Disclaimer: Twilight belongs to Stephanie Meyers. I'm just having some fun with these characters.
This story does have assault mentioned, I wanted to make sure you have a warning in case this triggers trauma for someone.
My eyes scan the living room from the landing, then flick over the foyer. There was no sign of Charlie but that didn't mean he wasn't here.
I quietly make my way down the last few stairs before trying to dart for the door.
"Don't you think that skirt is a little too short for school, kid?" Charlie asks from the doorway of the kitchen.
"It's fingertip length," I mumble in my defense before I give him a little hell. "Besides, where was your concern for my skirt length when I was on the cheer squad last year, that skirt was just as short, Dad."
He's eyeing me but keeping his features schooled.
He regards me now, he's not sure what went wrong before the start of the summer. In June, I was found at a house party almost unresponsive and had to have my stomach pumped. I agreed to the outpatient rehab he thrust upon me.
During that time I wondered if he thought I was turning into Renee, my mother, the town drunk. She left us when I was eighteen months old, never to be seen or heard from again.
He never made me tell him why that night happened and I wouldn't anyway, because I knew what my dad would do.
Now, I was a hermit that only hung out with Tanya and Jazz, Charlie asked once what happened to Alice and Jess, I never gave him an answer.
They now flocked to Rosalie Hale, my replacement. I said no to Royce King and apparently, she didn't. We all make the choices we have to live with.
I wasn't quite bubbly before what happened with Royce, but I was social and polite. Now I just didn't give a fuck.
"If I get a call from the principal, we're going to have a talk about the skirt, Bella," he says in warning.
I nod, gripping the straps of my backpack.
"Bye," I say quietly before shuffling out to Tanya's black Mercedes.
"Hey, bitch," she yells over the music once I'm in the passenger seat.
Tanya Cullen was a force. She had her father's snow-white blonde hair and height with her mother's porcelain features. Her emerald eyes could level an intense glare.
She was the beauty of Forks High but everyone steered clear of her. She was loud, opinionated, and didn't believe in the social hierarchy of high school. She allowed me into her and Jasper Whitlock's fold because Jazz invited me in.
I nod at her, smiling over my shoulder at Jazz in the backseat.
His curly blonde hair is pulled back in a man bun. His favorite black Led Zeppelin t-shirt was holey and worn, along with his jeans. He exhales after taking a puff of his vape pen.
Tanya starts chatting away about nothing, when I feel Jazz squeeze my bicep through my hoodie. I cover his fingers with my hand.
He was the only one who knew what Royce did. He was the one who walked into Mike Newton's bathroom and pulled Royce off me just as he tried to impale me.
I'd known Jazz my whole life, we weren't friends growing up, but he has an easy nature about him that everyone likes. The way he shoved Royce showed he was not to be fucked with, but he left him alone to take care of me.
He helped cover me up and find something to hide my torn prom dress. That was the night Jazz and I started talking.
With the last few remaining weeks of school, I was jumpy and started drinking more to stop all the noise in my head, which led to my stomach being pumped.
After my grounding, Jazz was the first person to reach out to me, and with Jazz came Tanya.
My former friends decided to label me a freak for becoming anti-social and drinking so much that an ambulance needed to take me away to the hospital.
"— so now he's living in the pool house. Like, how does one go from graduating Northwestern and on the path to law school to living in their aunt's pool house?" Tanya rants.
"Wait, someone is living in your pool house?"
"Bella, have you not been listening?" she huffs.
Jazz snorts from the back seat.
"Her cousin, Edward moved into the pool house last night," he helpfully supplies.
"Oh." Is all I have to add.
The ride to school is short, the parking lot full. I let my hair fall like a curtain around me once I'm out of the car.
Jazz comes around wrapping his arm around me as we make our way through the parking lot.
"She had a lot of work done," Tanya says beside me.
I glance up seeing Alice and Jess flocking to an almost unrecognizable Rosalie.
Her heels made her statuesque, her skirt was just hiding her ass, but that wasn't what Tanya was talking about. Her boobs were at least two cup sizes bigger, her nose smaller, cuter, and her lips definitely plumper.
"Jesus," Jazz gaffs.
"Why would someone alter their appearance so drastically, everyone knows she's a fraud," Tan says loudly as we pass.
"Not everyone can be born a knockout like you two," he says, squeezing me and pinching Tanya's cheek.
I feel my cheeks heat at his compliment.
Everyone in the halls is excited on the first day and I can't seem to gather the same enthusiasm. We head to our lockers before homeroom. Tanya is in the East Wing of the building where Jazz and I are in the same homeroom in the South Wing.
"Do you think our schedules are going to be to our liking?" Jazz asks as we enter Banner's homeroom.
"I have all AP classes, nothing is to my liking," I tell him.
He laughs taking a seat in the back of the room, I follow taking the seat beside him. Jess is watching us, shooting daggers of hate.
