Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight, no copyright infringement is intended. I got inspiration from Nicholas Sparks's novel The Last Song but this story will be one of its own. I also give thanks to Mercy by One Republic for setting the tone.
I almost felt sorry for Emmett, having to drive his kid sister up to Washington and stay with her for the summer, more like babysit really. Mom didn't think Charlie would understand the severity of my disobedience, those where her words not mine. My Moms lack of trust resulted in having Emmett as my overseer for the entire holiday. I glared over the centre console at him, he couldn't even act a little pissed off at the prospect of giving up his summer in Florida, where all of his other college friends where heading. He looked positively glowing at the idea of being stuck in some tiny fishing town, trailing around after me; the least he could do was join in on my sulking. The only reason for his positivity that I could think of was my Mom heavily subsidising him – as long as he played along that is.
He was playing that part right now, some classic music crap that he couldn't make heads or tails of floating out from the cassette player, bobbing his head along, windows rolled down, sunglasses in place, cruising along the monotonous interstate towards hell like he was Mary fucking Poppins. I wondered silently why it was that I couldn't have been born in May rather than August, which was when I would turn eighteen. If I had turned eighteen in May I wouldn't be stuck in the cab of this god awful truck, taken as a prisoner of war towards my father, a man who I hadn't spoken to in three years. At least the end was near, my Mom wouldn't have any kind of legal hold over me once I became eighteen and I was going to fly far, far away.
I leant forwards and ripped my wool cardigan off in frustration, it was roasting in the metal cab of the car and the air conditioner had died twenty years ago when the rest of this heap of junk should have. Washington was sliding into what was going to be the hottest recorded summer in fifty years; my Mom had smiled at me when she said this, like it was some kind of treat. We lived in the middle of the fucking desert, a heat wave in Forks probably resembled a winter's day in Phoenix.
"Wanna stop for a soda?" Emmett asked, nodding his head towards a little shop on the side of the road. It had a few other cars parked, people sitting at dusty plastic chairs and tables, enjoying the heat while they rested for ten after a long drive. "They might even have ice cream?" He smiled, raising his eyebrows. I swear he still thought I was eight years old sometimes.
"No, thanks," I replied shortly, slumping deeper into my chair and flicking the ancient cassette player off with an irritated jab. Mom had given Emmett tapes of my concerts to play the whole drive and I was running out of patience with the subliminal messages, I wasn't in the mood.
Emmett slipped back into silence, something that had reigned over the majority of the long drive. Unfortunately however, due to our close proximity to Forks he thought it was his job to slip in a final lecture before I was dragged onto Charlie's doorstep. "You know Bells, if you'd stop your tantrum for five god damn minutes you might realise that you could actually benefit from spending the summer here."
I yanked my sunglasses into my hair, "Oh yeah and how's that? I'm being forced to spend time with a father that doesn't give a shit about me. What could I possibly learn from this experience?"
"You know that isn't true," he grumbled, squeezing the steering wheel tightly between his fists, his skin turning white.
I sighed, "Can we just not talk about this right now?"
"Fine," he replied shortly.
I didn't want to fight with Emmett; he was going to be my one and only friend for the next two months. Usually we actually got along pretty well but we hadn't spent a long period of time together since my parents' divorce three years earlier. As soon as the proceeding where wrapped up Emmett was packing up boxes to go to college in New York, abandoning me to help my Mom set up her new life in Phoenix. It was actually the only thing I was looking forwards to this summer, spending time with Emmett, we had drifted apart and I hated that.
"Remind me again why Mom is making me do this?" I groaned, noticing the worn out 'Welcome to Forks' sign ahead.
"I already told you, Bella. I spoke to dad last week, he misses you." I laughed humourlessly and got the stink eye in reply, "You haven't taken his calls and you refused to spent time with him when he visited, you brought this upon yourself." He said finally.
"I get it Emmett, I have to spend time with him, but don't you think the whole summer is a little excessive. We could just stay for a week or two and then go join your friends in Florida. Mom would never even have to find out..."
"Unlike some people," he interrupted. "I'm actually looking forward to spending some time with my family." He said giving me a sugary smile as he pressed the cassette back in with a click.
I refused to speak to him the rest of the journey, plugging in my iPod and clicking the volume up to full blast, drowning out the Clair de Lune that floated around the cab. I wondered idly if Mom had told Charlie that I had been arrested and if he would try and act like my father by inflicting some kind of punishment. Then I remembered, it was Charlie, he wouldn't care... all he had ever cared about was the music.
