Author: Smile-J PM
An alt past for Bella. A stronger Bella comes to Forks but she wants to keep some things to herself. Who shaped her? What secret does she bring to Forks?Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Bella - Chapters: 20 - Words: 89,746 - Reviews: 193 - Favs: 154 - Follows: 64 - Updated: 02-27-10 - Published: 05-19-09 - Status: Complete - id: 5073468
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
I stared out of the plane window watching the cars on the highway shrink to toys cars before my eyes. The tears welling in my eyes I could hold back no longer. I didn't want to leave but I couldn't hold her back any longer. I hated seeing her so sad. This was easier, I can cope with my own pain but I hated seeing others hurting.
I sat holding the journal mom gave me in the airport. I remembered the tears streaming down her face as she said goodbye. She wanted me to stay but wanted to go on the road and spend time with Phil, her new husband. She had given me the journal for all the times I needed to talk and let go since she couldn't be there and she knew I couldn't talk to Charlie, words aren't his strong suit! No time like the present but where to start...
My name is Isabella Marie Swan, I prefer Bella.
Mom and Dad, Charlie, divorced when I was little. High school sweethearts, I was an unexpected surprise. Charlie did the 'right thing' and they got married. Charlie got a job on the police force and they ended up in Forks. Mom hated the rain, she hated small town life, and she didn't want to be tied to a house with a screaming newborn. Charlie was working too many hours trying to get promotions and pay rises to give us a better life. Mom sat at home trying to do distance learning to get a degree since she had to look after me. They still loved each other but they wanted such different things from life it just didn't work. Mom left with me and took me home to Phoenix. We moved in with her parents. I went back to spend a few weeks every summer with Charlie. Depending on Moms boyfriend situation it was anything from 2 weeks to 2 months.
Gramps and Grandma were great. I loved them to bits. They were parents to me.
I loved spending time with them. I spent hours in the garage while Gramps was working on his creations. He was an engineer; he had retired early and spent his time creating art works out of scrap metal. I loved helping him, I watched, I learned. When the car broke down, he fixed it. I was the little grease monkey running getting him the tools he needed. When anything went wrong in the house he fixed it and I was his right hand man. Grandma said she always knew what Gramp had spent the day fixing since I was covered in it; Oil and grease in the garage, soil and grass stains in the garden.
Grandma was still teaching when we moved back but her health wasn't good so she had to retire too.
Grandma had had Renee late in life. Mom was long wanted and spoiled rotten. I think she had realised that spoiling Renee hadn't done her any favours in the long run so Grandma had used a different approach with me. She taught me independence as young as she could. I watched and learnt quickly. I enjoyed cooking with her but I hated the rest of the house work. It needed doing so I got on with it as fast as I could. The sooner I finished the soon I could get outside and help Gramps.
Mom was next to useless round the house. Even if she did start something she never finished. She was like a butterfly flitting round, never settling long before flitting off to the next colourful flower that caught her eye. I loved it when she played the piano. She never looked more peaceful than when she was playing. She tried a couple of times to teach me some simple pieces but she got frustrated when I didn't learn them instantly another thing that only lasted till she lost interest.
Don't get me wrong, I love her to bits. When she is taking notice she spots more than most people. I would always try and see what she saw when she picked up on something everyone else missed, I think I learned well. I don't try and keep things from her on days like that. I talk to her about most things, she's my best friend.
I got my love of reading from Grandma. She was an English teacher and always had a book in her hand when she sat down. Gramps was nearly as bad when he was in the house. Grandma read everything but loved the classics. Gramps loved cowboy books, mysteries, spy books and biographies. Mom flitted between chick lit, sci fi and fantasy with a few horror books thrown in for good measure. I just read any book I laid my hands on, every book in the house I had read at least once. Pride and prejudice, Romeo and Juliet both had a special place in my heart since as I had such fond memories of Grandma reading them to me at bedtime when I was little
Did I mention I'm a real tomboy? I never did like pink, sparkly things, dolls or normal girl things. I spent most of my time with Gramps and his friends they talked about more interesting things than anyone else. I never really got on with those my own age I couldn't find common ground. I spoke to most of the kids at school but I never really had anyone that I was close to. I got invited over a couple of times but I'd do something daft like go and help their mum make tea or wash the pots or not know anything about the TV show they watched every evening then they wouldn't invite me back. We would still talk but I'm an outsider.
I like to think ever scenario through before taking action but once I have made a decision I a bit like a pit bull and stick to it beyond reason. The only thing is I'm clumsy. I can trip over thin air. I know the ER inside out I spend so much time there. I've gone over on my ankle so many times I can wrap them in my sleep. I own two sets of crutches since I need them so often. I cut and burnt myself frequently in the kitchen. There was a first aid kit in every room of the house and I had a small kit I carried round with me. I got good at first aid young!
