"That's it, Bells."
Nose scrunched up and tiny hands poking out from beneath rolled up coat-sleeves, Isabella Swan hefts her prized catch into the air, triumphant grin all but smeared across her face. It's an adorable expression, all big brown eyes and dimpled cheeks. Charlie's heart swells at the picture she makes. His darling little girl laughs, pudgy fingers valiantly struggling to keep hold of the still flopping fish. She counts down from five to one and then the fish is away, a single splash of lake water the only evidence of its time with them.
"See! I caught that one all on my own," she croons, palms slick from grasping at scales, cheeks flushed with excitement. He's lucky really. How many other men can say their daughters are just so full of life, so willing to try anything and everything? Isabella is smart too. Smart, healthy, and happy. He cannot possibly ask for anything more. That his darling little girl enjoys coming fishing with him is just one big bonus.
"I saw, Bells. Well done."
Being reborn again isn't so bad. True this time the parents are divorced, true there's no siblings... but she's loved. She wanted. She's been treasured. In all honesty, she couldn't have asked for anything more to experience in this life. Though undoubtedly she confused the hell out of her Mom and Dad in those first toddling years when she'd spoken with a British accent.
Fiddling with the earphones that hang mute between her fingers, Isabella 'Bella' Swan shifts eagerly from foot to foot, all but brimming with excitement at seeing her father again. Though she's been coming to Forks every year for summer (sunny days spent fishing or on the Reservation with Jacob and Billy, rainy days spent playing board games or splashing in backyard puddles), the concept of actually living with her father for a few years is exciting. She doesn't begrudge her mother having some newly-wed time with Phil. The man's good for her, treats her like the absentminded queen she is; Bella approves. Being able to truly set down some roots in Forks is going to be an experience too, maybe make some friends outside of Jake. Not that there's anything wrong with Jake, but Jake has other friends and she can't rely on him to fill her socialisation quota. Him and Charlie, who is undoubtedly ecstatic to have her educated-in-cooking self occupying his kitchen for the undetermined future. Man can't cook worth a damn, at that point it was learn or live off takeaway.
"Yesss, you're here!" Springing into action, Bella jars her suitcase from the curb, striding forwards before discarding the luggage handle immediately. Charlie barely has time to open his arms before she's leaping into them, engulfed in the safe scent of home away from home. Or home II. Additional home.
"Missed me, Bells?"
"Always, Dad. You missed my cooking?"
"Oh yeah, the whole reason I wanted you up here," the gruff is light and Bella smiles into the flannel shirt that's itching her cheek. There's one more moment in which see just presses her face that little bit further into Charlie's chest, taken back to the days of her childhood; days of fishing trips and hours of playing monopoly with rain slashing against the window.
"You need to wash this shirt, I can smell the fishing trip on you."
Settling back into life in Forks is far from difficult. Her bedroom is the same as she'd left it last year, barring the few things she'd had shipped up from Phoenix. A jewellery box filled with all sorts of knick-knacks (ranging from genuine jewellery to questionable stones in various pretty shades), several boxes of clothing, the yoga mat and ball Renee had given up on years ago and Bella had swiftly claimed as her own. A new addition to the house is the beaten up, rusted red truck that now commands half the drive. Her truck, affectionately dubbed 'Ol' Red'. Jacob had laughed when he'd brought the beast over from the Res, eagerly sharing the better tales of his past year with her. She'll wring the more embarrassing tidbits from Billy at some point in the future.
Smearing a healthy amount of marmalade across the surface of her toast, Bella jams the bread into her mouth, leaning by the corner counter. Her hair's still up in a ponytail from a morning run, something Charlie'd scoffed at with a warm smile. Flavour bursts across her tongue as she wrestles the bobble free, smoothing done the multitude of creases in the 'one-size bigger than needs be' jumper she'd thrown on for the day. It's a worn thing, something Charlie'd bought her last year during her summer visit. Back then it'd been even bigger on her. There'd been a flustered smile of pleasure on her Dad's face upon sighting the jumper once again in use, it's the whole reason Bella'd put it on, after all. Though the cartoon goldfish in the police car motif is a little weird, at least it's a potential talking point for her peers. Where he'd even managed to purchase such a thing, however, Bella has no clue.
