Author's Note: Figured I should post this too since someone mentioned that still I owe you all a Bella/Queens story. Just know that the biggest reason I haven't posted this even though I had written this awhile ago was because I had gotten stuck halfway through chapter two, and was afraid that I wouldn't be able to push past it. But I think I can do it once my writer's block is gone, so I figured I'd post this now just so everyone knows I haven't forgotten about it. Once again, no story impacts another's progress. If I'm not updating a story, it's not because I'm distracted by other stories that I'm writing, but it's because I'm stuck on that particular story and figured updating something is better than agonizing over a single story only to update nothing. Hope you guys like it, as I know it's probably not what you all expected. Thanks for reading!
"She's just so...abnormal."
"That girl is dangerous. I don't want her around my children."
"She scares me. There has to be something wrong with her."
"I don't blame her parents for abandoning her; she's just so creepy."
More and more voices of those who had abandoned and shunned her floated around Bella's head as Bella, dressed in only jeans and a hoodie with the hood covering most of her face, stared out at the streets of New York City from under an overhang. She watched the few people scurry around, many trying to cover their heads with random objects due to the sudden torrential downpour. Nearly all were soaked to the skin, and those who weren't were still hit pretty hard from the rain that seemingly came out of nowhere.
Bella was the only one completely dry, safely protected in her deep little nook.
She had always had a love/hate relationship with the rain. While a rainy day was one of the few ways Bella could walk along the streets without being given so much as a terrified look, mostly due to people keeping their heads down and running to avoid mother nature, so many bad things had happened when it rained as well. She had been abandoned by many, including her parents, had been abused, had been stabbed, had been shot at so many times over the years, all on rainy days.
Bella wasn't sure why, exactly. Maybe there was something about rain that made people want to give up, made them turn towards the darker side of their nature. There also seemed to be something wrong with Bella, something that affected and darkened people just like the rain did. Of course, Bella didn't blame them for it; she had long gotten used to being wary whether it rained or not.
Originally, after having been kicked out of the foster system at sixteen, Bella had been drifting, traveling, trying to survive and find a purpose; perhaps even find a reason she had such a horrible effect on people.
However, she had given up soon, and simply traveled in an attempt to not cause trouble. A little while after she had turned eighteen, Bella had decided to travel to New York, simply in hopes that she could blend in. The city was a place where all sorts of freaks gathered, after all, so what was one more?
It didn't take long for her to realize that even here, in a city that supposedly accepted all types of weirdness, Bella was still a freak. She was still someone who scared strangers and was either avoided or confronted. Nowhere was safe for her.
The voice startled Bella-she had been sure she was alone only moments earlier-but she didn't show it. Instead, she simply tensed, preparing herself for confrontation, and turned to meet whoever might have talked to her.
It was a woman. A gorgeous, mahogany haired woman, who appeared to have also escaped the rain, safe for a few wet patches here and there. And when Bella met the woman's gaze-a surprisingly vibrant red that had to be contacts-the woman's smile didn't falter. Not even when she got a direct look into Bella's own eyes, one of which was an icy, chilling blue, the other a dark and strange gold.
In all of Bella's years on this planet, nothing had surprised her more than that smile staying fixed on the woman's face.
Something-possibly Bella's heart-crumbled into dust, and she felt her body ache.
Never before had someone smiled at Bella, not like this woman did. There was the fake, plastered smile that many wore when trying not to show their true emotions on their faces, or gazes filled with disgust and hatred. Even her own parents, who were supposed to love her unconditionally, hadn't done more than attempt a fake smile when looking at Isabella Swan.
"I'm Heidi," the woman said, holding out her hand, which was the next big surprise of the evening.
Not only did the woman smile at Bella, but now she wanted to touch her? Nobody ever wanted to touch her.
Hesitantly, warily, Bella reached out with her own hand, taking the other woman's in a limp, weak grasp.
"And you are?" Heidi asked, undeterred by Bella's weak response.
"Bella," Bella said, shoving her hands in her pockets, as she glanced away from the woman, wondering what she could want.
"Well, it's nice to meet you. I always find that I get the greatest surprises on the ugliest of days," Heidi said cheerfully. There was a brief pause, as if she was waiting for Bella to say something, but after a moment, Heidi kept talking. "So, what are you doing hanging out here in a place like this? Are you just waiting for the rain to let up?"
Bella shrugged awkwardly. She wasn't used to having human contact like this; she hadn't talked to someone, even saying so much as a brief hello, since she had spent time in the foster care system. "I have nowhere else to go," she said reluctantly, still feeling Heidi's expectant gaze locked on her face.
"Oh, I see." Strangely enough, Heidi didn't sound upset or awkward about Bella's strange answer. If anything, she sounded...pleased?
There was another brief silence, and while Heidi seemed relaxed and at ease, Bella was tenser than ever before. But who could blame her? A lot of people would, actually, but had Bella been a normal person, they surely would have understood. Bella was in brand new territory and already lost.
