AN: Here it is, the first chapter of my new story. It has a little more teen angst than what I usually write. If this is not your cup of tea, then please move on.
Caution! This story will contain controversial subjects that may be offensive to some. It's M-rated for more than just language and sexual content. If reading this story makes you uncomfortable or upset in any way simply stop reading it. Nothing is more important than your wellbeing. Nothing!
Trigger warning for this first chapter: it contains brief descriptions of what could be a case of violence, neglect and abuse directed at a small child.
-=[ The past - and so it begins... ]=-
The phone call to Charlie Swan, the Chief of Police in Forks Wa, came at five thirty five in the morning.
The way the ringtone kept repeating itself over and over again he got the impression from the very beginning that it was an important call.
Charlie staggered out of bed and stumbled down the stairs, trying to remember where he'd last seen his phone.
Following the sound of the ringtone, he continued through the living room and into the kitchen, where he damn near knocked himself out, tripping over a pile of empty beer cans.
What where they even doing on the floor? And why do these kinds of calls always come in the middle of the night? Honestly, no one is at their best at such an ungodlyhour.
Eventually, Charlie located the source of his headache on the 'landing strip table' next to the front door. It was so far away from his bedroom that it was nothing short of a miracle that the call had woken him in the first place.
He still felt a bit groggy as he fumbled with the phone, like he was sleepwalking, or stuck in a bad dream… but nope, he was awake and awake he would stay...
"Chief Swan," he grunted as he finally managed figure out how to go about accepting the incoming call.
As he'd suspected, the person on the other end was none other than his Deputy, Waylon Forge.
"It's five thirty in the morning! I hope, for your sake, you have a damn good reason for waking me at this hour, Forge," he barked out, rubbing his face, trying to clear his head.
"I believe I do, Chief. I've been trying to reach you for the last fifteen minutes. It's an urgent matter! One of our local residents has made a rather disturbing discovery."
"What kind of discovery?" Chief Swan sighed.
"A newborn baby, Chief. Alive, but found abandoned in a dumpster behind the auditorium of Forks High."
"A WHAT?! Are you talking about a human baby?"
Charlie brought the phone with him as he hurried up the stairs to his bedroom, where he dug his uniform out of the hamper.
"Yes, a human baby, Chief. It's a baby girl, a very small one… I would say born prematurely, but I'm no expert-…."
"Hold up! What do the actual experts have to say then? Is there an ambulance on site… paramedics? Someone DID call an ambulance, right?"
"Yes, a medical team arrived at the same time I did. They've just packed up and left for the hospital. They said something about severe respiratory failure. I think that means the baby might not make it, but I'm no exp-…"
"Have you secured the area?" Charlie interrupted, as he started working on getting dressed, while trying not drop the phone. "If the baby was deliberately and knowingly abandoned, then it's a crime and I don't want any civilians dirtying up my crime scene."
"It's still early. No civilians around yet."
"Who found the baby then, an alien?"
"Old Mrs. Newton heard something when she was out walking her dog. She thought it was stray kittens, or perhaps puppies. She's a bit senile, but apparently a BIG Animal Rights advocate, so the old lady, bless her heart, went and dragged her grandson out of bed. The grandson is the one calling us, after he'd climbed into the dumpster to have a look."
"The Newtons?" Charlie cursed loudly, knowing exactly what this meant. "Great! We have another half an hour, tops, before the whole town knows. I'm hanging up now-…"
"Wait, there's one more thing you should know, Chief," deputy Forge rushed out quickly. "The baby… it was found wrapped in a plastic bag, partially sealed off with duct tape. The lips were…or actually, the whole baby was blue… according to the paramedics."
Charlie Swan let out a surprised and outraged "Jesus!" Then, he followed up with an irate "Why didn't you tell me that from the start!"
He'd been a cop for over 15 years and few things shocked him these days. This piece of information, about the plastic bag, however, was shock-worthy in his opinion.
"This can't get out. Don't talk to anyone, do you hear me! Not a word," he instructed, fixing his gun holster to his waist. "Get started on securing the area. I'm on my way. I'll be with you in ten minutes."
After ending the call, Chief Swan went into the bathroom and splashed cold water on his face. A quick glance in the mirror confirmed that he looked about as tired as he felt. He didn't quite recognize the person staring back at him. Really, where had the years gone? He used to be fit and handsome, didn't he? Now he was a middle-aged man with a pot belly and bushy mustache…
Come on, no one looked their best hung-over, he told himself as he ran a hand through his hair. If he looked tired it was simply a case of staying up too late and drinking too much beer. It could happen to anyone…
Sure, being the chief meant he was more or less always on call, but honestly, it had been a long time since he'd last been woken by an emergency at five thirty on a Sunday morning. This was why he had a deputy, damn it!
