Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight, but I thank Stephenie Meyer for creating the world and letting us visit. No copyright infringement is intended.
A couple people have asked how often I plan to update. I'm shooting for about once a week. I'm writing ahead, but I currently work 50 hours a week so only have time to write on the weekends.
I really appreciate the warm response to this story, and I hope you continue to enjoy. Please check the notes at the end of the chapter for a couple links to information about blindness and the way people who are blind do the various tasks of life.
I also have a special fic rec at the end.
Thanks from the bottom of my heart to my beta and dear friend, Dooba, as well as to my pre reader and friend d_inspiration. If you haven't checked out their stories, I highly recommend them. Links on my favorites.
Enough chatter, let's get on with it!
Bella spent a restless night, filled with confusing dreams. She had so much on her mind; the move, the new school, Alice... The thoughts all swirled together in her mind, and she guessed the confusion was the true cause of all the crazy dreams. She kept waking up, rewinding her book and falling back to sleep. She couldn't really remember the dreams, just that they made no sense for the most part. There was one dream, however. It seemed to recur off and on through the night, in between the nonsense. She was in the woods, but she felt like she was flying through them. Someone else was with her, but she didn't know who it was. She woke from those dreams, feeling the sense of joy and freedom which had filled her dream self. She wondered if the dream was symbolic of what her life would become in Forks.
She woke early, lying in bed reading for a while. Then she got up, showered and went downstairs to get some breakfast. Charlie was up, reading the paper at the kitchen table.
"Morning, Bells," he said quietly.
Bella poured a bowl of cereal, added milk and put the bowl on the table. She got a cup of coffee and some juice, then sat down to eat her breakfast. She and Charlie ate in silence, enjoying the quiet of the morning with no need to fill the silence with words.
When they were finished with their breakfast, Bella quickly washed the dishes. She went to the refrigerator to decide what to cook for dinner before turning back to Charlie with a question.
"Hey Dad, what do you want for dinner tonight?"
"Anything you want to cook, honey," Charlie answered. "Oh, that reminds me. Do you remember the Blacks? My friend Billy and his son Jacob? You and Jake used to be great friends when you visited when you were a little girl."
Bella thought for a moment. She vaguely remembered a boy who used to tease her and play with her. She remembered running on a beach with him, building a sandcastle together.
"Oh yeah, I kinda remember him," she said, smiling. "I haven't thought of them in years. What about them?"
"I was thinking of inviting them over tonight," Charlie continued. "Billy likes to come here and watch the games on my big screen. He and Jake also wanted to see you again and welcome you home. Do you have something you could fix for dinner that could feed them, too? I can invite them for dinner if that is ok with you."
"Sure, Dad. I'll make lasagna."
"Great, thanks Bells. I'll call Billy and invite them over."
When Bella finished in the kitchen she went back to her room to organize her things. She had just put her clothes in the drawers and closets, but now she set about getting them organized. She wasn't too much into clothes, but she liked to have them arranged by type and color. Then she read for a while, and emailed her mom again. She felt restless. She'd thought the few days before starting school would be good, by now she wished she could just get it over with. She thought about Alice, wondering if they would become good friends. She'd tended to move under the radar at her school in Phoenix, and she didn't mind that too much. But Forks was so small, and there was no way to disappear at a high school with around 300 students. Her stomach rolled from nerves, and she stood up, telling herself to forget about it for now.
Later in the morning, she and Charlie walked down to the strip mall, so she could become familiar with the route again.
"One big change here is that we've got a traffic light at the corner, right before you get to the strip mall," Charlie told her as they walked.
"Wow, Dad, Forks is really getting big, isn't it?" she teased, "and you said there's a Starbucks too?"
"Yeah, they're everywhere." They laughed together.
When they reached the lighted intersection, Charlie showed Bella where to find the pole with the pedestrian walk button. She pressed it, then stood at the curb waiting to hear the traffic flow. When she heard the cars at her side start to move, she stepped confidently out to cross the street. Charlie walked quietly behind her. He had learned about how to orient a blind person to their environment, so he could teach Bella new routes. Charlie had educated himself as much as possible, in order to help Bella be independent and grow in confidence in herself. The effort was paying off now that she was living with him. He was glad for those early years of learning all he could, as he watched his daughter move confidently.
