CULLEN FAMILY: Esme and Carlisle. Rosalie and Emmett. Jasper and Victoria. Edward. Alice. Wensley and Jessica.
Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight.
Author: xPaige Turnerx
Summary: COMPLETED AND WAITING TO POST. "Trust me, dating a vampire and having a wolf for a brother are the LEAST complicated aspects of my life. Every now and then my nose reenacts the elevator scene from The Shining, and I randomly wake up in the woods. Normal was shot to Hell a long time ago."
"At the center of your being
you have the answer;
you know who you are
you know what you want."
The seatbelt light on the plane flashed with a little bing noise, and she knew they were close to landing. She'd known that for a while, however, as she sat in the window seat gazing out at the open air around them for most of the flight. It was a path she had taken many, many times over the years, whenever she went to visit her father. She could recognize landmarks here and there the closer and lower they got.
This time was different from all the others. Besides the fact that this was her first time back in almost eight years, she would be staying indefinitely for the time being. Usually it was just the summer for a visit before she was shipped back to Phoenix with her mother. She hadn't actually lived with Charlie since...well, she was much too young to remember that far back.
But she couldn't stay with Renee anymore, it was time to let go and let her live her life. Ironic, considering that's how most mothers felt about their daughters, not the other way around.
Bella clipped her seatbelt together and put up the tray in front of her, thinking back to what started this all in the first place.
Turning from the television screen on the other side of the room, Bella leaned over the arm of the couch to try and see down the hall and into the kitchen. She could hear Phil's heavy footsteps echoing on the tiled floor as he paced back and forth. Back and forth. Back... and forth. He seemed more twitchy than usual and Bella briefly wondered what was up and if there was trouble in paradise for him and her mother.
With a sigh, Bella pushed herself up from the couch. If there was trouble, she was obligated to try and fix it. Or help, at the very least. Those two lovebirds were meant for each other, they loved each other, and she wasn't about to let anything wreck that. She wanted her mom to be happy because Renee sure as hell wanted Bella to be happy. She did everything she could think of to help Bella in whatever she needed.
Bella leant against the fridge, crossing her arms over her chest. Her odd eyes flickered over Phil's form silently, so silent that only when he turned around and saw her did he know she was there. The man jumped, holding his hand to his chest. "Bella! Jeez, you scared me. How long have you been there?" he asked wearily.
"Only a moment," Bella answered softly, her tone concerned. "Are you okay?"
He nodded fiercely, forcing a smile on his face. "Yes, of course. I'm more than okay. I'm great. I've never been better, actually." He shifted his weight from foot to foot nervously, somehow feeling like he was the teenager under their parent's scrutiny. It happened a lot with Bella, he never could figure out why. "And, uh, a lot of that has to do with your mother. You know how much I love her, right?"
"Immeasurably," Bella said with her own nod. He looked confused for a moment before seeming to agree with her. Bella's mouth curved up into a small smile.
Phil scratched the back of his neck. "Yeah. I couldn't measure it if I tried. You got a way with words sometimes, Bella. But yeah. So..." he coughed awkwardly and Bella was reminded of her father. Renee sure had a type. "So, I wanna ask her to marry me. W-with your permission. You're the single most important thing in Renee's life, and if it was ever not okay with you, I-"
"Phil," Bella called, watching as the man got more and more worked up about the whole thing. Married? Again? That was... big. But if anyone could try and tame the firebird Renee was, it was Phil. "That's... that's great news. Of course you have my permission. I wish you all the luck in the world, you two are great together."
After that, Phil had been decidedly less twitchy. He raced out to buy a ring, asked Bella for proposal ideas, and popped the question by the end of the week. Bella sat them both down, asked them their plans for the future, and when Phil mentioned a house and maybe some kids, Bella saw Renee's eyes light up in a way she hadn't seen in... years. Since she met him.
So she did what all reasonable and loving daughters would do, and offered to move out. Or rather, in with her dad instead. Those two were about to start a life together, and the last thing they needed was a teenager running around the house and cramping their style.
That and Bella knew if she stuck around, she would be saddled with diaper duty eventually.
