FAGE 8: Soul Mates

Title: How to be Friends

Written for: WitchyVampGirl

Written by: cejsmom

Rating: M

Summary/Prompt used: Bella goes back home to find herself and gets a surprise.

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You never know when you go to find yourself, how you will be found.

Chapter 1

"Kids! You have about fifteen minutes, and then it's time to go! Are you ready yet?" I shout to my two amazing, but drive-me-insane children Michael and Jessica. Their first day of school starts in forty-five minutes, and if I don't give them enough warning, I know we'll be late. Michael's seven and will be starting second grade, and my baby girl turned five last month. Jess will be going to her first day of "big girl"school as she calls it, otherwise known as kindergarten.

I don't know who's more excited, me or them. I've been waiting forever for this day. Freedom! I love my children dearly, but the idea of having five or more hours a day without them constantly interrupting me, asking me millions of question, needing a snack, or stopping them from fighting, is heaven. I'm looking forward to a few hours a day of freedom from the chaos.

I've been lucky to always work at home, especially considering all of the noise and constant chaos in the background. Having decided to finally try and write "the great one," I've realized taking a more professional attitude towards my writing would help make my novel, and me, more successful.

It's one of the reasons for our move back home, well, to my parents' home. I'm still surprised we did it. I'd sworn to myself when I moved away from Forks to attend college, I'd never live here again. Now, fourteen years later, here I am.

"Michael, Jess, are you ready?" I call to them again. Where are they?

Michael was supposed to be brushing his teeth; well, actually he'd better be finished brushing them and making sure his face is clean. I hate to think of the number of times I've been out with him, and his face was a mess. The last thing I need is to send him to a new school with jam all over his mouth and cheeks.

Jess, my little angel, is probably in her room playing with her stuffed animals. I hope she has on the clothes I'd picked out for her. She loves to get dressed in the oddest creations. Usually, I don't mind, but making a good first impression is important to me. I'm not sure if Forks would understand some of my daughter's taste in clothes; leopard print leggings and striped t-shirts weren't the norm when I was growing up, especially when paired with a tutu. However, she always looks adorable to me.

"Mom, do you know where my backpack is?" Michael asks, as he comes around the corner.

"Check the living room. I was going over all of your supplies last night, and I may have left it in there," I reply, bending down to fix the straps on Jess' shoes. She has magically appeared alongside her brother, fortunately wearing the clothes I had picked out.

"Alright, you two. Stand together so I can take a picture of the both of you, and no funny faces either! I want an awesome reminder of my babies' first day of school."

"Mom! I'm not a baby," Michael pouts, giving me the world's biggest scowl. He looks just like his father when he does it.

"Michael, when you're eighty, and I am older than Adam, you will still be my baby. Now, please get beside your sister so I can take this picture and still get to school on time," I reply, snapping away with the camera on my phone. I sometimes wonder why I even bother taking all of these pictures. I never print them. I have a camera and phone full of pictures. I'll have to take a second mortgage out on my house, if I had one, to pay for all the prints.

"Alright, guys, to the Batmobile," I say as we walk out to the car. I'd named the family van, the "Batmobile," a few years ago during one of Michael's "stages". He eventually grew out of wanting to be Batman, but by then, the name stuck. The children loved it, and I got a good chuckle every time I used it. And really, who wants to drive a minivan? Not a cool car at all... much more interesting to drive an armoured fighting vehicle.

The kids climb in, buckle themselves up, and we're off to Forks Elementary. I can't believe my kids will be attending the same school I'd gone to. I'd registered them with the school last week, but still didn't know who their teachers were going to be. As I need to bring Jessica to her classroom and get her settled, Michael insists he'll be fine finding his classroom by himself. I feel guilty because he's going into school alone, but Jess' classroom's entrance is on the other side of the building, and I can't be in two places at once.

"I love you, Michael. Have a fabulous first day," I tell him and bend down to give him a kiss on his cheek.

"Mom, I'm seven now. I'll shake your hand in public, but no kissing," he whispers to me, looking around to make certain no one saw my faux pas.