When Emmett pulled the truck up into the driveway he gave me a sharp jab, motioning that I pull out my earphones. I did so reluctantly and wrapped the cables around the player neatly, shoving it into the pocket of my denim shorts. We both looked up at the house silently for a few seconds, taking in the unchanging structure. I hadn't been to Forks in ten years but I knew that Emmett had been at least twice for the last three years, making up for my absence. The house had been my grandparents but when they died it got passed down to Charlie. He clearly thought getting back to his routes and this little, decrepit house was more important than sticking it out in Manhattan with his kids. I didn't remember much from when I had last come to visit the house but I did know it only had two bedrooms, a double that granny and papa used to sleep in and another which had two singles in, one for me and one for Emmett. Not only was I going to have to survive Charlie's company for the next two months, I was going to have to survive Emmett's snoring as well, joy.
I jolted from my thoughts when Emmett tugged my door open, if it hadn't been for his body standing so close I would have been deposited onto the grassy ground below. He caught me and set me straight up on my feet, just like he had been doing his whole life thanks to my unfortunate lack of balance. Once sure I wasn't going to topple again he moved to the bed of the truck, pulling our suitcases out and setting them onto the ground. I had decided to stand and wait but Charlie decided to make his appearance in the doorway this resulted in me scurrying around to the bed, helping to tug the too heavy suitcases to the ground.
I snuck a glance and watched as Emmett jumped up the two creaky steps of the porch and into Charlie's arms, they proceeded to do the mandatory back slaps with huge grins on their faces. Charlie and Emmett had always been more like friends than parent and child, Emmett liked the bustle of the city but could mould into the quiet life of Forks just as easily, fishing for hours on end and watching the game with a pizza and a beer. Unfortunately our greeting was never going to run quite as smoothly.
I dragged my too heavy suitcase across the grassy lawn, pulling up chunks as I heaved it along and stopped at the bottom of the stairs to catch my breath.
"Hey kiddo," Charlie said a little too enthusiastically, making down the two porch steps to try and take my case. "Let me help you with that," He insisted as I yanked my belongings away from his outstretched hands.
"I got it," I grunted, walking up the steps backwards as I pulled it up onto the porch. I smiled triumphantly when I reached the top and Emmett looked at me like I was crazy, his eyebrows rose so high they nearly disappeared behind his floppy mop of hair.
Without another word I proceeded to roll the case into the house and up the stairs, all the while Emmett and Charlie watching at the bottom. Once at the top I rolled it into the small room that Emmett and I would share and heard Emmett's muffled laughter through the door.
"Well, at least she's determined..." Charlie said a smile evident in his humorous tone. I was about to slam the door when I heard the both of them begin their way up the stairs. I groaned and flopped down onto the bed with blue bed sheets. Emmett could have the pink bed, a penalty for his traitorous actions. I turned my head to the side and recognised the faded face of Ariel the mermaid. Why was it that everybody in my family treated me like I was eight?
They both trudged into the room, their boots clacking loudly against the new wood flooring and placed my one other suitcase and Emmett's down with a sigh.
"Thanks Bells, how did you know?" Emmett chuckled, flopping down on his pretty princess bed to match my own position, only face up. I stiffened as I felt the bed dip with Charlie's weight.
"How was the ride?" He asked, pulling at the bedspread, making my calf move closer and closer to him.
Emmett's bed creaked as his huge shoulders moved up and down in a shrugging motion, "It was alright, hot as hell thanks to the air con conking out just as the sun decided to show."
"Huh, we'll have to try and get that looked at before the drive back... How was it for you Bells?"
I turned my head to face the wall, I knew it was petty but it still made me feel a little better, "What?"
"The ride how was it for you?" Charlie continued, ignoring my standoffish tone.
He laughed and I hated him for his accepting attitude, "It sure was, I still can't believe what good time you made. I wasn't expecting you until late tonight."
"Bella drove a bit of it, letting me sleep so we hardly had to stop." Emmett cut helpfully into the silence.
"Well that was nice of you," Charlie said, lowering his hand onto my calf and giving it a quick squeeze before I could manage to yank it away.
With my sharp movement I turned over and pushed myself against the wall, taking in the green walls with glow in the dark sticky yellow stars on the ceiling, still where I had put them all those years ago. "This place hasn't changed at all," I murmured to myself.
"Except for the floor, it's nice dad." Emmett stood and idiotically turned to inspect the run of the mill laminate flooring. The bed jostled me again as Charlie stood up to copy Emmett's movements.
"The radiator leaked and the carpet was ruined so I figured I would go for something a little more modern." Ah, I only had another two months worth of this stimulating conversation. "Anyway, tonight's the party at the beach on the res to celebrate the start of the summer, now that all of the school's let out. I was going to go alone and leave early to come meet you guys but now I guess we could all go."
"Sure dad," Emmett said enthusiastically, making up for me silence.
"I just need to go down to the store and buy one of those packets of potato salads or something, everybody's supposed to contribute something towards the barbeque." I stood, ready to offer to go for him, anything to get out of the house but he didn't give me the chance, "That should give you kids a chance to change." I noticed how he only looked at me when he said this and glanced down at my strappy top, denim short, flip flop ensemble.