So after a lot of tears, on Renee's part mostly, and some grateful words from Phil, Bella spent the next week packing up what she couldn't live without, and called her dad.
To be honest, Bella wasn't quite sure how he felt about it. Charlie was a lot like Bella, or rather Bella was a lot like her father, and both of them weren't the best at expressing themselves or their emotions. He said it was a great idea and he couldn't wait to have her back in Forks, but sometimes Bella wasn't sure. Maybe it was just nerves. But who wanted a teenage kid dropped on their doorstep all of a sudden like that?
Bella spotted her duffle bag and suitcase in luggage claim, swinging the bag's strap across her chest and grabbing the suitcase. Charlie said he'd be waiting just outside, and when Bella finally spotted him in the crowd, she grinned.
Charlie Swan hadn't changed a bit over the years, except for the tiny bit of greying in his hair on his temples. Everything else was the same, right down to the moustache and laugh lines around his eyes. He even smelled the same, that unique mixture of tobacco and mint. Something Renee used to claim she couldn't stand, but Bella had loved since... forever.
Probably because tobacco and mint meant dad, but still.
Bella let out the sigh she didn't know she'd been holding when Charlie pulled her into an awkward one armed hug. "Heya, kiddo. Stand back, lemme take a look at ya," Charlie said, gently pushing Bella back.
"It's only been a year, dad," Bella muttered with a light blush.
He nodded. "Yeah, but look at ya! Tall as your dad already and as beautiful as your mother."
Not knowing how to reply, Bella just shrugged with a smile. Renee had told her, perhaps prematurely, on her sixth birthday, that Bella had been quite literally left on their doorstep one night during a storm. Bella thought she'd been joking, or exaggerating at least (who honestly ditches a kid on a doorstep during a storm?) in the beginning, but as they years went on, the story never changed. Never faltered. Never... didn't add up. And when she was old enough to research it on her own, looking through old Forks Newspapers, she found the article.
So, knowing she biologically never got a thing from either parent, Bella settled for a "You too." until she remembered what he said. "Er. You know what I mean."
"I'm as beautiful as Renee?" Charlie asked with a chuckle.
Bella nodded. "Yeah. Pretty as a flower."
"Ah shaddup," he grumbled, walking over to the cruiser and opening the back door. "Here, lemme help you with your ba-...never mind." He watched as Bella heaved the heavy luggage into the back seat with ease, and rushed to open the passenger door for her. Once he was seated and they were on the road and away from people, he saw her push the dark, reflective shades up into her hair and massage her temples. "So, uh...still sporting the shades?"
With a half-hearted frown, Bella turned her unique gaze to her father. Brown orbs melted away into a mossy green that matched the forest outside the window. Unique. Charlie and Renee had been insisting she call it that, rather than her 'freakish eyes' like the other kids had when she was younger. They were adamant on making her believe that she was special and not some weird, defected child. Which, if she were being truthful with herself, she really was. Strangely enough, her changing eyes were not the oddest thing about her. Luckily for infant Bella, Renee was a big fan of odd and unusual.
Shaking herself from thoughts that were likely to take a dark turn, Bella forced herself to smile at her father. "Yeah, it's a lot easier to hide them than to explain them. Does the school...?"
"Oh! Yeah, I called the principal and he told all your teachers not to mention the shades. They think it's, uh..." Charlie's brows furrowed as he tried to remember what he told the principal. "Extreme light sensitivity that triggers bad migraines. Which wasn't exactly a lie because of your headaches."
"Thanks," Bella said with a more genuine smile. "So... how's... uh... stuff?"
Charlie shifted around in his seat, just as uncomfortable at the thought of small talk as his daughter was. "It's good. Work's good. The house is good. Billy and Harry are good – hey," he grinned at her suddenly, "I almost forgot about that. Jake's been asking about you since I told them you're moving up here with us."
"Who?" Bella asked curiously, looking out the window as the city disappeared and they were surrounded by miles and miles of trees on either side of the highway. Man. Forks was green. She glanced in the side mirror to see the mossy colour leave her eyes, and tried to decide if the pale colour was more yellow or green now.
