· I own nothing but Scarlett and her parents J Hope you like!

October 18 – my birthday. Today was not just any birthday, though, it was my 18th birthday. Today is the day I have sworn most of my life that I would move away from my mother and her current boyfriend. My mother and I never had the best relationship from the start. I still remember the day she split from my father. I was 14, and my brother Jared was 16. We had been sitting in the living room watching Jeopardy (that was his favorite show…he was what some would consider nerdy), and then my father busted through the front door. I had never seen him so angry before. My mom trailed in behind him like a guilty puppy, her eyes filled to the brim with tears.

Jared and I stood up abruptly, as my dad pushed past us to stomp up the stairs. Jared did not give mom a second glance, and bolted up the stairs after him. I rushed over to mom, and placed my hands on her shoulders. She wouldn't make eye contact with me as I begged and begged to know what happened.

"Your father," She cried out.

"What? What is it Mom?" I asked, beginning to cry myself.

She looked at me solemnly then said, "He's leaving me. He doesn't love me anymore."

My heart felt like it was no longer beating and I felt like I had gotten the wind knocked out of me. I was quiet as I heard my dad slinging stuff around upstairs and Jared pleading with him to stop. My mom suddenly grabbed me and pulled me closer, still sobbing.

"Scarlett, you have to promise me something," She urged quietly.

"What, Mom?! Anything!" I said, agreeing to promise a little too quickly.

"I am moving. I am leaving… soon. Come with me. Please, hon, please, please, come with me. We can go wherever you want."

I just nodded my head, in shock. It was the middle of the summer so I knew I would not have to worry about missing school, or starting in the middle of the school year. If my parents were getting a divorce, it was obvious what would happen to Jared and me. We would be split as well. He naturally sided with my father, being closer with him. I naturally sided with my mom, her being my best friend at the time.

Soon after, I witnessed a house divided. Jared would look at me with anger in his eyes, because I chose Mom. I think at the time he felt as if I was abandoning him as well. Dad looked at me sadly, and that broke my heart. Mom and I packed our things quickly and quietly, and left as soon as they got the divorce finalized. We stayed with my grandma until then.

It was not until years later (when Jared and I started talking to each other again) that I found out that I made the wrong decision. Turns out, Dad didn't leave Mom because he "didn't love her". He left her because she didn't love him. He found out she had been cheating on him. When Jared ran upstairs that dreadful night, he found out the accurate story. I found out the made up story, and was manipulated by the person I looked up most to. My mother lied to me because she was a coward. She didn't want to end up alone.

The day when I found out, I was 16. My mother and I were residing in our quaint little home in Portland, Oregon. She had already had five different boyfriends since the split. And yes, they were all drunk pieces of shit.

That day was a blur. I remember throwing things. I remember slamming a door so hard it caused a mirror to fall off the wall and shatter. I remember telling her I hated her more than anyone and I remember slapping Joe (her boyfriend at the time) in the face for trying to interfere.

I stayed at my best friend's house for two weeks after that. When I finally came home, my mom had given up on trying to get my attention. She knew she was the worst thing to ever walk this earth for lying to me, and she knew I would never forgive her.

The following two years, our relationship was strained. At first, she tried to fix her wrongs by attempting to buy my affection. She bought me a car, didn't give me a curfew, and even took me to Europe. When she realized I had no interest in loving her, she turned into that embarrassing 40-year-old who has children but still stays out at the bars until 4 A.M. I turned into the typical edgy, rebellious teenager Portland could produce. I spent most of my nights at local bars as well, knowing the bouncers well enough to convince them to let me in. I only had older friends, and most of them bought me drinks and scored me backstage passes for the bands that would come to town.

I would stay out late and come home in the early hours of the morning, just to piss my mom off. Half the time I wasn't even doing anything rebellious, I would just sit in my car and read all night… just to worry her. Those were mostly failed attempts because even when I would get home at 6 A.M. on a school night, she would either be nowhere to be found, or passed out on the couch with a bottle of Jack by her feet.

The only bit of safe haven I possessed were my facetime calls with Jared and my dad. I planned on moving back to La Push, Washington, with him and my father on my 18th birthday. I watched my family grow throughout the years and it saddened me. Jared became much buffer, and looked like he could pass for 25. I noticed the grey hair in my father's beard, and I even noticed my grandparents appear to become weaker, and talk softer. What had happened to my family?

So, here I am today. It is my 18 birthday, and I have everything I own in the back of my light blue Fiat. I am on my way to La Push, and I didn't even tell my mother goodbye. I waited until she left for work, and left a note on the refrigerator. I hardly think that counts as a goodbye… but then again, I hardly think she deserves a goodbye.

The drive wasn't too long – only four hours. I spent most of it singing softly along to my playlists on my phone, and the remainder of it quiet, and in my own thoughts. I never thought this day would approach. I had butterflies in my stomach and my legs were shaking. I was a very anxious person.

What if nobody remembered me? Or even worse – what if they did? What if they remembered me as the chunky little girl with only one friend, and who never left her house? Or the girl who was not picked on, but simply left out? No one really had an interest in being my friend besides my childhood best friend, Sam. She was somewhat of a loner, as well. She and Jared were my only two friends.