"Why are you only looking at me?" I demanded, pursing my lips.
I watched as he shuffled from one foot to the other, "Well, you'll probably get cold, maybe put something a bit thicker on, it gets pretty chilly once the sun has gone down."
"I'll stand near bonfires."
He huffed, "Couldn't you put something a little more... modest on?" He swished his hand in front of my shorts.
"I'm fine like this," I said shortly, walking up next to him and swiping the keys from where Emmett had dumped them on top of the dresser. "I'll go to the store for you though, while you two get changed..."
I walked straight down the stairs and ignored Emmett calling after me as I shoved open the front door and got into the car. Once I was out of the drive I looked back to the house and noticed Emmett standing in the doorway, I guessed he would give me twenty minutes before he came out looking for me.
It only took me until the end of the road before I realised that I had no idea where the store was. Luckily for me a thing like a supermarket was signposted in Forks and I didn't get too lost on the way. I shuffled into the store, wondering whether I should bother trying to put together a nice homemade salad or just go with Charlie's half assed mass produced option. With little thought I made my way over to the pre-prepared isle and down to the fridges. I looked over the options, remembering that I was in Forks and it was slim pickings. I decided it was between coleslaw, potato salad or some weird looking prawn platter but once I realized they all cost under four dollars I grabbed one of each.
I walked towards the checkout and noticed a tall looking guy with messy bronze coloured hair muttering to himself like a crazy person near the spices. I slowed as I walked past; in no hurry to get back to the house of horror and realised he was whispering 'basil' looking lost. I took pity and leant across him, grabbing the little bottle and holding it in front of his face. He took it slowly and turned, unleashing the power of his pretty green eyes and sexy smirk.
"Thanks," He said whilst his eyes lazily looked me up and down.
I rolled my eyes, he was gorgeous and it was clear that he knew it. I reminded myself how I needed to stay out of trouble this summer. This guy had trouble practically written across this forehead. So with an inward sigh at the sacrifice I was making I ignored him as he called after me and paid my eleven dollars sullenly and drove home.
Charlie and Emmett where waiting outside the house by the time I pulled into the driveway and shoved me into the middle as they took a seat either side. They talked all the way to the beach on the reservation, always trying to get me talking unsuccessfully. By the time we pulled up next to twenty or so other cars at the top of the beach I was ready to scream and rushed from the cab, away from the pair immediately.
The beach was set up into sections, to the left a couple of barbeques all pushed together where puffing out smoke, four men standing behind in aprons, large spatula and beers in hand. They were serving out meat to people who were in a line who were moving towards plastic tables scattered about with greasy plates, there didn't seem to be many chairs left. A little to the left young kids ran around with balls or sat in groups chatting, still within eyesight of parents. Then to the far left a huge bonfire roared, completely surrounded by teenagers all talking amongst themselves, sneaking alcohol from hidden flasks into their juice filled cups and ogling each other. There were a few that where brave enough to stand next to the black sea but I wouldn't be joining in, I had seen Jaws. As far as I was concerned anybody stupid enough to go for a 'midnight dip' in the ocean deserved to be a snack. My eyes wandered away from the bright fire and followed the overhead lighting were there where carnival games, raising money for the recently burnt down Church, a couple of concession stands from local shops in town and ice cream truck parked.
Finding two huge wooden tables filled with bowls of salads and sauces I made my way over, pulling open the plastic bag I was still holding from the supermarket. I took each of the packets out and squeezed them in-between bowls of cocktail sausages and cheese with pineapple sticks, peeling off the lids and carefully covering them loosely with some cellophane to keep the flies and sand away.
I was about to leave the table to find an appropriate dark corner to sulk when somebody from across the table asked, "Would you like a plate?" I looked up and found a short girl with curled short black hair smiling at me. She looked to be maybe a year or so older than I was despite her lack of height and was wearing a floaty fuchsia pink dress and aquamarine flower clips in her hair. I looked to her out held hand and noticed as I took a paper plate that each of her fingernails where patterned to match her dress and hair, sensing the possibility of a friend I smiled and took the plate with thanks.
We both surveyed the random mixture of food on the table in front of us silently for a few seconds. Both of us trying to think of something to say when she cut in, "You new here? I haven't seen you around."
"Kind of, I'm visiting my dad."
She looked disappointed, "Here for the weekend?"
"No," but how I wished. "My mom shipped me off for the summer," I sulked.
"Cheer up; it's not so bad around here as long as you keep busy. I could even show you around if you wanted. There are usually a few things like this over the summer to raise money for something, they're usually pretty fun."
I noticed that she still hadn't put anything on her plate and neither had I, "You wanna go buy some ice-cream?"
She laughed and threw down her paper plate, "Definitely, I'm Alice by the way."