Charlie nodded and waved his hand around a little. "You know, Jacob Black. He was only your very best friend. You guys were brothers."
"Uh," her brows furrowed, "I'm a girl, dad."
He blushed deeply, eyes fixed on the road as embarrassment flooded the car. "I know that, Bella. Jeeze. You really don't remember him? You guys ran around Forks and the Res all day every day, insisting you were 'blood brothers' and that you couldn't go back to Phoenix and leave your brother behind." Charlie finally looked over at his daughter, reaching out to touch her left hand. "Even did that weird blood pact shake, took nine stitches to close up. You taught him how to braid his hair to keep it out of his face and he taught you how to climb trees. Never really took..."
"Wha!" Bella sputtered at the implication of her clumsy nature. However, a foggy little memory did force its way to the surface of her mind. Chasing a little tan boy around on bikes all day, playing in the woods and the beach. She looked down at her palm and the jagged, two inch scar there, running her fingers along it. "It sounds familiar. Didn't... didn't his mom pass away?"
Charlie's face faded into a sombre frown and he nodded gently again. "Yeah. There was a car accident, Jake lost his mother and Billy lost his legs. Jake took it pretty hard and stopped coming around the house, instead staying home to take care of his dad."
The silence that fell over the car was almost suffocating and Bella pulled her shades back down onto her face. They acted like a shield for her, protecting her from the scrutiny and insults and stares of other people, but also served well in hiding her emotions away.
As they said, eyes are the windows to the soul, and if people couldn't see hers, they couldn't read her.
"Anyway," Charlie murmured. "He's been fixing up the old camaro for you, as a welcome home gift."
Bella's eyes widened. "What? Holy crap, you're giving me Old Buggy?!" she exclaimed.
"Yeah," he chuckled and scratched the back of his neck. "Well, I don't have much use for it now with the cruiser and it was just collecting dust in the garage. So as long as you take care of it, it's yours."
"Thanks!" Bella said, grabbing her dad's arm and giving and affectionate squeeze. "Really, dad. Thank you."
Her old room was just as she remembered, right down to the giant purple quilt on her bed. Charlie hadn't changed a thing, and a snort worked its way out of Bella's mouth as she gazed at the hanged Barbie doll dangling from a branch just outside her window. What a weird kid she'd been.
"Obviously you're gonna... wanna change things... the hell did you pack?!... around in here now... that you're older..." her father wheezed, dragging her suitcase and duffle bag up the stairs behind her. He had insisted, but she still felt a little guilty when she looked back at his purple, sweaty face. He just glared at her when she tried to grab her stuff again. "I g-got it!"
Just inside the door, he let her stuff fall to the floor with a bang that shook the walls. "I don't know. The Barbie's gotta go, but everything else is fine, I think. Video game posters on the walls aren't tacky, right?" she asked. Charlie shrugged and then shook his head. "Eh. It's fine."
"Right, so." Charlie clapped his hands together and then rummaged around in his pocket until he pulled out a set of keys. "Wanna go take a look at Old Buggy?"
"Do I?" Bella said giddily, fumbling only once when her father tossed her the keys. The two both excitedly raced down the stairs, Bella pausing at the front door on the step and looked down at her hand. "A rabbit's foot? Really?"
"It's good luck," Charlie grumbled, walking over to the car covered in a sheet in the driveway. "Prepare yourself, kiddo!"
"Prep-ooh!" Bella stumbled down the porch, blushing furiously and ignoring her father's snickers. "Prepared!"
Charlie made drumming noises with his mouth, grabbing a corner of the sheet and yanked it off with all his might. Beneath, in all it's dusty... rusty glory was an old '78 camaro. Charlie's father had gotten it for him on his eighteenth birthday, and now Charlie was giving it to Bella on hers. Well, a couple weeks after hers. But still.
The body wasn't much to look at. It had been a slick, shiny midnight blue at one point, but the rainy climate of Forks saw to that. The rust wasn't too bad, mostly just around the wheels some, and little spots here and there. Inside those leather seats had a few stains (Renee truly was the messiest eater Charlie had ever seen) and a few rips (well, there was a reason why Renee didn't have nice things). The stick shift had been replaced with a (at the time) cool silver skull, the driving wheel had an old Star Wars wheel cover, and there was a pair of (thankfully small) lucky fuzzy dice hanging from the rearview mirror.