Popping the last of bit of toast into her mouth, Bella scoops up her schoolbag, slinging the first strap over her shoulder and wiggling to acquire the other.
"Alright there, Bells?"
"I'm good," she grunts, cooing victoriously when the arm she's got half contorted around her back finally finds the second strap. Backpack in place, Bella rolls her shoulders and makes for the door, bouncing nervously along. "See you later tonight, Dad. Have a nice day!" She doesn't quite hear his reply, pulling open the door with a little too much enthusiasm. The sky's grey, an inverted valley of clouds stretching out from horizon to horizon. No sun in sight. Not the bright and brilliant day she'd wanted for her first trip to school, but she'll make do. Second chance at life, this time she's going to grab it by the horns and crack on. If living a second time has taught her anything, it's to appreciate every damn little thing, to reveal in each experience and treasure every relationship. What's the point in getting moody over things she can't change? It could have been worse, she could have been born in some struggling third world country in which women are second class citizens.
Pumped for the day, Bella wretches open Ol' Red's door, leaping up into the driver's seat and shucking off her bag to rest in the passenger's footwell. The whole cab reeks of tobacco and scent of Jacob's childhood it may be, but she sure as hell isn't going to be turning up for school smelling like she smokes forty a day. The windows screech in disagreement as she goes about winding them down, the handle stiff and stubborn. Undoubtedly, it will take more than one drive with the window open to air the whole truck, but Bella can totally deal with the wind whistling in her ear.
"Right. New school, new people, new life here. I can handle this. Worse comes to worse, it's only a few years, but there's going to be someone there that'll like me. Statistically, there has to be." Prep talk done, Bella forced Ol' Red to take his first shuddering breath under her command and shoved the gearstick into first. "Here we go."
Fork High School is a hell of a lot smaller than what she's used to.
Chewing on the abused skin of her lip, Bella considers the building before her with both her hands wrapped tight around her backpack's straps. There's no shorts here, it's not something that's possible in Washington temperatures; what little tan she had managed to coax onto her legs is going to be long gone by the end of the week. Phoenix had been crowded, lively in a way that escapes this place. Oh sure there are teenaged about, but there's little drama. This is just school to them, a place to go and serve a few hours a day in order to edge that little bit closer to freedom. Bella sure as hell isn't going to be like that. She's going to enjoy every damn moment of her stay, she's going to soak up all the knowledge she can, going to enjoy the vast array of experiences that come with being part of a small school. Hell, she might even be able to put names to half the faces she sees by the end of the week.
Sucking in one more fortifying breath, Bella starts across the car park, heading for the reception with her hands still tight on bag straps. A few students stare, clicking into the fact she's unfamiliar, and Bella makes sure to smile at them, going so far as to offer a little wave of greeting that's more often than not tentatively returned. They probably have no idea what to make of her, Bella muses with a little grin. She's a new face, but she's also not coming off as nervous. But really, once you've lived one life, coming back to school... well, there's worse things in the world than not being liked by everybody, worse things than not fitting into a small town.
She'll be fine, no matter how the cookie crumbles.
Jessica has no idea what to make of Isabella 'call me Bella' Swan. She's always been certain she's one of the most confident girls in their school, it's not a mindset she's ever thought would be threatened before. But here comes the pretty brunette from out of town, capturing everyone's attention so effortlessly that Jessica can feel the green eyed monster rearing it's ugly head. She's not a stupid girl; Jessica is well aware she can get jealous. She's aware of just how quickly she can get envious too. But, it's not really something she wants to change. What's the point? It's a small town, whatever someone has over her will fade into obscurity as life continues onwards.
It doesn't mean she won't latch onto Isabella Swan and ride in the wake of her popularity as the new girl while she can. Soon enough, Bella will become a permanent resident in Forks and all the hullabaloo will disappear.
Yet, if there's one stable fixture, it is the utter disinterest the Cullen Clan show, even with the new girl. Bella might be pretty and different, but even she can't attract their attention. Just like the rest of school, lowly mortals that they are.
