A/N: Howdy folks! Here's the new story. It's a M rated AH/College fic. Chapters will be a bit shorter because that's the way they worked out, and I'll be posting every Saturday. I'll let you know right now, this story is a bit of a slow burn. There will be romance (and drama), but it's going to take a while to get there.

Disclaimer: It ain't mine.

A huge thank you to my beta, Heather, for her awesome beta'ing skills. Without her, this chapter would have been a huge mess.

I'm always a bit nervous when I put up a new story, but here's hoping you like it. On you go!


"Forget what happened yesterday, I know that better things are on the way." Better Things by The Kinks

I was ready. No, I was more than ready. I couldn't wait to get away from small town life and start living in the big city, and compared to Forks, Washington, Seattle seemed like a ginormous city. It wasn't that I'd never lived in a big city before, I had, but this was the first time I'd be living in a big city on my own. My parents were nervous about me going to school there, but they accepted that it was my decision, and Seattle was what I wanted.

After high school graduation, I'd been unsure of what wanted to do with my life, so my parents suggested community college. So, I knocked out some general courses and worked my butt off at Newton's Sporting Goods and Outfitters store. It had been hell. Well, it was fine until the owners' son, Mike, start sniffing around. He'd been the popular guy at Forks High who hadn't so much as shown me the time of day, much less had known my name. Needless to say, I was a bit shocked when he started flirting with me one day at work. I shook it off, figuring that I was nothing more than a conquest or a bet, and I refused his advances, but he wasn't deterred. If anything, my ignoring him only made him more persistent. But, eventually, I'd caved in and gone on a date with him.

Before I knew it, Mike and I were exclusive, and we were the "it" couple. You know, that popular and perfect couple that all couples strive to be? Yeah, that was us, and we were blissfully happy. Which only goes to show that I was an idiot. A few months in to our relationship, he started making little comments about my weight, my clothes, and my hair. I didn't think much of it at the time and made the small changes he suggested, not even realizing that I was about to go down a dark path.

Over time, the criticisms became more harsh and more frequent. Mike also became demanding and possessive. He demanded to know where I was or who I was with at all times. I knew what he was doing was wrong, but I blew it off and made excuses to my friends for his behavior. I should have told my parents, especially my dad, seeing as he was the chief of police, but I hadn't. I had kept quiet, and that was a mistake.

Six months after our first date, Mike asked me to marry him despite the fact that we were nineteen, and our relationship had been rocky for the past few months. I turned him down, and that was when I got the shock of my life. We'd been at his parent's house, and he'd made this fancy meal. After dinner, he got down on one knee and proposed. Actually, it was more like a demand. "Marry me, Isabella."

I told him no, that I wasn't ready, and that I wasn't sure I loved him as much as he loved me. That had been the wrong thing to say. I'd never seen Mike so angry. He was furious. No, he was livid. His face turned bright red, his eyes darkened, and he started yelling. He grabbed my upper arms with so much force I felt them start to bruise, and then he slapped me before he called me a whore and a tease and swore I would get what was coming to me.

Now, being the daughter of the chief of police meant that I'd had some self-defense training, but at that moment, I was unable to recall any of it. I'd been terrified and paralyzed that someone I cared about had hit me. He hit me once more, and I felt the skin on my lower lip break, tasting the blood as it began to spill. That was when my fight or flight mode kicked in, and I went ape shit. I started kicking, biting, and yelling as loud as I could, but it only seemed to make Mike angrier. I'd never known fear before, not really, not like that. Mike seemed to have grown larger before my eyes, and he came at me with the force of a bear. Mike rammed into me, knocking me to the ground, and then his fists begun flying. I did my best to protect myself from him, but he still got in more than a few hits. My face felt like it was on fire, and I was certain my nose was broken.

Eventually, I'd been able to get a knee up, and had shoved it as hard as I could into his balls. He let out a yowl before curling up in a ball, his hands cupping his damaged junk, and that gave me the time I needed to get up and stumble for the door. I'd fumbled with the lock before dashing out into the street where I headed to the closest house and banged on their door until someone answered. The police were called, and my dad was livid. If his deputy hadn't been with him, I swear my dad would have killed Mike and tossed his body off a cliff.