All and all, this thing must have been the bee's knees in the eighties. Now it was kind of a Hipster-mobile.
But the engine beneath the hood kicked some serious ass still after all the hours Charlie had put into maintenance over the years, and now with Jacob's care. It ran like a beauty even if it looked like a beast.
And Bella absolutely loved it. "Holy crap! This is so wicked, dad. You're the best, you are the best!"
"Ah," Charlie waved her off with a chuckle. "Well. Yeah, I'm the best. Hop in!"
Bella grinned and walked along the length of the car, running her hands gently along the roof. She wiped the dust and grime off on her pants and hopped inside, slightly surprised and just how comfy the seats were. Seconds later the engine roared to life, making both Swans grin even wider. "Hey, you mind if I take him out around town. Get a feel for where everything is again, maybe pick up some groceries."
"How do you know we need-"
"Dad," Bella deadpanned. "You always need groceries."
Charlie shrugged and stepped back to let Bella close the door. She unrolled the window with a smile, gripping the wheel tightly. "Alright, have at her. Be back by six, I'm ordering pizza and Billy and Jake are coming over to welcome you back to Forks."
With a salute to her father, Bella backed out of the driveway and then peeled down the road. She laughed joyously as the old car rumbled beneath her fingertips and tore down the road at impressive speeds.
Forks was smaller than she remembered, though that was to be expected from growing up and having lived in the city for so long. Still, it wasn't long until she had circled the town twice, found the quickest route to school, and stopped at the old abandoned park she and Jake used to play in as kids.
Memories were coming back to her more easily with visual cues, and Bella was constantly flooded with nostalgia. She parked the car and got out, stepping over the dinky little chain fence strung up between posts. The old rusty play structures were dripping and the grass was soaked, but the rain had finally let up. Bella breathed in a deep lungful of crisp, fresh air, and let it out in a sigh.
This is where she would be for the next three years, at least. This was her home now.
Bella wiped the puddle of rainwater off the seat of one of the swings to sit down. Her feet never left the ground but she pushed herself back and forth slowly.
Tomorrow was her first day of school. Her first day of high school. It had to go well, if it didn't... she couldn't take three more years of being the outcast. The weird girl with freaky eyes. Not like in Phoenix. She couldn't pretend that didn't hurt. That she was unaffected by it all.
The odds were not in her favour though. The universe liked to stack them against her, in fact. She would be the only eighteen-year-old in the tenth grade (Renee's inability to trust kids not to pick on her made the woman hold onto Bella a few more years before starting school), if someone got a look at her eyes it would be over, and her mark? The thing that could only be described as a tattoo on the side of her neck, some weird... tribal looking squiggle. There was no way to hide it all.
She could already hear the rumours about her; older tattooed girl held back two grades for flunking. For dropping out. For drugs.
They'd gone around enough at her old school.
Bella sighed, hanging her head and staring at her feet. Her parents (birth parents, that is) really didn't give her a chance in this world. They certainly didn't make it easy.
A twig snapping alerted Bella to the fact that she wasn't alone, and alarmed, she looked up and around. Nothing. Bella slowly got up to her feet, glancing around herself as she cautiously made her way back towards the car. No one was there but she definitely, definitely heard someone step on a twig.
An eerie chill ran down Bella's spine and she shivered, looking back at the play structures. Now that she thought about it, the whole thing was kinda creepy and not at all nostalgic. Another twig snapped and Bella jumped, whipping around to look into the woods beside her with wide eyes.
"Wh-AAAGGGHH!" she screamed. A light brown little lump of, well, she didn't know what, but it came shooting out of the woods right at her, tackling her to the ground. The thing trembled and whined in her arms while she tried to stop flailing boney limbs from kicking her in the face. Soon she had wrestled the thing still in her arms, feeling its erratic breathing and pounding heartbeat against her chest. Bella craned her head back to look down at the... deer in her arms?