Sneaking a peek at Edward Cullen from beneath her lashes, Jessica feels her cheeks flush and her mouth dry. Because really, the things she's like to do to that boy... she'd climb him like a tree. And that'd be just the opening act.
"Well, aren't you gonna ask?"
Bella blinks (huge doe-like eyes, no wonder Mike's perked up and been paying her some attention, the bitch) head cocking to a side and sandwich frozen halfway into her mouth. Yeah, Jessica can admit that's cute, she'll have to try that one herself.
"Ask what, Jessica?" Bella speaks only after she has removed the food from her mouth, genuine confusion marring her features. Urgh, it's difficult to dislike her when the girl is just so... open and accepting. She's listened to every word Jessica's said, enquired about her interests; Bella Swan comes off as a genuinely good person. It has to be an act, surely. No one is that happy go lucky.
"About the Cullens, of course."
"Cullens?" There's... there's a twinge of familiarity to Bella's confused parroting and it has Jessica pausing. There's no way that word of the supermodel worthy family has spread outside of Forks. There'd be talents scouts for all sorts of shiny careers crawling about the town if that were the case. Bella flicks her eyes in the direction of the table that must not be approached and Jessica is treated to the same surprised awe that spreads across everybody's face when they first see the Cullens.
"Oh, okay. They're very pretty."
"Pretty!?" Jessica repeats in disbelief, staring hard at Bella until the girl finally stops paying attention to her dinner and meets her gaze.
"Well, yes. I can't exactly comment on their personality, given I haven't spoken to any of them yet-"
"Bella! You don't speak to them. You admire from afar, dreaming longingly of the day they'll swoop in and sweep you up-"
"Okay, I think I get it," Bella chuckles, a grape pinched between her forefinger and thumb. She flicks it up, making a valiant attempt to catch it between her teeth but she's met with only failure. The grape bounces off her chin instead, rolling back onto the table and the weirdest girl Jessica has ever met just laughs, plucking up another grape to try again. Why the hell she'd try again when she just embarrassed herself by utterly failing, Jessica has no clue. This time she manages it, indulging in a little fist pump that is absolutely not adorable in any shape or form. Not at all.
"Anyway," Jessica stresses, eager to get things back on track, "they're all adopted by Carlisle Cullen -he's a doctor at the local hospital- because his wife can't have kids." She waits for the scandalised interest... but it doesn't come. Bella Swan just continues looking at her, waiting for her to continue. "But get this, Rosalie and Emmett are together. Like, as a couple. And they live together!"
"And the other three?" Finally! A mote of interest!
"They're all single! Alice is the short pixie one, Jasper's a senior, the one with blond hair. And! And then there's Edward. He's a junior like me." Jessica near swoons as she finishes up, only just managing to drag her eyes from the copper haired god across the room to focus on Bella and her amused smile.
"Well good for them. I'm sure they'll make someone happy someday." Huh?
Snapping back to attention, Jessica eyes the new girl suspiciously but, but she can't see the act, can't see any faults. It's almost as if Bella Swan genuinely doesn't care about the chance (however small) of bagging a Cullen for herself.
She must be staring more than's polite, for Bella pops the last grape into her mouth and grins at her.
"I'm not going to say I'm not interested, but I'm also... not bothered, if that makes sense? I want to be happy, so I'm not going to get hung up in a teenage drama of 'woe, does he like me or doesn't he?'." She shrugs, clicking the lid of the empty plastic container shut. "If it happens, it happens. If not, there's plenary of fish in the sea out there... I'm sure I'll reel one in somehow."
There's something achingly familiar about this; the same kind of sensation that nestled deep into your bones and hibernates for the winter, filling your body with discomfort.
Muscles tense, Bella flicks another cautious look at the (admittedly very attractive) teen sitting beside her. He's on edge himself, forearms braced tight with hands out of sight beneath their work bench. Mentally, Bella crosses him off as a potential romantic interest. Or even as a friend, really. She's pretty certain he hasn't even breathed once since she pulled up a chair beside him. Maybe she'll be able to play the social anxiety card and wiggle out of this seat to another one? If not, well Bella's not going to transfer out of biology so Edward Cullen (that rings a bell, why the hell does that name ring a bell?) is just going to have to suck it up and deal with it. Bella jolts when her assigned partner suddenly lets out a pained groan, rising from his chair and exiting the classroom without a word, to the stunned disbelief of everyone present. Bella stares gormlessly at the door as it swings shut before turning bewildered eyes on the equally stunned teacher.