When they reached the opposite corner, Charlie directed Bella to turn and walk up the sidewalk along the driveway into the strip mall.
"The sidewalk will take you along this driveway, and then it will follow along the front of all the stores. You've got the Starbucks, then the liquor store, then a drug store, a deli, a hair place and the grocery store."
Charlie named the stores as they walked past. Bella tried to remember them all. Some were new, and some had been there before.
"Ok, Bells," Charlie said after a while, "we're at the grocery store now. Do you want to go in and find the customer service counter?"
"Yeah, Dad, let's do that," she answered, "Then they'll know who I am when I come in and ask for help with my shopping."
On the way home they stopped at the deli for lunch, chatting about nothing important, making their way home to prepare for the blacks visit. Bella felt comfortable with the route. She had managed well in Phoenix, and Forks was tiny in comparison. She felt confident about this aspect of her new life.
When it was time to prepare dinner, she brought her binder of Braille recipes down to the kitchen, sending Charlie off to the living room with a beer, to keep him out of her way. She listened to her book as she sautéed onion, grated cheese and browned meat. She finished assembling the lasagna, putting it in the oven to bake, then prepared a salad. Charlie's diet was deplorable, and she was determined to get some better food into him. At least to get him to eat salad now and then with his meal would be something. She set the table, then grabbed a coke and joined him in the living room.
"When are the Blacks arriving?" she asked as she sat on the couch.
"Oh, they'll be here in half an hour or so," Charlie replied.
"Cool. It should be fun to catch up with them."
"I was thinking I'd go down to the station tomorrow while you're out with Alice," Charlie said. "Do you know what time you're going?"
"No, we didn't really settle on a time. I think I'll call her now, before the Blacks get here, in case they stay pretty late into the evening."
Just as she decided to make the call, the phone rang. Bella told Charlie to relax and went to answer it.
"Hi Bella, it's Alice," she heard the bell sound of Alice's voice.
"Wow, Alice," Bella laughed, "I had literally just decided to call you to confirm plans for tomorrow. You must have read my mind."
"Not me," Alice giggled, "I'm not the mind reader."
She laughed again, as though at an inside joke and Bella found herself joining in the laughter. Alice's laugh was contagious.
"So, what time shall we go tomorrow?" she asked.
"How about if I pick you up from your house about nine?" Alice suggested. "Then we can get some shopping in before lunch and have time for more shopping after, while the stores are still open."
"Alice, all day? I don't need that much stuff, you know."
"Oh Bella," Alice seemed to sing the words, "You'll soon learn that for me, shopping is a lifestyle choice! We'll need all day, believe me."
Bella could only laugh and agree. Somehow, she could not refuse Alice anything it seemed.
They said their goodbyes and hung up just as there was a knock at the door. Charlie went to answer it, and Bella headed to the entry to greet their guests.
In the Cullen house, Alice was bouncing up and down with delight after her conversation with Bella. She smiled to herself, thinking of Bella's mind reading comment. Alice had seen Bella's decision to call, and so she had called first in order to minimize the risk of Bella's call coming when she was near one of the others. She decided to call Carlisle and ask about having a family meeting. After all, though she had no intention of telling them the content of her visions, she did need to say something. She was taking a human girl shopping the next day, and she would be involving herself in that girl's life deeply, beginning at school on Monday. They had never done this kind of thing before, and the family would need some kind of explanation.
"I'm going for a quick hunt," she spoke to the house at large, knowing they would all hear her, "I'll be back soon."
"You want some company, Darlin'?" Jasper came up to her, draping his arms around her from behind.
"No, that's ok," she smiled over her shoulder at him, and then turned in his arms to give him a sweet kiss.
"I get a strong sense of determination from you, Darlin'," Jasper said, "What are you up to?"
"I'll tell everyone about it this evening," she promised, looking into his eyes with a look she shared only with him, "I have a couple details to think through, a few little things to figure out. I promise I'll tell you soon."
