Stephenie Meyer owns these characters... I just wanted to play a bit. No copyright infringement intended. I don't own Twilight and everything here is fictional.

So glad you enjoyed my little tease in the prologue. I hope you enjoy the chapter!

Bella's POV

Chapter 1

It's amazing how much your life can change in a mere eight weeks. It was exactly that long ago that I received a fateful call. Dr. Banner at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle called to inform me that my mother, Renee Swan, was brought into his emergency room. He explained that she had been in a car accident and she had "expired" during transport to the hospital. Expired. My mother was dead.

She left her home and business, The White Swan Lodge, only once a month for supplies. She had apparently gone to Seattle that day. In the notoriously wet Washington state weather, she lost control of her old red truck on a slick patch of highway. I often begged her to invest in something more reliable and safe, but she always resisted. She loved that truck for reasons unknown to me.

Renee's entire adult life revolved around The White Swan Lodge. She told me that place was the true love of her life, second only to me. I was fourteen years old when she and my father, Charlie, divorced. Shortly after that, she purchased the property. Having been on the market for quite some time, she made an offer they couldn't refuse. The White Swan Lodge sat on nine acres of land located in the Olympic Peninsula of Washington. It was less than two hours from Forks, where I grew up. There were meadows and natural ponds scattered on the property as well as a sizeable man made lake. The place brought my mother peace and provided her an opportunity to explore her passion for nature and the environment. I spent my summers exploring the many trails that weaved through the forest near and around the Lodge. I never took the same path twice. I would get lost often, but always found my way home. I suppose those trails were a perfect metaphor for my life.

Growing up, my parents called me a 'creative free spirit'. My parent's unconditional love and patience allowed me to move through life's milestones without the typical drama or issues. Charlie and I had a rather quiet father daughter relationship. He was a dedicated and respected police chief in Forks. I spent many evenings home alone while he worked. This fostered an independence in me that I suppose not many teenagers possessed. When it was time for me to choose a college to attend, my parents both encouraged me to follow my artistic interests. Drawing and painting came naturally to me, but by then my true passion was photography. Eager for a change in climate and adventure, I settled on Arizona State University, my mother's alma mater. I missed my parents but Renee was busy with the Lodge and Charlie was … Charlie.

When I graduated with my bachelor's degree in Fine Arts, I moved closer to Phoenix. I did freelance work for various small publications and began building my portfolio. I liked working for myself, as I'd always been more of an introvert. I was most like Charlie in that respect. I maintained a steady set of clients and lived comfortably in the safe suburb of Scottsdale. I rented a small, stylish one bedroom apartment that I shared with my abnormally large cat, Quil. I didn't make it back to Washington as often as I'd liked to. My equipment was expensive and Renee had taught me the priority of building up my savings. We talked often and I sent her images of my freelance projects. She had planned to have me take some photographs of the Lodge and property next summer for her new website. My parents were both pleased that I found my niche in the world, where I could be productive, creative and content.

My personal life wasn't quite as content as my professional life. Riley and I had been lovers for ten months when my mother passed away. We met one night while I was out with my married neighbors, Angela and Ben. Riley managed the sports bar we frequented on Friday nights. There was nothing romantic about our meeting... or the rest of the relationship for that matter. It was based purely on physical pleasure and while I was very attracted to him, I knew the reality of the future. He was handsome with chiseled features and thick, light brown hair. At 24, a commitment based on sex was perfectly satisfying to him. At 31, I needed more of an emotional connection. I settled for our casual yet exclusive relationship of sex with mind blowing orgasms five times a week simply because it was easy.

I traveled to Washington to attend my mother's funeral. Riley conveniently couldn't make the trip with me. The funeral was small and peaceful. Charlie handled most of the arrangements for me. Once all was said and done, and because Renee loved Sequim, where The White Swan Lodge was, we spread her ashes and created a memorial on the land before it was to be sold. A small bronze plaque was placed beneath a tree near the lake in honor of her.

My heart was heavy leaving Seattle on that rainy Sunday morning. I had arrived alone and was departing alone. I was hurting for my mother, and for my father. The ride to the airport was quiet and full of reflection. Before I boarded the plane my father pulled me into a tight embrace, sharing emotions that he rarely ever did. The shock was wearing off and the reality of my mother's death was sinking in.

When I arrived at my apartment, I noticed an envelope stuck in the door. Fuck. I hoped it wasn't about the cat. I pulled the envelope out and unlocked the door. I pushed it open and sat my bags down. The note wasn't from my landlord or Angela and Ben. It was a worn, ripped utility company envelope with handwriting on the back. Babe... I hope your trip was good. I'm real sorry to do this to you after your mom and everything... but I've met someone else. I just think we should make a clean break. You've got a lot going on and I think it's time to say good bye. You're gorgeous and thanks for all the great nights. Riley. He ended ten months of my personal life on a utility company envelope. I collapsed on my couch and cried. I cried from fatigue, from anger, from loss. But mostly, I cried for Renee and for Charlie. They were the two people that had ever truly loved me. And now one was gone. Forever.

Shortly after my return from Washington, I received a phone call from the attorney hired to handle my mother's affairs. Renee did in fact have a will and I was apparently the sole inheritor of The White Swan Lodge. The Lodge and business was mine free and clear, other than annual taxes and expenses. And since I was her only living relative, I was also the beneficiary of her insurance policies and a very sizeable savings account. Concerns flooded my mind as I attempted to answer the attorney's questions, but the very moment I hung up the phone I knew exactly what I had to do. For the first time in my life, I had a definitive path to take. I promptly began making arrangements to move back to Washington. The few clients I provided generic subject photographs for would continue working with me from my new home. I was determined to continue my mother's dream. I would run The White Swan Lodge myself.

~\~TWSL~/~

I took a deep breath in an attempt to calm my nerves as I pulled up to the large, rustic house. The Lodge was my second home as a teenager and while it looked familiar, it felt so incredibly different. I silently reassured myself. There was nothing to be worried about… I could do this. My mother never would have trusted me with her beloved Lodge if she didn't think I could do it.

With new found determination I pushed open the door of my Volvo and stepped out onto the gravel drive and into the cool fall morning air. I pulled Quil out of his animal carrier and held him close. Clutching the main key to the Lodge in my hand, I took a sweeping look at my surroundings. Everything seemed to be in place. My mother's memory was penetrating my heart and mind as I made my way up to the porch. My mother was for all intents and purposes my best friend. Tears spilled onto my cheeks as the memories and regret of lost years won out. I stood sobbing at the foot of the Lodge for a few moments. The sensation of a light breeze rippled through the tall pine trees surrounding me as if urging me forward. I inhaled the fresh air, wiped my tears, squared my shoulders and took one careful step at a time to the front door and my future.

A/N

So this is where I ask you to tell me what you think so far…

Have to take a moment to tell a special someone here how crazy and picky and wonderful she is…yeah I added the wonderful – don't boss me! *giggle* Flove you! you know I'm talking about you.. :)

EPOV will be next coming up next!

If you like, please consider following the blog… I'm sure I'll post teasers there! .