would be forgotten.
I draw in a deep breath, knowing he wouldn't let it go this time. I didn't want to go into the entire story, so I decided that I would tell the important parts and hope that was enough.
"About two years ago I started getting sick. I went to the doctor because I didn't want to make anyone else ill. They ran some tests and I was told I was pregnant. I was shocked, wondering how you and Edward would react. I was terrified, but I knew I could get through it if I had Edward. So I decided I would go over, tell him, and then we would tell you together. When I went over to his house, we got into an argument. There was a lot of yelling and then I accidentally let it slip that I was pregnant. He said he didn't want the baby and I needed to get out. After that, I came here, packed my things and left," I tell him in a monotone voice, distancing myself from the pain of reliving that hellish day all over again. I hope he didn't notice that I basically told him the same story as the night before-I just added a few more details. I didn't want him knowing the full, unedited story. It was too painful.
"That doesn't explain why you left home," Charlie states.
"If you were in my place and Edward reacted like that, what would you have done?"
Charlie releases a large breath and scrubs his face with his hands. "Bella, I'm your father. I'll love you no matter what."
"I wasn't thinking clearly."
"You got that right," he mutters angrily and shame fills me again. "You should have come to me. You should have stayed."
"I know. I should have come to you, but I didn't want to stay. I didn't want people to talk about me. Although it's going to happen anyway now," I say in a low voice.
"Don't worry about what people are going to say, Bella. People in this town don't matter. Family matters."
I nod. Family is what matters and I threw it away, selfishly.
"I'm sorry," I repeat again, feeling like I can't say it enough.
"Well, you're back now. That's all that counts."
I nod in affirmation, staring at the table beneath my fingers. The kitchen is silent except for the sound of Adam eating his eggs, making 'yum' sounds. After a few moments, Charlie clears his throat and I look up to see him staring at me.
"What are you going to do next?"
I pause and think. What am I going to do? I don't really know what to do, besides get a job.
"Get a job."
I hum in acknowledgment and stare out of the kitchen window. I'm starting over again. I just hope this time things go better.
We don't talk after that and I listen to the sounds of my father and son eating. I sit there mentally thinking through all the stores in Forks. There aren't many and that means there aren't going to be many places hiring. I sigh. I suppose I could still look and ask around.
"So," Charlie say, his voice gruff. "What's the plan for today?"
"I'm going to go look for a job."
"You don't have to look right away, Bells."
"I'm not going to live off you, Dad." I tell him, my voice firm, leaving no room for argument.
Charlie grunts and folds his arms, looking displeased. I don't let it bother me. On the drive back home I made a promise to myself that I would find a job as soon as possible and I wouldn't live off my father. Once I found a job I would help out with the groceries and other expenses, but until then I would keep a close eye on what was spent and pay him back as soon as possible.
Rising from the table, I place a kiss on Adam's head and he looks up at me, his jade eyes sparkling as he gives me a beaming smile. I place another kiss on his forehead.
"I'm going to look around and see if there are any places hiring. Do you want me to take Adam with me?"
"No, I want some time with my grandson."
I smile happily, pleased that he wants to spend time with Adam. At least that was one fear erased from my mind.
"All right. I'll take him up and change him."
Charlie nods and I take Adam upstairs, changing him into a pair of jean shorts and t-shirt, along with a pair of his baby sneakers. Once I am finished dressing him, I place him back into his bed so he won't wander off and get into something or put it into his mouth.
I dress myself in the nicest clothes I have, which consists of black dress pants and a professional looking cotton shirt. To complete the outfit, I put on my black ballet flats and brush my hair, not really having the instruments to style it the way I like it.
When I'm finished, I grab a couple of Adam's toys and take him downstairs. Charlie is sitting in his favorite recliner, watching some sports show. As I enter, he mutes it and reaches for grandson with bright eyes. I hand him over and stand in front of him awkwardly.
"I don't have a cell phone, so if something goes wrong, you'll have no way to contact me."
"Take mine," Charlie offers, handing me his old cell phone. "It still works fine. I'll call if something goes wrong, but I think you're overreacting Bells. We got along fine this morning."
I nod. Of course he's right. If Adam was in any way uncomfortable with my father this morning, he would have made it known right away.
"Okay. I'll be back in an hour, maybe two."
"That's fine. You don't have to though."
I level him with a look, telling him that I do indeed have to. He raises his hands in surrender and focuses on the toy Adam has shoved in his face. He asks him questions about it, but as usual, Adam doesn't speak. Charlie looks up at me with a raised eyebrow.
"He doesn't talk. The doctors up in Olympia think it's a phase or something."
Charlie hums in acknowledgment but doesn't comment further. I look down at the floor, shame flooding me again. I feel like a terrible mother as though I must have done something wrong because my son doesn't speak. I quickly snatch up my purse from the coffee table and shove Charlie's cell phone inside.
"Okay, I'll be back," I call out as I make way out of the house.
I get in my car and drive the short distance to town and park where most of the shops are. Glancing at the clock, I notice that it's nearing ten o'clock and the stores will open soon. I'm not ready for the people of Forks to see me because I know once they do everyone will start talking. But, I need a job and sooner or later someone will spot me so I might as well do this now.
Drawing in a deep breath and gathering what little courage I have, I remove myself from the car and walk around.
I don't see any help wanted signs and that dampens my spirits a bit. If no one is hiring in Forks then I'll have to go to Port Angeles. I don't want to travel that far but since it appears no one is hiring, I have no choice.