If only the rain would just let up so Bella could run without getting soaked-all she had was either on her body or in her backpack and she didn't want to ruin it-then Bella would be gone. A part of her would regret it deeply later, but when she did run, she'd feel nothing but relief.
"You know, I'm only here on vacation," Heidi started up. She turned to Bella, smile still in place, despite the fact that Bella would only occasionally glance at the woman from the corner of her eye before looking away. "I was actually supposed to meet someone here, take them back to my country, show them around, and then they'd fly back."
Bella nearly frowned in confusion. Where could this woman be from? It didn't sound like she had any accent.
"Anyways, while my friend bailed, I can't refund the tickets. So perhaps you can come instead?"
At Heidi's suggestion, Bella turned to face her with wide eyed surprise. What kind of person would just randomly suggest something like that? Bella could be a serial killer for all the woman knew.
"I know it's strange," Heidi admitted, seeing the look on Bella's face. "But I can tell that you're a good person, and I really don't want to waste these tickets. If you go, I promise you all your needs will be taken care of; you won't have to worry about money or anything." Then, low and behold, Heidi held out an envelope.
Bella took it automatically and peeked inside to find that there was a piece of paper that would be exchanged for a plane ticket at the gate, set to leave for Volterra, Italy tomorrow. There was another confirmation, this one for a hotel room.
"Oh, wait," Heidi said quickly, taking the envelope back, but only to write a number on the front of it before handing it over once more. "That's my phone number," Heidi explained as Bella glanced down at it. "You know, so you can call me if you want to go."
Still stunned, Bella looked up at the woman once more, only to nearly get blinded by the sun as it just started to peek out of the horizon.
"Shoot, I've gotta go," Heidi said as she stepped back, at first seeming to hide from something in the shadows. She touched Bella's arm, and Bella heard her say, "Please, please come. I know it will be a lot of fun."
Before Bella could even think to answer, or even look up at the woman, Heidi had disappeared.
Still unable to process what had just transpired, Bella once again looked in the envelope to make sure the contents were still real. And then, she wondered if she should really go, or if she should just trash the envelope and continue to live her fucked up life.
Logic dictated she trash the contents. The entire situation was just too strange and, Bella had to admit, dangerous. What kind of person would just hand a stranger a plane ticket and hotel reservation, not to mention her phone number? It just made no sense, unless she was going to try to kidnap Bella or something stupid like that.
Bella had to laugh at the thought of someone kidnapping her. There was a person who had tried before, intent on killing her, but they hadn't gotten very far, hadn't even managed to drag her down an alley. And then...well, Bella didn't like to think about the gruesome thing that happened to him afterwards.
As she thought this, her eyes once again wandered to the envelope she was clutching in her hand, and a sense of longing overtook her. It wasn't the trip that tempted Bella, it was Heidi. Or, more specifically, the fact that someone, after so many years, hadn't even flinched when they met Bella's eyes. She had managed to be warm and sweet, without any hints of fear or disgust, throughout an entire conversation; one that Heidi herself had started.
It made Bella crave more. She wanted to be around people who wouldn't be scared, who might actually be able to like her. And perhaps Italy was a different country. Perhaps there was a chance that she would be more accepted there.
The rain had really started to let up now, and Bella noticed a few people were dropping their umbrellas and starting to walk straight and slow instead of the hunched, hurried pace of someone struggling to get out of the rain and to their destination as quickly as possible. Realizing that this meant people might notice her soon, Bella shoved the envelope into her pocket, pulled her hoodie more firmly over her eyes, and started to walk at a hurried but inconspicuous pace towards her "home."
After meeting Heidi, Bella felt like she couldn't handle anyone else's stares right then. If she started getting them, she knew that her strange, almost happy emotional high would come crashing down, and wouldn't come back up.
It wasn't long until she made it to her destination; she had only left it in the first place because she was hungry. She stared up at the tall, decrepit building for a moment, imagining it as some hotel in another country. Before she could fall too deeply into that fantasy, Bella shook off her thoughts and walked around to the back, where a ladder was waiting for her. The ladder, sadly, was currently the only way to get into the building, as the front doors had been blocked off. The entire building was actually scheduled for demolition soon, which made it a perfect place to hide for Bella.
The climb to the third story and the broken window was quick and easy, and Bella hopped inside. She dropped her backpack, kicking aside various wrappers and other trash, before making it to the heap of towels and rags that was her bed.
For the rest of the day, she didn't move from her spot. Instead, she fidgeted with the envelope. She took everything out, examined it, but it back in. Took it out again, maybe considered the phone number...trying to think about what she should do. Wondering if going was really worth it, considering something horrible might be waiting for her.
All that she might see, experience-her first plane ride alone was a big deal. But she had no idea what to do, and her only ID was old, possibly outdated. Bella knew that ID was necessary to board a plane. And it would be another country, a country whose language she didn't know.
Still, it could be a fresh start, if only for awhile. There was always the option of flying back in a few days, she had the ticket for it.
It took a long time, well past the time the moon rose and well into the dawn, that Bella stopped staring at the envelope. She had made a decision.