I'd never seen my dad cry before that night. I was taken to the hospital to be treated for multiple cuts and bruises, not to mention a broken nose and a busted lip. I'd ended up with six stitches and a colorful array of bruises covering my face and upper torso. My parents were by my side the whole time, and I was incredibly grateful to them.

Mike was charged with assault and battery, and in the end, he ended up being sentenced to one hundred and eighty days in prison and would be on probation for two years. Personally, I felt he deserved more than that, and my parents were furious he got off so lightly, but it was because his dad had a lot of pull in the town. Of course, Mike tried to make the whole thing my fault, saying that I'd provoked him into doing it, and if I weren't such a fat cow and a tease, he never would have had to yell at me. It had all been such bullshit, and I was grateful the judge saw the fallacy in that explanation and stated that Mike's reasoning was that of a typical domestic abuser.

After everything with Mike was done and over with, I decided I needed a new start. A start that wasn't in a small town where everyone knew everyone's business, people didn't see me and whisper about me about behind my back, and I wasn't the poor, helpless victim. I'd started seeing a therapist after the assault, and she was great. She gave me the courage to move on with my life and start over.

"Are you sure about this, Bells?" Dad asked me as we drove the truck with the rented U-Haul to Seattle.

"Yes, Dad," I told him for what seemed like the thousandth time. "I need to do this. I'll be fine. I'll call you guys once a week or even once a day if you want."

"She'll be fine, Charlie," Mom said, reaching over and giving his hand a squeeze. "This is good for her."

Mom was right. This was going to be good for me. Most of my friends from high school were stuck in Forks, working menial jobs. Very few of them had gone off to college. Usually because they couldn't afford it, or they had no aspirations to go. But, me? I decided after what happened with Mike that I wanted to go to college. I wasn't sure what I was going to major in just yet, but law enforcement or psychology were at the top of my list. I knew my mother would probably have a conniption fit if I became a cop like Dad. Even though Forks was a small town, she still worried that he wouldn't come home at night. I think a lot of that fear stemmed from when we had lived in Phoenix, and Dad had worked for the Gang Task Force Unit. It had caused more than a few fights, and they even divorced at one point, but they worked through it and remarried a few years later. Dad loved his job, and he loved our small town. Mom wanted me to be a teacher like she was, but I had no desire to try and teach other people. I'd tried my hand at tutoring once and almost snapped on the kid when he couldn't get the math problems right. So no, teaching wasn't in the cards for me. But that was the great thing about college; you had the opportunity to explore your options before settling on something.

And when it came to choosing a college, I'd done some major research with Mom, throwing out ideas the whole time. I looked at schools near and far away from home, state and private. I took several campus tours and finally settled on one: Edmonton College in Seattle. It was a small liberal arts school with a total of twelve hundred students, and thee campus was only two blocks long. I'd still be near home, but far enough away that I could feel free.

"Well, kiddo, in a few minutes, we'll be pulling into the parking lot of your new residence," Dad said as he signaled to take a left. He pulled the truck past a sign that read Edmonton College, and we wound our way toward the student center. All freshman and new students had to sign in and get their keys to their rooms as well as their class schedules and list of books needed. I was a little nervous, not going to lie.

There was a long line in the student center, and it took a good fifteen minutes before I got what I needed to begin the start of my new life.

"You'll be in Nora Hall, room 201," the guy behind the table said as he handed me my key and room info. I thanked him, gathered up all my papers, and headed back out to the parking lot where my parents were waiting.

I handed my dad the map I was given, and we made our way around the student hall and into the parking lot next to the dormitory. As I got out of the truck, I watched as students, parents, and volunteers carried totes, furniture, and boxes toward the building. Although, watching some of these people, I wondered what they were thinking. Who thought they could fit a couch into their dorm room? I was fairly certain my dorm room wouldn't be as big as the ones on TV seemed to be. I was sort of expecting a room the size of a jail cell, and I'd seen those in person. They were freaking tiny.

"Here, Bella," Mom said, handing me one of the four Rubbermaid totes I'd packed clothes, shoes, and stuff in to. I grabbed the tote from her, and once we each had our hands full, we began the trek toward the building.