People are out and about now and almost immediately the whispers start. I ignore them and hope that no one comes up and tries to make conversation. I don't want to answer their questions or even make small talk with them. I'm in no mood.
Before I know it, I see something I haven't seen in two years.
Forks High School.
I don't remember walking this way, but I guess trying to ignore the whispers and stares distracted me and I unconsciously walked here.
Seeing the old building brings tears to my eyes and a lot of memories with it. One memory in particular sticks out, making me gasp as I remember the day my life was changed forever.
Forks High is buzzing with excitement. Today, the arrival of the new kids is the only thing anyone can talk about. It's amazing what will entertain these people.
I try to ignore the excited whispers and chatting because since it was announced, people have been making up all kind of rumors about these kids. Besides, it's not like I'm going to be friends them. I'm Bella Swan, Forks High resident geek. I don't have any friends besides Angela Webber and we don't hang out that much. She has her own friends and her boyfriend Ben.
Making my way into the cafeteria, I get caught behind Jessica and Lauren, my daily tormenters since elementary school.
I watch as they twirl their bleach blonde hair and smack their gum as they talk about the new kids while we stand in line for food.
"He's so delicious!" Jessica gushes. "I swear he was checking me out in English."
Lauren snickersand I recognize the look; she's about to take Jessica down with a snide remark because that's what she does to everyone.
"Oh, Jess. I'm not sure about that. I have History class with Edward and he was checking me out. I don't really think you're his type."
"What makes you say that?" Jessica asks, fuming.
I roll my eyes and silently wish to be anywhere but here.
"Well, do you really think Edward likes bottle blondes? Edward seems like the kind of guy who doesn't like brown roots and blonde locks. "
Jessica gasps and tries to hide the top of her head. Lauren chuckles and orders her usual lunch-a salad and a bottle of water. When Jessica is asked what she wants to eat by the lunch lady, Jessica asks for the same. I roll my eyes again and step forward when she's moved on.
"Bella!" Ms. Tracy, the lunch lady beams. "How are you?"
"I'm fine, Ms. Tracy. You?"
"I'm doing just fine. What do you want to eat, doll?"
"Um," I say looking over the food choices. There isn't much good food to choose from, so I choose the most appetizing thing I see. "The fruit and veggie plate, please."
Ms. Tracy hands me the plate and I smile in thanks and go forward to pay. When I do, I see Jessica and Lauren staring back at me, whispering.
Great, I wonder what rumor they're making up now. After Lauren and Jessica have paid and gone, I pay for my own lunch and make my way to my usual table. I pass Jessica and Lauren, hearing their snickers as I walk past, but I don't pay attention. I keep my focus on my table in the corner. Just as I pass the corner of their table, a foot comes from nowhere, making me fall to the ground and my lunch spill everywhere. Immediately, I hear their laughter and tears burn my eyes as I try to clean the fruits and vegetables from the floor.
Suddenly, their laughter cuts off and turns into shocked gasps just as a pair of feet move in front of me. I watch as the person bends down and helps me pick up my mess. Once it's cleaned up, I slowly raise my eyes and see the most intense green eyes staring back at me.
I gasp softly as I look at the most handsome boy I've seen in Forks. His skin is pale and smooth. He has a muscular and chiseled jaw with messy bronze hair. When I continue to stare his full mouth curves into a crooked smile, making my knees weak.
"Are you okay?" he asks.
I nod dumbly, my voice not working.
"Are you sure?" He asks again, taking my hand and helping me stand. Almost immediately an electrical shock charges through my body, making me gasp again.
"I'm Edward Cullen."
"Bella Swan," I whisper, amazed that this beautiful creature is talking to me.
"Do you want to eat lunch with me and my family?"
I nod again and as he leads me away I hear the angry huffs coming from Jessica and Lauren.
The memory grabs a hold of my heart, squeezing it to the point where it's almost painful. Tears are streaming down my face. I can't stand this pain. I have to get away.
Turning around, I run away, my only focus is getting to my car and driving away from these memories.
I can see my car coming up; it's only twenty feet in front of me and I push myself to run faster. Because I've never had balance or luck in my entire life, I trip over my feet and feel my body start to fall.
I brace myself for the impact of the hard, unforgiving concrete when a pair of strong arms catch me. I notice immediately the same familiar spark that I felt all those years ago, but I push that thought away. It can't be. He's off somewhere, living the life he's has always wanted. The person holding me is not Edward.
"Whoa, there. Be careful. You don't want hurt yourself."
My eyes snap open at the voice I would recognize anywhere. My fears are brought to life as I realize that it is, indeed, Edward Cullen that is here holding me. I pull myself out of his grasp as he looks at me in shock.
"Bella?" He asks breathless.
"Edward," I say as I look at him with wide eyes. I'm surprised to feel the same energy, the same spark flowing through us. I never would have thought it would still be alive, still be as strong as it was when we were in high school.
I can't believe my luck. Here, standing in front of me, is the one thing I am trying to run away from. I know that Forks is small and that I was bound to run into someone from high school, but I never expected to run into Edward. The last time I spoke to him, he was planning on moving to New York to fulfill his dreams of being a doctor like his father.
I blink my eyes slowly, wishing that they were playing tricks on me. As I blink more and more, I know that they're not. Edward Cullen is standing in front of me and I know he won't let me leave his sight without an explanation for why I left Forks without a word.
A/N: Until I get caught up with my pre-reader and beta, updates will come once a week. Maybe twice a week, depending on if I have time. When I get caught up here where my pre-reading and beta team are, updates will come a little slower, but I'll get the chapters posted as soon as they are sent back to me!