They stood there, silently, just gazing at each other. At last, Jasper nodded and let her go. He went back to continue the chess game he was playing with Edward, and Alice left, pulling out her cell phone once the door had closed behind her.
When she was sure she was beyond Edward's mind reading distance, she called Carlisle.
"Alice?" he questioned, "What can I do for you?"
"Carlisle, I think we should have a family meeting to discuss Bella," she told him. "Not everything, not the visions about Bella and Edward, not yet. Every vision I have shows him leaving if I tell him before he meets her. But I'm taking her shopping tomorrow, and I'll be with her at school. I just thought I should explain something to the rest of the family. You need to be there to back me up, since you are supporting me in this. I've looked at the different outcomes, and it works out best if you're there to tell them how you feel about it."
Carlisle smiled as he listened to his daughter. Her enthusiasm always delighted him. Alice was full of joy, and Carlisle loved her for it.
"Very well, dear," he told her, "I should be home in about an hour. Let them all know we're having a meeting when I get there."
"Thanks, Dad!" Alice laughed.
Carlisle never grew tired of hearing one of the kids call him 'dad.' They didn't do it often; he wasn't really father to any of them. But in the ways that counted, he was their father, patriarch and mentor. He smiled as Alice hung up and began to prepare himself for the argument they'd be having when he got home. Without the details of Alice's vision, nobody would understand why they were getting involved with Bella. He knew they'd go along with it, since he supported Alice in this, but he also knew that at least half would not be thrilled. He sighed and returned to his paperwork.
Bella reached the front door as Billy and Jacob were entering. She remembered that Billy was in a wheelchair, just as she heard the wheels moving quietly along the floor.
"Bells, remember Billy and Jacob Black," Charlie said.
"Hi Billy. Hi Jacob," Bella smiled.
"Hello, Bella, welcome home," Billy's voice was deep and rich, like warm chocolate, she thought. He was the chief of his people, the Quileutes, and the tone of authority rang in his voice. His words made Bella feel even more truly home.
"Hey Bells!" Jacob reached out and hugged her tightly.
Bella laughed at him, hugging him in return then stepping back from him.
"Dinner is almost ready," she said. "Why don't you all go watch the game with Charlie while I finish up. Billy, would you like a beer? Jake, what about you?"
"Thank you, Bella," Billy said, moving toward the living room, "a beer would be great. Jake, why don't you go help Bella?"
Jacob followed Bella into the kitchen. He remembered her as a little girl, a year or two older than he. They played together during her summer visits to Forks. She'd never wanted help back then and was always trying to do anything the other kids were doing. They hadn't seen each other in a long time, and he was amazed to see how beautiful she was now. He pulled out a chair from the table and flopped into it.
"I know you don't want me to help you, do you, Bella?"
"Nope," Bella said, "but here, you can take this beer to your dad."
Bella pulled the lasagna out of the oven, then got the salad from the refrigerator. She put the food on the table, making sure everything was there and called the others to dinner.
Everyone loved the food, and the conversation was lively. Jacob filled her in on the happenings at the reservation and asked dozens of questions about Bella's life in phoenix, as well as the various trips she and Charlie had taken in the past few years, in lieu of visits to Forks.
"So, Bella, are you excited about starting at Forks High on Monday?" Jacob asked, helping himself to more lasagna.
"Excited? I don't think that would be the right word to describe my feelings," Bella laughed.
"I know you're nervous, Bells," Charlie said, "but hopefully having a friend already will help, don't you think?"
"Definitely," Bella replied, "I'm actually looking forward to spending time with Alice."
"Yes, Alice Cullen is a sweetheart. All those Cullen kids seem great, quiet and well-behaved, very devoted to each other." Charlie's tone was firm, as though his words held some significance unknown to Bella.
"Did you say Alice Cullen?" Billy asked.
Bella explained about Alice, wondering why Billy sounded so angry at the mention of Alice's name.
"Charlie," Billy began, "do you think this is wise? I've told you—"
"Jake, why don't you help Bella clear the table?" Charlie interrupted.
When the teenagers had left the room, Charlie turned to Billy.