He grabbed his toothbrush and headed into his bedroom again, where he stuffed an extra change of clothes into a backpack. He had a feeling it would be a while before he would see his home again. A delicate and complex case like this one, could very well end up getting national coverage. And if that happened, it would be a circus unlike anything seen in this town before.
He knew he'd better hurry up. In fact he should be in his car already, but on his way out, he suddenly remembered he had other responsibilities besides work - Isabella, his seventeen-year-old daughter, was fast asleep in her bedroom.
As he turned around and went inside the house again, he deliberated whether he should wake her, or just leave her a note.
After a brief moment of hesitation, he approached her door and gave it a quick rap. When he got no response, he pressed the handle and pushed. The door eased open.
To his surprise the bed was empty.
His mind reeled for a moment, before he remembered where she was - the Cullens. He had given her permission to spend the night at her friend Alice's place.
Isabella, or Bella as she preferred to call herself, had gone through a rough year following her mother (his ex-wife) Renee's unexpected and tragic passing.
The move up north-from the bustling city of Phoenix Arizona to the sleepy small town of Forks (population of 3,545) had undoubtedly been a big adjustment for the teenager to make.
To be honest, it had been a long and challenging year for Charlie as well. One minute your life is completely yours to control, the next you find yourself the sole legal parent and caretaker of a teenage girl, and a traumatized one at that. That was just life for you, wasn't it? There's ALWAYS a curveball thrown when you least expect it
Charlie had always found teenagers in general to be rather high maintenance, lazy and sometimes downright reckless with their lives. Truthfully, having one living with him now had not done much to change this long-held opinion.
The thing was, Charlie Swan never fought for his parental rights after his first (and only marriage) had gone down the drain. He just never saw the point in complicating things further. It wasn't that he didn't love his daughter, but the idea of handing a child back and forth, like a parcel just didn't seem right to him.
Logically, he saw the flaws in his own reasoning, but it wasn't until tragedy hit, leaving the girl without a home that he'd realized just how big of a mistake he had made. He'd met up with his daughter maybe a handful of times over the last ten years and because of this, they were, in essence, virtual strangers to one another.
The girl had, of course, been absolutely miserable for the first few months living under his roof, having not only lost her mother, but also gotten her whole existence turned upside down... Every familiar part of her life had been swept away… all in one go…
No point in trying to sugarcoat the situation. It had been a turbulent year for them both. Bella herself had made it perfectly clear (on multiple occasions) that she was not in Forks by her own free will and that she could not wait for high school to be done and over with so that she could move onto bigger, greater things.
As long as those bigger greater things meant college, Charlie had no objections.
His daughter was a senior now and would turn eighteen soon. She had always been a bright kid and thankfully, her grades didn't seem to have suffered too much from this whole ordeal …well, with the exception of Phys. Ed. perhaps, but he didn't blame her for not putting in much of an effort in that particular class, given the circumstances.
Secretly, he too was counting the days until things would calm down around the house again and he could get something resembling his old life back. They just had to hold it together a little while longer and they would both come out of this alright.
Speaking of time…Glancing at his wrist watch, Charlie realized he'd wasted valuable minutes. As he locked the front door, he retrieved his phone from his pocket. Bella didn't answer as he dialed her number, but he hadn't expected her to. He knew most teenagers slept like rocks for twelve, or fifteen hours at a time.
He left her a brief message, asking her to check in with him once she was awake.
Not for the first time, he patted himself on the back for his foresight to bring his daughter to see Dr. Esme Cullen, the town shrink. Not only had their sessions, while they lasted, resulted in several noticeable and positive changes, but also, Bella couldn't have picked a more suitable classmate to befriend, than Alice Cullen, who just so happened to be one of the three children in the Cullen household. As a result, Charlie never had to worry about where his daughter was going or what she was doing, when he let her out on her own.
As Charlie got into the driver's seat of his police cruiser, he scrolled through his contact list for Dr. Cullen –Carlisle, not Esme, as he knew the shrink was on a sick leave at the moment.
Not that it mattered much; Carlisle would have been his first pick anyway. Funny, how when given a choice between which Cullen to contact, he was more comfortable speaking with the head surgeon than the physiatrist … He suspected it was simply because the former was male, drank beer and watched football…
As he waited for the call to connect, he fumbled with getting the key in the ignition. Just like his first call, this one too, went straight to voice mail.
Guess the doc had a night off for once. Good for him… Charlie dropped his phone into the passenger seat, without leaving a message. He'd try reaching the Cullen's again in an hour or two… unless, of course, they contacted him first... News travelled fast in this neck of the woods, after all.
With a resigned sigh, police Chief Charlie Swan began to reverse his car out of the drive way. He already had a feeling this was going to go down in history as his most difficult case ever.
Little did he know it was going to be far worse than that... Difficult didn't even begin to cover it.
AN: Are you intrigued yet? We'll hear from Carlisle and Esme next…