I got pushed into dance classes, yoga classes, martial arts classes all to try and improve my co-ordination. I got out of dance quite quickly but I stuck with the others. Learning to fall without hurting myself was the best thing that came from one of the martial arts. I still hurt myself just not as much. I enjoyed running once I learnt to fall without hurting myself quite as often. I started enjoying swimming after having to go to recuperate from a particularly nasty leg break.
I missed Gramps so much when he died. He was too young, too full of life it wasn't fair. He complained of stomach ache for nearly a year and ate antacids like sweets. We just blamed it on Moms cooking. It turns out it was bowel cancer. He died within the week of been diagnosed. I think he knew but didn't want to burden us so he hid it. He was like that.
Grandma wasn't long after with a heart attack in her sleep. I think she was just missing him too much and went to join him.
So I was 11 and I became the parent. It was easier to do all the cooking myself, at least it was edible and I didn't need to buy new pans to replace the burnt ones. I didn't need to repaint the kitchen again from smoke damage. I sorted all the post and paid the bills after Mom forgot once too many times and they sent round the debt collectors. I cleaned the house, did the shopping and did the laundry, scorch marks from the iron on your new tops is good incentive. Fortunately Gramps and Grandma had good life insurance so that gave us an income. Mom did work but the jobs never lasted long, she got bored. She wanted a change of scene. So she moved on to pastures new.
She took it hard when they died. I found ways of getting her to live again. She loved new things, new challenges so I found them for her. That when we started, the classes.
I went with her, she didn't like going by herself. Scrapbooking was the first class we did together. We spent the first 2 years doing the 'girly' classes from cooking to Jewellery making, decoupage to dressmaking, pottery to lace making. Sometimes we managed to complete the entire course; more often Renee got bored and skipped the last few classes. I usually stuck them out, I love learning new things.
The classes changed as more jobs needed doing round the house and garden. The boiler started acting up so we went to a plumbing course. Mom started dating the lecturer, so the boiler got fixed. I finished that course but it got awkward towards the end since she had already broken up with him. We had car troubles so we did a mechanics class.
Mom realised that certain classes were likely males rather than females and that opened up an entire new dating arena. It was better for me than the sorts she had been picking up from her waitressing jobs but I still got annoyed when I was asked to cook special candle lit dinners for them that I got to eat cold in my room.
I excelled at welding. I loved the woodworking classes, I enjoyed working with wood. It was after these classes that I decided to try and finish some of Gramps creations. They had sat in the garage for all these years gathering dust and I wanted to remember him by completing some of them.
I had continued going over to see Gramps friends once a week when they met up, I buttered them up with cakes and cookies. I loved that they were always pleased to see me even after we lost him. They treated me like their own.
One of Gramps old work mates, John lived just up the street. He had trouble getting round but when I started working on Gramps creations he found his way over and talked me through ideas on how to finish them. I set him up on a bench with cushions so he didn't tire himself too much. I enjoyed the company.
Walking him home one afternoon I noticed his swing seat was broken. He spent every evening on it, watching the neighbourhood go by. When I mentioned it he mumbled something about getting someone to come out as he wasn't up to fixing it. I went mad at him, how could he not even think to ask me. I stomped straight into his garage to find materials to fix it. I had to pop home since I had more tools to get it repaired but before twilight he was in his proper place swinging on his porch. After that they all started asking just little things to start with, none of they were as fit as they used to be. I loved being useful. They would buy materials, always buying for extras for finishing Gramps's and soon my own creations. They said that it was the least they could do as payment for services, I didn't want anything. I enjoyed helping them. It didn't matter how much I argued materials or tools would turn up in the garage. I never liked it but we agreed to disagree so I thought.
Word got out that I was handy for odd jobs and I was overrun by jobs all over. I never accepted anything apart from a meal now and then, I was happy to help.
I spent a long summer up in Forks with Charlie. Mom had gone away on holiday with the latest boyfriend; he was a ball player and travelled a lot. I just hoped this one lasted. He balanced her well.
I enjoyed seeing Charlie it was restful spending time with him. No running round, little conversation beyond absolute necessary. The problem was the never ending rain, fishing and sports viewing. I got to take my camera with me. Mom and I had done a photography course and she had let me have the camera. I was snap happy. Charlie had threatened to confiscate the camera if I took one more photo of him.