Laughing out loud, I adjust the straps of his backpack, remind him to eat all of his lunch, and to wipe his face once he's finished. I packed a chocolate pudding for him today and was fairly certain he'd be coming home with it on him somehow. But, he loves chocolate pudding, and I love him. How can I deny the kid? I can picture him though, accepting his diploma when he graduates from high school with a messy face. Chuckling to myself at the thought, I call out to him:

"Bye, Michael. I can't wait to hear all about your day." I watch him as he walks off to join the throngs of other children walking into the building.

Taking Jessica's hand, I say, "Let's go find the kindergarten classroom. I imagine it's exactly where it was when I went here."

- HtbF -

"Welcome to Kindergarten; everyone please come in," Jess' new teacher calls from inside the classroom, her voice vaguely familiar. Once we're inside, I know why I recognize it; it belongs to an old friend, Angela Webber.

"What an awesome surprise!" I say, walking up to her. "Are you the kindergarten teacher?" The shocked look on her face probably mirrors my own.

"Swan!" she screams, laughing as she reaches over to hug me.

"I haven't seen you in forever!" she exclaims, releasing me from her grip.

"It's more like fourteen years, Webber, but yes, it has been a long time. You look as fantastic as ever!"

"Thank you! Actually, it's Cheney now. Ben and I will celebrate our tenth anniversary this year. I didn't know you have a daughter. And what is your name, sweetheart?" Angela asks, looking down at my daughter.

"Jessica," she replies, using her inside voice for probably the first time in her life.

"Well, Jessica," Angela says, "it is a pleasure to meet you. Your mother and I were good friends when we went to school. I'm so happy to have you in my class. Why don't you go find the cubby with your name on it, hang up your backpack, and change into your indoor shoes. After, you can check out the classroom with your mom." When Angela is finished talking, Jessica does just that. I'm impressed to see her acting so maturely, following Angela's instructions perfectly.

Watching Jessica complete her tasks, I tell my old friend, "You don't know how happy I am to learn you'll be Jess' teacher. We only moved back here a few weeks ago, so I'm still trying to figure out all of the details of living in Forks again. It's such a relief to know she'll be in your care during the day; she's an exuberant child, but she loves to learn. I know she'll just shine with you as her teacher."

"Oh, Bella. It's a wonderful surprise and the best news ever to have you move back. I'm so excited to have your daughter in my class as well. I can't believe nobody told me you were in Forks. Are you here permanently?" she asks, a hopeful expression on her face.

"That's the plan. Right now, we're living at my old home," I reply.

"Mrs. Cheney, I have a question for you regarding Sydney's busing. Do you have a minute?" another parent asks, looking at me with an apologetic smile.

"Certainly, Mrs. Stevens, let's go look at the list. Bella," Angela says, turning to me, "hopefully we can have a minute to catch up when you come pick up Jessica at the end of the day."

"I'll make sure to leave some time so we can talk," I say as I leave to look around the classroom with Jess, before kissing her goodbye.

- HtbF -

Driving away from the school, all I can think about is how surprised I am to discover, Angela Webber, sorry, Cheney, will be my daughter's teacher. It makes me realize once I'd left Forks, I had been quite successful at putting it, and mostly everyone I knew here, out of my mind. Still, knowing Angela and Ben remained in Forks reminds me others might have also stayed. For the first time since I'd arrived, I'm uncertain of my decision to return here.

We'd moved across the country this summer. My parents had semi-retired to Arizona soon after I'd left for college. They kept the house as a rental, for the income and in case they didn't like it down there, but had never looked back. The last tenants had a last-minute job transfer, so I jumped on the chance to move in, even if it was temporary.

- HtbF -

Hi, Joey! I hope you find the story is what you were looking for! I was so excited to be given you as my recipient. This is the longest story I've every posted, so I'll be over here freaking out. I'll be updating every few hours or so. Enjoy!

I need to thank Hadley Hemingway, who was such a godsend to me with her beta skills, and Robsmyyummy Cabanaboy, who pre-read and cheered me on. All mistakes are my own creation. Special thanks to beegurl13 who created the beautiful banner for me. I feel so privileged to be helped by all of them.

Thank you, Monique, for the last minute assistance!