I'd like to say I'm very different from who I was when I was fourteen. But then again, aren't we all? My dark brown hair had finally grown past my shoulders, and was now fell loosely down to the middle of my ribcage. I had lost my baby fat and grown a couple inches. I was curvy, but not too curvy. I wouldn't say I was the most beautiful girl on the block, but I wasn't the most unattractive, either.

My attitude was what had changed the most. Don't get me wrong, the gut-wrenching anxiety was still alive and well – I just knew how to hide it better now. My dorky smile had turned softer, and appeared less often. My shyness had turned into assertiveness. My welcoming attitude had kind of transformed into an icy cold front. Living in La Push, years ago, I remember always being happy. Now, I just always feel sort of numb. Does that make sense? I laugh at jokes and have fun, (I don't necessarily search for negativity), but I don't go out of my way looking for happiness, either.

As I finally entered La Push, nostalgia hit me like a brick. I glanced into yards and saw little boys and girls with dark hair running and playing in their yards, as their parents watched lovingly from their front porches. To be honest, I don't know if that's what was making me queasy, or if it was just nerves. I think it was a little bit of both.

My head started to feel funny as soon as I pulled into the all too familiar, tiny brick house's driveway. I turned the car off and tried to even my breathing. When that didn't help, I placed my head into my lap and counted to fifty. By time I was finished, my heart was beating a teensy bit slower.

I opened the car door and let my feet hit the ground. I shut the door and didn't bother locking the car, knowing that Jared would run out the instant he knew I was here to grab my bags. I stepped onto the wooden porch and appreciated the sound of the boards creaking beneath me – I had missed even tiny things such as that. I approached the door slowly and knocked softly.

Before I had the chance to knock a third time, the door was flung open and before me was my ginormous, dark haired, and dark eyed brother. When I say ginormous, I mean ginormous. He was well over 6 feet tall and his muscles looked as if he hadn't missed a day in the gym since I left town. Honestly, he reminded me of a very less-green Hulk.

He wrapped his arms around me and heaved me up into the air, squeezing what little bit of breath I had in me all the way out.

"Scarlett! Scar! S! Baby sis! Shrimp! Little kid!" He yelled exuberantly, causing me to laugh at my childhood nicknames.

I hugged him tightly and didn't have the chance to say anything before I heard my dad walk up behind us and chuckle.

"Jare, come on," He urged jokingly. "You're gonna scare her off. Put her down."

He sighed and put me down easily. I pushed past him and rushed into my dad's arms. I squeezed him almost as hard as Jared squeezed me and I heard him breathe what sounded like a sigh of relief. He pulled back a little and stared at me with a grin.

"I'm so glad you're back. We have missed you so much. You're beautiful, Scar," He said affectionately.

I smiled back at him and laughed a little. "Thanks, Pops, I've missed you all too."

Jared interrupted our heartfelt moment, busting with excitement. "Now come on, you two! Dad, we have to take her back to Sam and Emily's! Everybody is so stoked to meet you."

"Everyone?" I asked hesitantly.

"Yes!" He exclaimed. "I've made somewhat of a second family since you've been gone. You have really missed out, Sis. But soon they'll be like a second family to you, also. It's some of the boys from school, and a couple of the guys that were a few years older than us so you probably haven't met them."

I started fidgeting with the bottom of my jacket, secretly growing a bit nervous. "Well, do I know any of them?"

I saw my dad glance at my hands and then he put a hand on my shoulder. He intervened then, saying, "Well sure you will, Scarlett. You remember Paul, don't you?"

I racked my brain and then remembered. "Oh yeah, I do, I think. He was one of your friends from middle school, right? He was always over here, if I remember correctly."

Jared smiled and nodded. "And Jake, Quil, and Embry are a year older than you. Do you remember them?"

I felt like I was being treated as if I had amnesia and had to stifle back a laugh. Even though the only one I remembered clearly was Jake, I nodded again. "Yeah, sure. I remember them."

"Well then see, you have nothing to worry about." He said confidently.

I mumbled a "Sure," back at him as we headed out to my car to retrieve all of my belongings. We took everything up to my old room, and I was pleasantly surprised to see not a thing had changed since the night I left.

My turquoise walls were extra inviting and my bed was screaming to be jumped into. But, as I was rushed down the steps and squeezed into Jared's Ford Focus, I knew a nap probably was not going to happen today.

We drove a quick five minutes and then pulled into a gravel driveway. The house was off by itself, a little way into the forest, and there were cars everywhere. I rolled my eyes at the thought of there being several people here, waiting on my arrival. Especially ones I don't remember, and don't know.

I calmed my nerves the best I could and followed behind my father and Jared as we approached the front door. I heard music coming from the inside and loud chatter. What was Jared dragging me into? He knew I despised social events… especially ones revolved around me. I didn't like attention. And frankly, I didn't like fake being nice to strangers.

Jared turned around and smiled cheekily at me as he placed his hand on the door knob. My dad gave my shoulder a reassuring pat and I tried to keep from frowning as I felt my knees wobble.

"You ready?" Jared asked enthusiastically.

"Ready as I'll ever be," I mumbled sarcastically and inwardly groaning.