"Look, Billy, I know you have some grudge against the Cullens. I know you won't let your people even go to the hospital out of some twisted thing you have against Dr. Cullen. But Alice has been nothing but kind and friendly to Bella, and I won't have you saying anything against her."
Billy started to say something but changed his mind. There was silence for a few moments, and they could hear Bella and Jacob washing the dishes, chatting.
At last, Billy sighed and shrugged, moving to the living room to finish the game.
"Ok, Charlie. But we'll be watching."
Charlie laughed and settled in to finish the game.
When Alice heard Carlisle's car nearing the turn off to their home she ran into the living room, seeming to bubble over with excitement. Jasper could hardly contain the feelings he absorbed from her.
"Calm down, pixie," Emmett laughed. "What's it all about anyway?"
"Family meeting everyone," Alice said. "Carlisle is home, and we need to have an important discussion."
"What the hell is this about?" Rose asked.
"Are we finally going to learn what you've been hiding?" Edward asked, coming down from his room where he'd been listening to a CD.
Alice ignored their questions. She smiled and sat at the large dining table they used for conferences like this.
"I'm not revealing anything yet," she laughed, "but Carlisle knows everything and is supportive. You'll all know almost everything soon enough."
Esme went to the door to greet Carlisle and they walked toward the table arm in arm.
As Carlisle seated himself at the head of the table, he looked around at his family, gathered around him expectantly. He knew they'd be confused, or angry, or accepting, depending on who it was. His support of Alice's plans would mean they'd all accept it, and that was enough for now. He would be monitoring the situation, and if Bella really did bring all the things into Edward's life that Alice's visions had indicated, he would stand by his support 100 percent.
His glance lingered on Edward's face for a moment, then he looked to Alice and began.
"Before Alice tells you what is going on, I just want to let you all know that she came to me first to ask my opinion. After she explained everything to me along with her reasons for wanting to get involved, I gave my approval. But now, Alice, why don't you explain about your visions and your plans?"
"The other day, while I was planning my trip to Paris over Spring break, I had visions of a human girl," she began without preamble, "I saw in my visions that this girl was going to become very important in our lives. I also saw that without our intervention, terrible things would happen to her and that without her, something very special would be missing from our family, forever. She's going to bring some changes we all need and want."
Other than Carlisle, everyone in the room was shocked. Their reactions ranged from anger to curiosity. Edward was bombarded with their thoughts as they tried to grasp what Alice had revealed.
This is going to be fun, Emmett thought.
I can't wait to meet her, whoever she is, Esme was already feeling motherly.
Darling, what are you up to? This is so dangerous. I need to plan damage control. Jasper was indulgent toward his wife but worried about the repercussions.
Damn it, Alice, what the hell are you up to now? Your crazy impulses are going to bring trouble and we'll have to move again, Rose was outraged.
Edward was baffled. They had never gotten involved with a human, and he couldn't understand why Alice was proposing that they do so now.
Only Carlisle's and Alice's thoughts were calm, and still hiding things.
At last Esme asked a question.
"Who is she?"
"The girl is Isabella Swan, Bella," Alice explained. "She's Charlie Swan's daughter. You remember hearing that she's moving to Forks? Well, she's here now. My visions have shown me that she is vital to our family, and that she is going to be my best friend."
"Look Alice," Rose spat, "we don't become best friends with humans. There's no way in hell that a human girl can be vital to us, as you say. Why don't you just tell us what you are up to now?"
"I can't tell you everything, not yet," Alice said, not at all bothered by Rose's angry reactions. "There are things you can't know for a while. But I swear I've told Carlisle everything, and he's fine with it all. That should be enough for any of us."
Edward tried to see into her mind, but Alice was still blocking him. He sighed.
"Why don't you tell us what you are planning, Alice," he said in exasperation.
Alice began to speak very fast. Only a vampire would be able to understand her. She was excited and wanted to try to get the others to accept it at least.
"Ok, so Bella is Charlie's daughter, moved here from Arizona just this week. She's starting at Forks High on Monday, and I've already volunteered to meet her and help her out the first few days."
"What do you mean about volunteering to help her?" Jasper asked.