"Those ladies you used to hang with sure do like to stare," he says conversationally.
"They feed off gossip," I responded.
"You don't seem like the gossiping type."
"I'm not, they became exhausting."
He chuckles, gently kicking the toe of my Doc with his boot.
Banner walks in as the bell rings with our schedules in hand. My schedule as I predicted was all AP classes, Calc, AP Chemistry, AP History, AP English, Gym with Clapp, and Study Hall.
Unfortunately for me, Rosalie is in every single one of my classes. Her cool gaze seems to always be on me.
Before her transformation, she had always been known as the brain. Her blonde hair always swept into a low ponytail, glasses bigger than her face. Her best friend was Reverend Webber's daughter, Angela, she was just as shy as Rosalie.
I had nothing against Rosalie, but felt like she had wanted to be me for a while with the way she stared. As of right now, we were tied for valedictorian so maybe that's where her interest in me lied.
At lunch, I tug at the sleeves of my hoodie as I search for my friends or even an empty table, whichever appears first will be my choice.
My sight sets on the near-empty table in the back of the cafeteria. Angela is sitting alone with her paper bag-filled lunch. I make my way to the back of the room to her table.
Angela's black hair is down, covering her face. She has a cream cardigan over her white blouse and a white pleated skirt with simple white Nikes.
"Hey— can I sit here?" I ask her.
Her head snaps up, brown eyes wide.
I shrug a shoulder at her.
"Uh— sure," she murmurs.
I try to give her a smile, hoping I don't look weird.
I spot Jazz walking through the doors, his eyes look to be searching the room, when they land on me he grins but also looks intrigued with who I'm sitting with.
Though my former friends would be considered the 'popular' kids, my new friends were also considered 'popular' mostly due to their families influence in the town.
Tanya enters next hand-in-hand with her girlfriend Maggie, and her twin brother Pete following behind them.
"Hey," Jazz says with a smile.
"I can move," Angela says instantly.
Jazz frowns at this.
"This is your table, if you want we can find a new one," I say casually.
"You want to sit with me?" she asks skeptically.
My heart pangs for her.
"Yes, if it's okay with you," Jazz answers.
"Okay— I mean sure you can sit here," Angela says.
Tanya approaches raising an eyebrow at me and Jazz. Maggie rolls her eyes at Tanya, taking a seat next to me. I watch as Pete slaps something into Jazz's palm. Angela looks a little overwhelmed by this motley crew.
Jazz stands holding his hand out to me, I take it and let him lead me to the lunch line. He gets one tray and we decide what we want. We get a large fry, two Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies, and two little cartons of chocolate milk.
"Such a well-balanced diet," I tease.
As my words leave me I'm shoved from behind, Jazz rights me glaring at the assaulter. I turn to see Alice in all her cheer captain glory.
"Sorry," she snips moving around us.
"What is your problem?" I snap.
She eyes me like I'm not in any position to be speaking this way to her.
"You were in my way," she shrugs.
"Oh, fuck off, I wasn't in your way," I say.
Jazz places a hand on my shoulder. "She isn't worth it, B," he says nodding to where Mr. Banner is standing.
I loop my arm through his allowing him to take us to the register.
Jazz pays and carries our tray to the table. Tanya, Maggie, and Pete are now heading to get their lunches.
"Want to talk about it?" Jazz asks nudging me.
"Not much to talk about, Alice is a cunt," I shrug taking a fry.
"Sorry," I say around a mouthful of fry.
She shakes her head offering a smile. "It's not that, I'm surprised is all."
"Weren't you and Alice best friends since preschool?"
I shrug but feel Jazz's eyes on me.
"Is it easy to not be friends anymore?" she asks quietly, I notice her gaze on Rosalie a few tables over.
"It sucks, but sometimes people outgrow each other and it's for the better," I say, surprisingly optimistic.
I place my hand on Jazz's forearm giving him a squeeze, he grins stuffing the brownie in his mouth.
"Are you okay?" she asks, causing me to furrow my brows. "With what happened at Jessica's party?"
"She might as well mount him," Tanya says, taking a seat with her and Maggie's tray.
"King said she's like a porn star," Pete says, rolling his eyes.
"She's built like one," Tan adds.
Jazz lays his arm loosely around my chair.
Lunch is pretty uneventful for the rest of the period. It's when I get to the gym I dread the class immediately.
Royce and Rosalie are cuddled up at the top of the bleachers in the gym. Forks Barbie and Ken on display for the class. I opt for the bottom row to keep my distance. Angela takes a seat next to me and smiles.
"Be careful in the locker room, Babe. Swans' into girls now," I hear Royce loudly from my seat.
I ball my fists up wanting to go up there and junk punch him but then I feel Angela's hand on my arm. I unclench my fists letting out a breath.
"He's just trying to get you to do something crazy," she says quietly.
I fucking hated this class.
Once I get to study hall, Mrs. Ramirez has us sign in but leaves not too long after, stating she had to meet with Mrs. Cope about the homecoming committee.