As usual we spent most of the time down in La Push. Charlie went fishing with Billy Black. He only dragged me along every now and then knowing it wasn't my thing. I spent my time with Billy's girls most years. I missed them this year as they were always out with their boyfriends or too busy with extra credit work so they could get of La Push early. They miss their mum and just wanted out. So this year I was stuck with their kid brother Jacob. In previous years he had just been an annoying kid that got wound up stuck with 'girls'. It was different this year ever since I walked in the garage and passed him the correct wrench when he was working under Red. Red is Billy's truck. Billy can't drive any more, he needs a wheelchair. He wants to make sure Red is still running as Jacob will be able to drive him round in a few years. Jake hates Red as it's so slow but unbeknown to Charlie he drives it round the reservation even though he is years to young for his licence.
Jake and I actually got to know each other. He was amazed I could actually do any work on a car. He was disappointed when I had no interest in cars beyond keeping them in working order. He was very impressed when he needed some welding doing. He had never had enough practice to get good. I made a few tiny creations from spare nuts, bolts and nails much to his amusement. He had laughed at my metal Bambi characters. I had taken loads of photos with them in different poses. We were still laughing and taking photos when we were in the cafe in La Push where we were having lunch. Sue runs the cafe and wanted to know what we were up to. She had decided to decorate the cafe with them; at least she thought they were good! She was sat chatting with us. We heard some customers complaining they wanted to sit out in the rare sunshine. I offered to make some picnic tables if she wanted. I think she was dubious what we would come up with but she was willing to give it a try.
Jake and I went with Red and collected every piece of driftwood we could find on the beach before heading back to his garage. Jake actually took notice and followed my direction while we made tables, benches, chairs and picnic benches with the wood we had collected. We had laughed and joked so much that afternoon. It was as result of the joking that we carved a swan somewhere on every piece of furniture, we used a hot poker to blacken the wood inside the carving. After taking some daft photos on the beach with each piece of furniture, the swans and us messing round we headed back to Sue's.
Sues face was a picture when we drove up in Red with them all piled in the back. She couldn't get over how quickly we had put them together. After some scepticism on the durability she loved our furniture asking how many pieces she could have and cost. We laughed and let her use the lot.
We were unloading when she spotted the swan; she only frowned for a second before the comprehension dawned. And so Black Swan Designs was coined.
We spent the rest of the summer making more Bambi characters from scraps round the garage, furniture from any wood we could lay our hands on and working on Red. We got in trouble from some of the older kids on the reservation when they wanted a bonfire on night but couldn't find any wood. We got let off when they realised every family in La Push had at least one new piece of furniture in their yard that we had made. After that we actually had extra hands to load Red with drift wood on the condition we left enough for a fire. It was a fun summer, the best I could remember.
Mom and I threw ourselves into more classes when I got back. She loved her summer with Phil, the ball player. He had to go away again and she was feeling down. She wanted to see all the photos. It was the photos that triggered the computer courses so I could download them all and 'do something with them'. A web design class caused the birth of Black Swan Design web site. I put all the photos of my Bambi characters as I dubbed them. The driftwood furniture went up then I decided to add all my creations I had hidden in the garage. At least then I had a memory of how bad I was. Fortunately the only hits I had on the site were from me looking at my photos.
A business class triggered heaps of business cards and letterheads. The logo was just a photo of one of our better carvings of a swan. All we need now was something to sell.
I moved Gramps scrap metal artworks that I had completed and many of my own creations onto the front yard. I was taking photos of each piece. I had moved all the pieces outside then grabbed my camera so I had a record of them before stripping some of my pieces down for the next project,
I was black with dirt, oil and grime, sweaty and exhausted when I realised I had an audience. I was mortified when I realised people were looking at my creations. Only Gramps friends had seen the completed work, even mom hadn't seen much of them. She knew what I was doing but had never taken much notice. I tried to head back into the garage when a voice cut through my embarrassment.
"How much will you take for that one?"
I spun round in shock and stared at the man that had spoken. He was a tall gaunt man had walked up the drive and steped onto the lawn with a short roundish women and a little girl in a pretty orange dress. He was pointing at one of my larger wind catchers that was turning and glinting in the sun.
I just stood open mouthed, in total shock and mortification that my projects had been seen, what was he joking, when would the laughter, humiliation and taunting start.
"Are they for sale?" he asked.
I managed to get "Yes" out of my mouth when he started waving dollar bills round.
"Can I put this down as a deposit on that one, I'll go and get my trailer and be back in ½ an hour"
By this time John had made his way to me. He took over and yelled at me to get some paper and a pen. He was mobbed by the others all trying to stake a claim to one piece or another. I set him up on his bench with a table. I even managed to lay my hands on the headed paper for him to use. The business cards were with them so I threw those onto the table too. I ran round putting 'SOLD' on pieces and helping load cars and trailers that morphed out of nowhere taking over the street.