Bella shook her head, loosening her grip. "Well that's weird," she muttered, staring down into terrified brown eyes. "Easy, eeeeaaasy... there. Just breathe," she cooed gently, trying to calm the poor little thing. "Charlie is never going to believe this."
With a sigh, Bella gently stroked the deer's head, ignoring the shooting pain in her legs from it having trampled her in their scuffle. She waited until it didn't seem like the thing was going to explode from terror and slowly dropped her arms. It seemed hesitant to leave, eyes flickering all around the park, looking for something.
Something Bella found immediately after when she looked back into the trees.
A pair of bright, almost glowing golden eyes were peering down at her from the shadows of the tree. Impossibly still and impossibly high up in the tree, staring right through her, into the very depths of her soul. Bella felt herself blush despite the fear that spiked through her chest.
Having followed Bella's line of sight, the deer caught sight of its predator again and shot off like a rocket in the opposite direction. Flattening Bella once again. Pushing herself back up and spitting out a mouthful of fur, Bella's eyes shot to the tree.
And for some ridiculous, inexplicable reason... she was disappointed at the empty shadows that met her.
By the time Bella got back home, the sun had set behind the grey sky and it was dark out. She didn't recognize the truck in the driveway behind her father's cruiser and assumed it was Billy's and that company was already there. She parked in the spot Charlie had Buggy in earlier and got out to grab the groceries from the passenger seat.
She could feel more than see the giant shadow that fell on her and turned around with the bags in her hands. Coming face to face with a giant. The boy was tall and muscular and the only thing that tipped her off to this actually being a boy was the baby face staring back at her. Wrinkle free smooth skin, with young eyes, and a dopey grin. "Cut your hair, Jake?" Bella laughed.
As kids, the two had fairly similar hair, in length and body. Looking at him now, however, Bella wouldn't be surprised if he hacked it off on his own with a knife. Dark locks stood up here and there, despite his giant tanned hand mashing it down to his head, and it was oddly charming. "Yeah, well... you got boobs!" he huffed, as if it were an insult.
A heartbeat went by and even in the dark, Bella could see a light blush on his cheeks. "Thanks for not making this reunion weird," she said with a chuckle. "Make yourself useful, you big ox."
Jake grabbed the bags from his old best friend with another grin and fell in line, following her inside. "Man, it's great to have you back here, Bella. Really missed you throughout the years. How've you been, how was life in the big city?"
"Eh," she muttered, leading him down the hallway to the kitchen. Charlie and Billy were immersed in their game and barely registered that the door had opened. "It was alright, I guess. Kinda hot. People in the city are kinda douchebags, too."
Tilting his head to the side, Jacob set the bags of groceries on the table. "How s-oh! Your eyes," he breathed, leaning down to try and peer into the shades. "I completely forgot about them. And your cool tattoo thing."
"Not a tattoo," she said under her breath with a frown. "But yeah. I'm hoping the kids around here will take it a little better if I slip up."
Jake frowned. "Don't hide it, Bella, it's so cool. I wish my eyes changed like that."
"Oh, yeah," Bella snapped sarcastically. "They're really great, super neat. Right up until a bunch of thirteen-year-olds lock you in Stella's dad's backyard shed all night because they think you're a witch. The fun pretty much stops there."
"Oh," he said, staring down at his feet like a kicked puppy. "I'm sorry they did that to you, Bella. If I'd been there, I would have kicked all their asses. Promise."
Bella snorted. "I believe that. Remember that kid on the beach one year, he kept calling me names and making fun of my mark. P... Peter? Paul? You punched him right in the nose," she said with a laugh.
"Paul, yeah!" Jacob boomed out his own laugh. He leant against the counter, running a hand through his choppy hair with a nostalgic sigh. "No one makes fun of my brother!"
She pinched her nose but couldn't smother the smile on her face. "Again, I'm a girl."
"Yeah, but you're still my brother," Jacob said with a dismissive wave. "It's more of a title than a gender. Oh, hey, there's pizza staying warm in the oven for you. We got hungry and kinda ate already." Bella took a break from putting things away to munch on a slice of pizza, and Jake took her spot, guessing where most of the stuff went. "So how are your headaches? You used to get them all the time but we've gone-" he glanced down at his watch, "-twenty minutes without even a wince from you."