Since it's my last class for the day and I'm already counted, I dipped out of the auditorium leaving the school.
I text Jazz telling him to let Tanya know I don't need a ride. He's in class so I don't expect an answer.
The only beneficial thing about Forks is the town is very small and everything is within walking distance. The school is right next to the main street where most of the small businesses are.
I make the short walk to the diner where it is relatively empty except for one guy sitting at the counter.
I take a seat a few seats down from him so the waitress doesn't have to walk far.
I sit my backpack down on the stool next to me.
Irina, a girl who graduated last year, is the waitress on duty. I remember her from cheer, I found it sad that this is what is out there for some after high school, wondering if this could be me.
"What can I get you?"
"A strawberry shake and a double cheeseburger?" I say not exactly sure of my choice.
"Fries with that?"
"No, thanks," I say.
I turn a little to see the guy looking at my legs.
He's a little older than me. He's tall with a lean build, the sleeves of his faded black shirt are snug around his biceps, I can see the veins in his forearms flex as he holds his book in his hands.
His auburn hair has flecks of blonde throughout, the cut is longer but not as long as Jazz's, his waves are wild, they go in different directions.
"Isn't it early for school to be out?" The guy asks me.
"Isn't it early for a beer?" I say gesturing to his bottle.
He smiles while taking a pull of his drink.
I go through my phone catching Jazz's response.
No problem. - J
I look through Instagram and TikTok, school is not even out and everyone has posted at least three times today. I roll my eyes.
The guy is staring again.
"Yes?" I ask.
He shakes his head only offering me another smile.
His teeth are nice, straight. I wonder if he had braces when he was a kid.
Irina interrupts giving me my order.
I take a big sip of my strawberry shake.
Irina is leaning over the counter trying to flirt with the guy, he only asks for another beer. She frowns but gets him his beer.
I notice he's reading Hemingway. "Is that research?" I ask about the beer before I think.
He snorts in amusement.
"You've read this?"
"Last summer," I told him.
"Was it required reading?"
This time I snorted.
"It was for fun, I'm not a moron," I say, giving him a pointed look.
He looks properly embarrassed. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to imply that you were. So you like to read?"
"Can I give you some advice?" I ask leaning in, he waves his hand for me to proceed. "Run, this town will consume you."
"What makes you think I'm new to town?"
His clothes were worn but screamed expensive, like he bought them to look like that, his watch was designer and shiny. This guy had tells.
"I've lived here my whole life, this is the smallest town, we can sniff out an out-of-towner."
"Why haven't you run?"
"I will." Is all I offer.
I eat the rest of my food before leaving the attractive stranger alone, kids from school start to filter in. I place a ten down to pay. I grab my backpack hanging it off my shoulder, when I turn to leave I'm hit hard from the side.
I feel arms wrap around me, stopping me from hitting the ground.
"Swan, you need to watch where you're going," Royce tsks.
"She wasn't in the way, I just watched you body check her," the guy grits, still holding me. "Are you okay?" he asks softly.
I nod, pushing off his forearms.
"You can go," he tells Royce.
Getting a good look at the stranger off the stool, he's taller than I assessed. He had about a foot on me and a good five inches on Royce.
Royce scowled, moving past us.
I watch the guy pick up my backpack and hand it to me.
"Thanks," I say, taking it from him as I make a quick exit.
I didn't look back as I made my way back to the house through the misty rain of Washington, cold and damp all my life.
Charlie's cruiser isn't in the driveway yet so I have the opportunity to escape up to my room for the night.
I grab a pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt from my drawer, heading to the shower. I start to reflect on my day as the hot water pelts me, my skin crawls at the thought of Royce.
"I can make you feel good, Bella," he says against my mouth as he squeezes my boob roughly.
"Get off," I grunt, trying to push the weight of him off me.
"C'mon, Jess said you have a thing for me," he says, pinning me with his forearm across my chest as he starts to undo his pants.
"No." I squirm, trying to get out of his hold.
He lifts the skirt of my dress up, tearing my thong as he pulls it to the side.
"Fucking stop," I yell, pushing at him.
I feel him pressing at my entrance.
I hear the door open, watching Royce being yanked off me from my place against the wall. I slump trying to catch my breath as Jasper squats in front of me trying to pull my dress down.
I stand in the shower with my forehead against the tiles. I get lost in what happened when I'm alone.
Jazz encouraged me to say something, but a part of me just wants to forget it ever happened. Royce's dad is a lawyer and his family practically founded the town. Although Jazz was somewhat a witness, Royce could spin what happened. He had said Jess told him I was into him, he would use that.
I get dressed, heading back into my room. I slide against the door after I shut it.
I close my eyes and breathe.
A/N: This is Brutal. I'm having some writers block on Long Roads still, not sure when a new chapter will be written. Check these two out and let me know if I should continue. Thanks to CoppertopJ for betaing!