Once inside, we headed toward the elevator, but it was jammed pack with people and stuff, so we ended up taking the stairs. In doing so, I got to hear my dad swear up a storm as Mom told him to hush and suck it up. Sometimes, they cracked me up. Thankfully, I was on the second floor and, my room was the first one on the left. I swore Dad almost cried with relief when he realized that.

As I unlocked the door, I noticed two name tags in the shape of suns with the names Bella and Alice written on them. I hadn't been contacted by my roommate nor had I contacted her, but I really hoped she was nice. Both Mom and Dad had told me horror stories about their nightmare roommates from college, and I really hoped I could walk away from college without one of those.

Walking into the room, I was pleased to see it was larger than a jail cell with enough room for the two beds so they didn't have to be bunked. A quick glance around showed that Alice had obviously moved in already or was in the process of moving in. Although, it already seemed to be in its place on her side of the room.

"Isn't that sweet?" Mom asked, and I turned around to see her standing in front of the mirror near the door. Alice had written, "Hi, Bella!" on the mirror in what looked to be lipstick.

I nodded to my mom and set down the tote I was carrying near the bed that was to be mine. Dad told us to start unpacking stuff and he'd go get the next round of boxes. While he was gone, I got my bed made and Mom put away my clothes. The room was pretty sparse, and I hoped Alice wouldn't object to my putting up some posters on the walls. It took two more trips for Dad to unload the truck and U-Haul, and then he collapsed on my newly made bed and closed his eyes.

"Oh no you don't, Charlie Swan," Mom said. "You still have to drive us back. You know I hate driving in Seattle traffic."

"Just let me rest my eyes a minute, Rennie," Dad said, his voice starting to drop off. Mom and I exchanged grins as we watched my dad pass out on my bed. The man lived for his naps, and we loved to tease him about it.

We finished unpacking my stuff and storing my totes in the closet when the door opened, and a little sprite of a girl walked in with two guys behind her. Mom quickly kicked Dad's leg to wake him up, and I couldn't help but giggle.

"Charlie," Mom hissed. "Wake up. Bella's roommate is here. What is she going to think if she sees you sleeping?"

"That I'm tired and worn out from dragging all of my daughter's crap up the stairs," Dad replied as he sat up and ran a hand through his hair.

I rolled my eyes at them before turning to greet the girl I'd be living with for the remainder of the year. I held out a hand for her to shake when she threw herself at me and wrapped me in a hug. I was startled, to say the least, but I managed to return the hug. I wasn't a touchy-feely kind of person, so I felt a bit like a fish out of water.

"You must be Bella!" she squealed, a huge smile on her face. "I'm Alice Cullen, and I'm your roommate. These are my brothers, Emmett and Edward. Edward lives upstairs, and Emmett's on the fourth floor," she said in a rush, never once stopping to take a breath. I was amazed she hadn't passed out from like of oxygen.

I smiled at her brothers and gave a little wave before introducing my parents. Mom was almost as giddy as Alice while my dad eyed the boys and gave them a gruff hello. Mom smacked him on the arm and told him to behave, and I buried my face in my hands. Parents could be so embarrassing at times. Mom and Dad stayed and chatted a while, well, Mom chatted, Dad sort of glared and fiddled around on his phone. Eventually though, they needed to head back.

Grabbing my keys, I followed them outside to the truck in the parking lot. Mom wrapped me up in a huge hug and made me promise to call after my first day of class. I snickered, but agreed, and I let her hold me just a little bit longer. Dad was next, and his hug was just as warm and loving as Mom's. He told me he loved me, and that he knew I'd do great. I hoped he was right. Before they left, Dad handed me a small keychain size canister of pepper spray and told me to carry it with me at all times. I agreed.

I waved goodbye as they drove out of the parking lot, and then I slowly began to walk up the path to the dorm. I felt tears prickling my eyes, but I pushed them back. I wasn't going to cry. My folks were three hours away if I needed anything. So, taking a deep breath, I headed inside to start over.


a/n: Well? Did you like it? Hate it? Feel meh about it? Leave me a review and let me know. I'd love to hear from you. See you next Saturday.