Bella nodded, staring down at her pizza while pulling off some bacon. She popped it into her mouth. "They're kinda better and kinda worse. I don't get them nearly as often anymore. Sometimes just once every couple of days. But they're stronger now, so that sucks. What about you? You look... healthy?"
He laughed at the awkward face she made and straightened up to flex his rather large muscles. "Been working out for about a year now," it wasn't totally a lie, "like what you see?"
"No thanks, brother," Bella scoffed with a smirk.
Jake stuck his tongue out at her. "Well you don't know what you're missing," he joked. "Or are you already taken? Any broken hearts you left back in Phoenix, no boyfriends pining after you?"
"Any girlfriends?" he asked wryly, wiggling his eyebrows.
Bella rolled her eyes, the action lost on him as he couldn't actually see her eyes. "No, the only people I left were my mom and her fiancee." She grabbed another slice of pizza and hoisted herself up on the counter with a grin. "I'm hesitant to ask, what with a mug like yours, but any girls in your life?"
"Ouch!" Jacob laughed, holding a hand to his chest. "You wound me! Hah. But, uh, I don't know. There might be. Wooing girls isn't easy."
"Don't I know it."
His dark eyes lit up and the smile on his face threatened to split in two. "Are youuuu...?"
"That's none of your business," Bella said with a tsk.
"Does Charlie know?" he asked, looking down the hallway at their fathers.
Bella shrugged her shoulders. "There's nothing to know, Ox."
"Fine, fine. Push me away. We've only been friends for sixteen years," he said with a pout, his enormous shoulders hunched over. "Come on, I fixed up your car for you."
"Oh yeah," Bella agreed, hopping down from the counter. She grabbed one last slice of pizza, reached up to tussle Jake's bangs, and turned on her heel for the living room. "Thanks a bunch, dork."
Jacob's mouth fell open in mock hurt. "Huh. I'll remember this next time it needs work, brother!"
Okay, so I know about half of you are wanting to murder me right now? Accurate? Something along the lines of "how dare you start a new story when you have others to finish first!" I'm guessing here, I could be wrong. I mean, I know some of you like when I post, no matter the story. Where to start explaining. I suppose the first thing to say is THIS ONE IS ALREADY COMPLETE, just to get that out there. I've been writing this one on the side of ALL my other works for a long, long time now. It's helped me get through writer's block, it's more of a tool than a story. Yet still a story, hence why I'm posting it.
Yeah, so don't worry about postings? I'll be posting a new chapter every week or every other week. Probably every week. It's all already written and waiting to go, and hopefully this will help tide you over between updates of my other stories, which I'm now getting back to.
MY HIATUS was in large part due to writing an original novel. I've since completed it, and am now in the process of querying literary agents. That takes SO MUCH time, that I can now work on all of my fanfiction in peace. That means I'm coming back to my stories again, here to finish them off. I said I wouldn't abandon them, and I meant it. Writing here still means a lot to me, and is still helping me quite a bit. As you will see through the improvement of my writing in this story and new chapters of the others.
So that about covers the literary aspect of all of this. This story is complete, though if there are specific things you want to see or take issue with, or WHATEVER, tell me in a review and I can tweak future chapters before posting them. Or just review and tell me what you liked. That's always nice.
To those of you who are, like, interested I guess, I'm super late to the game but I made a Tumblr account in my absence here. I'm a hell of a lot more interactive there, if you wanna talk or have questions, or just share in all the glorious femslash content I churn out. (thirteenohtooDOTtumblrDOTcom)
Also, for those interested, I EVEN MORE recently (like today) started a gay blog on Tumblr. Or rather, a blog about being gay. "How To Be A Lesbian, A Guide Through Experience; the do's and don'ts of dating girls" which is basically just me telling stories about my disastrous dating life that my friends and family like to laugh at and said I should share. So learn from my mistakes, have a chuckle at my misery, get to know the author of these stories y'all are miracuously a fan of. (mostlydontsDOTtumblrDOTcom)
As always, I hope you enjoyed the chapter, and peace out.