"Oh, I forgot to mention, Bella is blind. I volunteered to help her learn the school, read textbooks, take notes, whatever. We're going shopping tomorrow, too. I've got a copy of her schedule, and one or the other of us is in almost every class with her. I was hoping we could all do reading for her at least, until she gets her books in other formats."
"Oh dear, it's so kind of you to offer to help her," Esme started to say, but Rose interrupted.
"So, Alice, you are going to get us mixed up with a human, just so you can play the helpful little friend? You'll put us all at risk just to make yourself feel good about helping some blind human girl? Are you crazy?"
"That's enough, Rose," Carlisle said. "I know why Alice is doing this, and it's much more involved than Alice wanting to be friendly with a human."
"Then why don't you enlighten us?" Rose snapped.
"Carlisle," Edward said, "you know this is dangerous. What if she figures anything out about us? This has the potential to bring the Volturi down on us."
"Oh come on everyone," Emmett laughed, "this is going to be fun. We all know how much the pixie wants to be friends with the humans. Seriously, Bella can't see. How do you expect her to figure out about us? I'm in, pixie. I'll help if I can."
Alice smiled at him, and Rose hit the back of his head.
"Sorry, baby,' Emmett kissed Rose, "I just don't see the harm in it, and if Carlisle has agreed with it, it must be ok. I'm willing to give it a chance and see what happens."
"Alice, I'll stand with you in this for now," Jasper told her gently, "but in the meantime, I'll be making contingency plans, just in case it all goes wrong. I'll talk to Jenks to make sure we have any paperwork needed for a quick disappearing act."
Alice turned to Edward.
"You've been pretty quiet during the discussion, my brother," she said in her thoughts, "what are you thinking? Will you work with me and befriend Bella?"
Edward looked at her for a long moment, then he shrugged and nodded.
"Ok, Alice. I don't know what's going on, but I'll play along for now."
Alice squealed, jumping from her seat to hug him.
"You won't be sorry, Edward, I promise you."
"Well, Mike Newton is already having indecent thoughts about her, and Jessica is planning to be her friend if it will be good for her socially. I'm inclined to think even vampires have got to be better friends than Jessica and Lauren, and nobody deserves Newton's vile thoughts."
Alice laughed, clapping her hands.
"Rose, do you want to shop with us tomorrow?"
Rose shook her head. "This family is losing its collective mind and I refuse to be a party to this."
"Look, Rose, at least be civil, ok?" Alice pleaded, "I'm planning to stop by the house with her after shopping tomorrow, you know, just casually introduce her. Please don't be rude when you meet her."
"It will be lovely to meet her," Esme smiled her encouragement. "I was going to suggest that you bring her by the house after shopping, so we can all get acquainted with her."
"I guess that's all then," Carlisle stood up, "I expect everyone to behave civilly to Bella when you're around her. You don't have to be her friend or get involved, just be polite."
He moved to Esme, kissing her sweetly. Together they left the room, and the others scattered.
"Let's take a walk, Darlin'," Jasper said, taking Alice's hand.
Rose had already left the house for the garage, where she could work on cars in an attempt to calm her anger. Emmett followed her outside, hoping to help her relax. Edward went to his piano, thinking about Isabella Swan, wondering what significance she would hold for the family. Softly, he stroked the keys, letting the music come without thought. He played for an hour, as he wondered what possible significance she could hold specifically for him.
Next chapter, shopping with Alice, and something you've all been waiting to happen.
For information on all aspects of blindness, please check out the web sites of the two major consumer organizations of the blind.
The National Federation of the Blind
Www nfb org
The American Council of the Blind
Www acb org
And for a fic rec: if you haven't read Drotuno's incredible angel trilogy, I don't have words strong enough to say how great these stories are. Broken Angel, Angel's Embrace and currently in progress, Angel's Promise. Edward returns two years after New Moon to find Bella in an abusive relationship. Their lives, along with the rest of the Cullen gang follow into love and adventure. Truly, the Cullens in this story are some of the best I've read. Here's the link to the first story.
www fanfiction net/s/5134656/1/Broken_Angel