By the end of the afternoon he had sold the lot AND I had orders and requests for more. The bloke with the trailer had made himself quite a bit by delivering some for us. I was in shock still.
John got me into the house and made me a coffee. Most of the rest of Gramps gang had arrived during the afternoon. They had helped out where ever they could. Now we were all sat just looking at each other.
John pulled out the roll of money that he had collected over the afternoon and started counting. We just stared in shock. How much? How much had he asked for? I just sat shaking. What happened?
John had rung round once he had seen the crowd watching me. He told me they were stood talking when he had started the rumour it was a top end designer garden furniture clearance; he had heard people ringing friends and work colleges letting them in on the scoop. He had stood back until the first person had spoken up. Then he had come forward to help me.
He wouldn't tell me how much we had made; he claimed he wanted to make sure the personal cheques would clear first. I didn't know till later he had asked Renee to set up an account in my name as a college fund. They had been putting money in every time I had turned down payment for my help on all the jobs round the neighbourhood.
It turns out just that importune yard sale made enough to put me through college. What I didn't expect was my mobile ringing off the hook and an email box I couldn't keep up with. The number of hits on the web site looked like it had a rocket propelling the numbers. Those business cards spread far and wide.
I had to turn away customers. I spent the weekends creating to order, 2 nights after school creating for fun, home work and helping friends got squashed in there too. During the holidays I worked flat out. Every time I turned down business I had two more offering more money for a Black Swan original.
Fortunately no-one at school had the slightest idea what I did. They had no interest in this ugly duckling!
I slept nearly 4 hours a night. I ran or swam twice a day, first thing in a morning and late at night. I used running as stress relief, it was my time, just for me.
Mom married Phil in spring, I was so happy for her. When I helped her plan the wedding I also started planning the move of Black Swan Designs. Gramps gang kept me out of the lime-light. They were the face of Black Swan Design, if they didn't mind I intended it to stay that way. All the shipping would still be from Phoenix, in one door out the other! Hopefully I could keep the spotlight down there away from me. Jake had found me a large isolated industrial unit and warehouse to buy in Forks. I was having an indoor pool put in if only to be able to swim when I need. I'm not sure how much I'll enjoy running in the cold and wet. I need an outlet, money buys me choices. I had arranged for all my tools to be shipped to Forks. I suppose I could buy all new tools but I love using Gramps tools, hopefully it should be set up by the time I arrive.
Jake and Sue had made a killing on the furniture we had built during the summer when a tourist had spotted the logo on a table. One bench had been stolen before they went round and collected every piece we had made. The sale of the first table had more than covered the cost of buying new furniture for everyone. They sold the rest off, one at once to maintain price. The Bambi metal lookalikes had also sold for silly amounts even with the swan on them. Sue and Jake had gone mad when I wouldn't take any of the money made. They were gifts in my mind, arghhh. We found a compromise and set up a college trust fund for La Push residents. Just for some tables and benches. I still think the world has gone mad.
So I was 16, I had a business with 2 offices. I created the 'art works', junk modelling in my eyes. The Bambi metal lookalikes, we don't call them that but you get the idea, I now make an entire zoos worth of animals anything from an inch across to 100 foot high. The big one was just a scaled up model, we got contractors in to build the large one. They were that popular. Jake continued making more tables, benches, chairs etc from drift wood, he has kept that under wraps that it's him. Most of La push was involved in beach combing for wood; we even resorted to buying and having it shipped in. Both La Push guys and Gramps's gang along with a few youngsters combed their local areas for scrap I could use.
My college fund account now had a fund manager and an income in its own right. The college fund might have been healthy before; now meteoric is the only way to describe it since the company took it on.
I'm way ahead at school but still got in trouble for ditching when the dead-lines for the company were getting tight. Now I have to look forward to making myself invisible in a new school, get everything up and running ASAP while keeping under the radar. I want to remain as an invisible school kid for as long as I can. I hate the spot light.
I have a big order on the books; some interior designer wants some work done. They want to be involved in the design. I'm dreading meeting them. I expect they will think less of me as I'm so young and want to speak to the 'boss'. I can't avoid this one, the fund managers asked as a personal favour. I enjoy playing not this high pressure, high expectation stress. Once this job is over no more, I'm going back to playing on my terms so I can enjoy again.
The seatbelt signs have come on. The plane is coming in for a landing. Am I ready for a new start? Charlie has no idea about my part - time job. Decisions, decisions how much should I tell him?
I just need to remember to call him Dad, not Charlie.