Not much learning happens with the rampant discussion that overtakes the biology class after that little display.
Covertly sniffing at her jumper (and confirming once again it is utterly free of odour de fishing trip), Bella waves goodbye to Jessica and her little group of friends, eagerly clambering into Ol' Red and dumping her bag on the passenger seat. Notebooks and pens spill out from the open top but she's far too focused to care right now. Unable to secure the promise of a different seat, Bella's heading straight to the closest perfume retailer at the first opportunity. That or she's going to have an attempt at mixing her own via dodgy YouTube videos. Who knows, maybe she'll managed some natural-sourced wonder and make millions. Snorting, the brunette shifts Ol' Red into reverse, even as her foot stills before touching the pedals.
The whole Cullen Clan are gathered in the car-park, minus he of the sensitive nose. The blonde girl is towering over short and spunky and Bella tenses up, one hand going for the door-handle. Just because they live together (and oh, something is really tugging at the back of her mind there) doesn't mean they have to get along. The pixie one (Alice, was it?) hastily says something to the blonde and suddenly they're both looking her way, one with a fierce scowl and the other with an overly cheerful grin. Blinking, Bella slowly lifts one hand, giving a little wave to the two with a smile, all the while trying to silently convey to Alice Cullen that if something's going down, she won't be up against family on her own. From the impossible widening of her smile, Bella can almost pretend that her fellow junior got the message, loud and clear. When the two girls loop their arms together, blondie rolling her eyes with a fond smile that is unquestionably for Alice alone, Bella finally shifts the truck into gear. Hell, maybe she's made a new friend there. If odd stare-outs across the carpark can even count as true social interaction.
Emmett Cullen peers through the thick trees that pepper across the entirety of Forks, watching the poor human who was unlucky enough to be a vampire's singer. Or, was it lucky enough to be Edward's singer? Oh boy, does he remember his own singers. It hadn't so much falling of the bandwagon as it'd been an enthusiastic leap. But no, he needs to stop thinking on that because otherwise he's gonna have to go feed. Again.
With eyes as golden as possible (and stomach sloshing with what is perhaps just a little too much animal blood, but better safe than sorry when she's caught Edward's attention so), Emmett tracks the daughter of the police chief as she crosses her backyard. A tiny waif of a girl, though she's clearly not scared of getting down and dirty. Folding his arms, Emmett crouches lower on the tree branch, tracking the girl's progress as she scales one of the larger trees in the backyard. She's got a thick piece of rope tied tight around her waist, the excess length trailing back to Earth and wiggling as she climbs. It's only when she loops it around one of the sturdy limbs branching off from the trunk that Emmett clicks what she's doing. It's been a while since he saw a human make an old fashioned swing. Hell, it's been a while since anyone in the family made an old fashioned swing. When you can run faster than a car, that kind of thing doesn't hold the same appeal as it once did.
The sun continues it's steady march down to hide beneath the trees and Isabella Swan never waivers from her self appointed task. Soon enough, an imperfect swing, complete with wooden plank seat and duck-taped 'handles' on the rope itself, now hangs proudly from the tree.
With her hands planted firmly on her waist, Isabella gives the latest addition to the yard a quick inspection. She must be pleased with what she sees, because a wide grin breaks out across her face and Emmett is treated to the hilarious sight that is Isabella Swan attempting an running leap onto her creation. She overshoots the runway, ass missing the seat, not even managing a quick peck of action as she flies over it. The sheer amount of effort it takes to not laugh at her almost brings Emmett to his knees, though his smile is hella genuine when the girl just laughs at herself. He has to double back further into the forest when she actually does manage to get up onto the swing, and then fall right back off again after she got too engaged in her 'victory dance'.
Oh man, she's a riot. He's so glad Edward didn't eat her.
Well...well... in my defence, this had been wrote before Hiatus. As a scribble. But today happened and now there's 1000 words of a chapter 2, so I'm posting this with tentative hopes that it'll be continued.